The Asian Development Bank (ADB) with funding from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) and in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), awarded classrooms to selected elementary schools in Leyte and Eastern Samar in the whole month of December 2015. The Government of Japan through the JFPR has extended a grant of $20 million to the Philippine Government to help reconstruct and rehabilitate Yolanda-affected municipalities.

The Plan International is the consulting firm commissioned by the ADB to construct and repair classrooms in selected schools in Kananga, Burauen, Tanauan, Dulag and Mayorga in Leyte; and Quinapondan, Balangiga, Hernani, Salcedo, Balangkayan and Guiuan in Eastern Samar. The said classrooms were designed and approved by Department Of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in line with the build-back-better principle of the government. They can withstand winds as strong as 250 kph like the one brought by Supertyphoon Yolanda. They are also equipped with ventilation systems, chairs, boards, wash basin, separate comfort rooms for boys and girls, and a rainwater catchment system serving as an alternative source of water.

ADB Senior Legal Officer Atty. Karen Baydo said that the people of Japan are honored to have helped the Filipino people in times of need. She expressed hope that, with the new classrooms constructed, the concerned teachers, pupils and parents would take good care of the facility for future generations to benefit from the program of the ADB-JFPR.

DepEd VIII Assistant Regional Director Atty. Rhoan L. Orebia said that they are very thankful for the assistance given by the Japanese Government through ADB-JFPR. She recognized the big challenge of lacking school buildings, after many have been destroyed by the Supertyphoon Yolanda. She also expressed a wish for continued partnership with the ADB and that there will be more projects to come that would benefit the education sector of the region.

Ruel T. Bugnos, YPMO, NEDA VIII