PHILIPPINE SCHOOLS damaged by recent typhoons would use blended learning if repairs were not completed on time, the Education department said on Monday.

“The ones hit by typhoon Egay will be the priority in our budget for repair this year,” Vice-President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio told reporters after participating in a cleanup activity at a Manila high school.

“If the repairs will not make it to the opening on Aug. 29, we will immediately implement blended learning programs,” she added.

Ms. Carpio said the Department of Education (DepEd) aims to avoid learning disruption. “It’s either blended learning or in-person classes. Classes will continue even if there are classroom issues.”

Meanwhile, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said some schools were being renovated, noting that government is working with local governments to fast-track repairs.

A total of 169 schools, including more than 500 classrooms, were damaged by Typhoon Doksuri, locally known as Egay, and a southwest monsoon that triggered rains for weeks.

The Education department is studying a proposal to raise teachers’ salaries based on an order issued by the President, Ms. Carpio said.

The study will take into consideration economic indicators including inflation, she added.

Ms. Duterte said teachers have been receiving salary increases in tranches every year since 2020 under a 2019 Salary Standardization law.

ACT Teachers Party-list earlier lamented the zero allocation for salary increases for government employees in the proposed P5.768-trillion national budget for next year.

The party-list has been calling for a P50,000 entry-level pay for teachers and P33,000 for salary grade 1 employees.

Kabataan Party-list has also flagged the 62% budget cut for the capital outlay of state universities and colleges, saying it could worsen the country’s classroom shortage.

Also on Monday, Mr. Marcos said climate change should be considered in deciding whether the country should return to the old academic calendar.

“It’s not that simple, we changed the schedule before because of the pandemic. Right now, we need to talk about climate change… because it’s too hot,” he said.

Party-list Rep. France C. Castro has filed a bill that seeks a return to the June to March school calendar, saying the August to May calendar has negatively affected the education sector, “with students and teachers struggling with prolonged and intensified exposure to heat during the summer months.”

“This has resulted in decreased productivity, poor student performance and even health problems,” she said in House Bill 8550.

Under the bill, the school year will start between the first Monday of June and the last day of August.

The measure covers all basic education institutions in the Philippines, including foreign and international schools. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza