MARAWI CITY, Philippines — Life is on a standstill, literally, on a cardboard for hundreds of thousands of civilians affected by the May 23 terrorist attack here.
Inside the evacuation camp in Badelles Multipurpose Hall, Buru-un town, Lanao del Sur, is Jocelyn Lagata, 31, whose family along with other 184 families live on cardboard mats.
Aside from the difficulty of living inside the evacuation center, what ails Jocelyn more is how they could go back to their normal lives and how her 10 year-old son Enrico could go back to school.
“Gusto na siya karon mag-architect kay nawad-an man daw mi balay (He wants to become an architect, now that we have lost our house),” Jocelyn said in an interview. Davao Today sat with Jocelyn and Enrico on Saturday, as they made do with a lunch consisting of a can of sardines and a small fried fish.
Enrico is among the 22,222 students of Marawi who are affected by the conflict.
As of 5pm of June 8, the latest record of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Crisis Management Committee shows a total of 132 schools and 2,372 teachers affected.
DepEd’s Marawi City Division has so far recorded 73 public schools affected with 61 elementary, eight secondary, and 4 senior high schools.
The Department of Education has already called on the families of evacuees to enroll their children to the nearest school to continue their education, a form of normalizing the lives of the affected children.
But Jocelyn said it’s difficult for Enrico to enroll as they do not have school supplies nor clothes for him to use. She said donated school materials don’t come as often as food provisions do.
Anna Zenaida Alangadi Unte, the Assistant Schools Division Superintendent agreed that the lack of school supplies is one challenge for the students.
Unte said some coordinating agencies are already taking into account the need for school materials so that affected children to continue their schooling. However, she admitted that they cannot say if all learners will be provided with what they need.
“As to the number of the learners that shall be given that we cannot say,” she told Davao Today in an interview.
Unte said they cannot yet assess the full extent of the damage of the schools in Marawi but said there are seven public elementary schools that are reportedly damaged.
Among these are the Mamintal Disomangcop Central Elementary School, Raya Madaya I Elementary School, Raya Madaya 2 Elementary School, Banggolo Elementary School, Mambuay Elementary School, Dansalan Primary School, Marawi Central Pilot Elementary School
Citing reports of the school principals, Unte said half of the entrance of Marawi Central Pilot Elementary School is damaged due to the airstrikes, while half of the building of Dansalan Primary School is also partially damaged.
She said Raya Madaya 1 and Raya Madaya 2 Elementary Schools were burnt. Mambuay Elementary School and the Mamintal Dimasongcop CES were bombed.
Currently, the DepEd’s monitoring desk in Marawi City has tracked 2,161 learners in elementary and 378 in secondary level who are in Iligan City. Some families of learners have transferred as far as Urdaneta in Pangasinan where there are 12 students from Marawi, 30 in North Cotabato, 30 in Cebu City, and 8 in Zambales. The DepEd has also tracked 674 teachers.
To continue the children’s education, Unte said the DepEd is planning to get teachers from nearby divisions to teach the children in “temporary learning spaces.”
She said some of these learning spaces will be put up right at the evacuation centers. She said some government organizations can give tents as big as a classroom where displaced learners can continue their classes.
Asked on how they would plan to address the different school age of children in temporary learning centers, Unte said the DepEd is tracking learners “to put them in same grade levels and then source out teachers from other divisions.”
“Or worst cases they could do multi-grade teaching,” she said.
Tents in evacuation centers in Iligan City are expected to start arriving on Sunday, June 11, she said.
“I think there will be 16 tents as big as a classroom for Iligan City,” she said.
This month of June, Unte said they are facilitating children in psychosocial and peace activities to help in erasing the trauma they have. The official curriculum will start in July, Unte said.
“The challenge that we want to address is how to bring back our learners here in Marawi City. It pains our hearts because our learners are scattered everywhere. That’s what we need to address, to bring them back home and make sure that they will come back to their schools,” Unte said.(davaotoday.com)