Kweba klasrum: Bulacan students go to a cave to get better signal for online classes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 16, 2020   •   431

Located in the mountain ranges near Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan, the Suklib Cave is one of the tourist spots in the area. But for several students like Jasdrel Mae Austria, it may very well be their classroom for the school year.

Jasdrel is a Grade 11 student. Signal in the barangay where they live is very poor, so the students in her family have no choice but to find a better signal elsewhere — which happens to be Suklib Cave.

Suklib Cave is five kilometers away from their home and it would take an hour-long walk to get there.

“Kami pong tatlong magkakapatid at pinsan, napag-isipan po namin na para po makapag-aral po kami sa online class, pupunta po kami sa Suklib Cave. Doon lang po may malakas na signal (The three of us siblings and cousins, we thought of going to Suklib Cave to get a good signal for our online classes), ” she said.

Her sisters, Jastine Rain and Jas Ellaine, said they don’t mind the burden of traveling to the cave as long as they can still learn even amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Maglalakad po kami mahihirapan po kami, tsaka medyo delikado sakali pong uulan, (We have to walk to get there. It will be difficult and dangerous especially when it rains),” Jastine said.

With the enrollment still ongoing and the opening of classes is still a month away, these students have already prepared themselves for their cave journey. Jas said they already know what to do and what to bring once online classes start.

“Sakripisyo po talaga lalo na kapag mainit, tapos magbabaon pa po kami ng pagkain (It would really be a sacrifice especially during hot days. We would have to bring food),” she said.

For their parents Edna and Ayan Austria, having a cave for a classroom is not that bad compared to the COVID-19 risks their children might face if they were in a normal classroom.

Edna said the education of their children is very important to them, as parents. However, they are still thinking of ways on how to buy the gadgets their children would need for online classes.

“Aakyat po sana sila sa cave kung may magagamit silang gadget. Kaysa po mag-schoool sila,para wala silang makahalubilong ibang tao, doon nalang po sila sa cave (They were supposed to trek to the cave if they had a gadget they could use. They would rather go to the cave than go to the school where they have to mingle with other people),” she said.

Edna and Ayan are calling on the local government to provide their family assistance in obtaining the needed gadgets for their children once classes begin in August. AAC (with reports from Nestor Torres)

Five suspected illegal loggers arrested in Bulacan

Marje Pelayo   •   October 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Five suspected illegal loggers have been arrested in the forested area of Doña Remedios Trinidad in the province of Bulacan during anti-illegal logging operations.

The area is part of the Angat Watershed Reservation under the Proclamation No. 505.

The operation was spearheaded by the combined operatives of the DENR Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) based in Baliwag, Bulacan together with personnel from the National Power Corporation (NPC)- Angat Watershed Team (AWAT) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Dona Remedios Trinidad (DRT) in Bulacan,

Authorities also seized more than 1,600 board feet of chainsawn dipterocarp lumber worth over P170,000 including three chainsaws and five motorcycles.

The forest contrabands are now under the custody of CENRO Baliwag. 

The DENR has already filed criminal charges against the suspects for violating the Forestry Code of the Philippines (P.D. 705) and the Republic Act No. 9175 or the Chainsaw Act of 2002.

DepEd eyes recalibration of students’ homework load

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 8, 2020

The Department of Education (DepEd) will begin a recalibration or adjustment of homework for students amid complaints from parents.

DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio said the department will release guidelines for schools in giving out homework during the implementation of the distance learning system.

Parang overwhelming yata ang mga naibigay na gagawin ng bata. Kailangan din na mag-recalibrate kami, mad-adjust siguruhin ang mga pinapagawa namin sa mga nag-aaral habang nasa bahay ay makatuwiran at hindi naman subra-sobra (The schoolwork seemed overwhelming for students. We also need to recalibrate and adjust to make sure the homework given to students will be fair and not too much),” he said.

Meanwhile, the Education Department already removed periodical examinations to lessen the workload of students and teachers. Instead, grading will be based on the student’s written works and performance tasks. -AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Phivolcs sees geohazard, flooding risks in Bulacan Airport

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 25, 2020

The project site of the proposed New Manila International Airport in Bulacan has geohazard risks, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

The multi-billion airport is sitting on soft ground and its location is prone to frequent flooding, according to Phivolcs Usec. Renato Solidum.

“Just to be very specific on the facts is that it is far away from the fault. But since it’s underlain by sand with a shallow water table, it’s prone to strong ground shaking and liquefaction,” he said.

Solidum said they conducted an assessment to ensure the safety of the community as well as to protect investments. He recommended making buildings and infrastructure resilient to hazards.

“Dapat iyong building mo ay maayos ang disenyo na maging stable siya habang lumilindol at hindi siya tumagilid. Or pwede mo ring patibayan ang lupa. Bawasan mo iyong tubig, palitan mo iyong lupa, (The building should have a proper design for it to be stable during earthquakes. The ground can also be strengthen by reducing its water content or replacing the soil),” he added.

Meanwhile, San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SMC) said they have been taking into account the risks in designing the P740 billion domestic and international airport in Bulacan. The SMC also assured they have studied the project, including its feasibility, and all possible risks.

“The airport’s design fully takes this into account and we have actually started implementing sustainable measures to address flooding in Bulacan that has existed for several decades and has been made worse by clogged waterways and drainages,” according to SMC.

The corporation also tapped three major global airport construction firms to ensure the airport is resilient, sustainable, and will provide the best benefits for all Filipinos. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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