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DepEd continuing efforts to recover student records destroyed by ‘Yolanda’

Manila, Philippines – Almost three months after super-typhoon “Yolanda’s” devastation, the Department of Education (DepEd) assured yesterday its continuing efforts to recover and reconstruct school records damaged in affected divisions of Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas.

Data from DepEd showed that school records of 78,000 learners in elementary and high school in the four divisions of Tacloban City, Eastern Samar, Ormoc City and Leyte alone have been affected by “Yolanda.” Schools in Region 8 were among the severely-affected by “Yolanda” which left thousands of classrooms totally damaged.

In a statement, DepEd said that of the records of 78,000 students in these “Yolanda” affected areas “around 41,627 were deemed intact; 9,669 had partial damage; and 7,297 were lost or totally destroyed.”

“Restoring and preserving records is just as important as providing education,” DepEd Assistant Secretary Reynaldo Laguda said earlier.

DepEd has emphasized the urgency needed to restore as much school records in the affected regions.

As early as December, DepEd has implemented a digitized retrieval system to ensure the proper documentation of school records which were soaked, soiled, or totally destroyed during “Yolanda.”

“This project also ensures the longevity of school documents from being further damaged by such calamities,” said Laguda. “It would eventually sustain our schools in the prevention of the same problem in file storage for similar disasters in the future,” he said.

According to DepEd Director for Technical Services Rogelio Morales, the department began the assessment in December 2013 and mapped out a strategy in recovery and reconstruction of select school records.

“Records that have been partially damaged were digitally captured and sent to division offices,” Morales explained. “Those that were lost or totally destroyed are being reconstructed using other available documents,” he added.

DepEd said the students’ permanent school records contained in Form 137 were identified as a priority in retrieving and restoring school documents.

Morales added that partially damaged forms “were photo captured and then reproduced on new forms.” Tablets donated by the Turkish relief agency in December helped hasten the process of restoration of permanent school records.