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GIVE SCHOOLS WASH FACILITIES – PEACE PARTY-LIST

“How are schools faring in installing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities?”

This was the question posed by an education advocacy group to the Department of Education amid the continued closure of schools.

This year, DepEd was allotted a P547-billion Capital Outlay budget for infrastructure needs including wash facilities, classrooms and clinics.

“Adequate WASH facilities in all our schools are of paramount importance in preventing the spread of diseases. Thus, having such facilities should be a requirement before we resume face-to-face classes,” Philippine Educators Alliance for Community Empowerment (PEACE) Party-list President Marie Paz T. Abante said.

Abante urged the DepEd to reveal the status of schools’ access to WASH facilities so that other stakeholders can “pitch in” on addressing the gaps.

In March this year, the DepEd reported that 26.5 percent of nearly 40,000 schools participating in the WASH in Schools (WinS) program had met indicators and reached national standards from the School Year 2017-2018 to 2019-2020. This was up from the 9 percent when the program started in 2016.

Based on DepEd guidelines, a school has to satisfy the following requirements – safe drinking water, gender-segregated toilets, group handwashing facility with soap, daily group handwashing activities, and sanitary pads – to earn at least a star out of the three-star rating in its WinS implementation.

Abante, however, said that such numbers are not enough, and the government should work faster to install these facilities.

“Nais nating malaman kung naaabot ba ng DepEd ang target nila at nagagastos ang nailaang pondo para sa mga WASH facilities, at kung hindi man, ay dapat madaliin na sa loob ng panibagong school year na sarado pa rin ang mga paaralan,” Abante said.

In March this year, the DepEd reported that 26.5 percent of nearly 40,000 schools participating in the WASH in Schools (WinS) program had met indicators and reached national standards from the School Year 2017-2018 to 2019-2020.

This year, DepEd was allotted a P547-billion Capital Outlay budget for infrastructure needs including wash facilities, classrooms and clinics.

PEACE Party-list’s chairman for its Committee on Community Programs, Bishop Rodolfo Juan, meanwhile called on local government units to work with schools in their areas “to ensure access to clean water.”

“We hope that our LGUs will take the initiative so that our schools will be equipped with the proper facilities to prevent the spread of COVI-19 and other diseases,” Juan said.

“Gaya nga ng sinasabi, it takes a village to raise a child. Sana ay magsama-sama tayo sa responsibilidad na ligtas na maipagpatuloy ng kabataan ang kanilang edukasyon sa lalong madaling panahon,” he added.

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