Palo, Leyte—Rainy days don’t bring happiness to the students and teachers of Sulpa National High School in the interior village of Sulpa in Villaba, Leyte.
“Every time it rains, many of our students will be absent. Worse, many of them got foot diseases due to the muddy road leading to our school,” said Sulpa NHS head teacher Eleanor Cariño.
In the recent week alone, Cariño said that at least five of their students failed to show up in their classes because their foot got infected.
“The road, which is muddy until now, brings so much inconvenience to us. I hope that this will be cemented soon,” she added.
The school official said that her school, about 12 kilometers away from the poblacion, has only about 200 meters of the road paved so far, while the rest of it is dusty during summer and muddy during this rainy season.
“When it rains, animal urine mixed with fecal matter are carried by water into the middle of the road, bringing diseases to everyone,” Cariño illustrated as their school is in the middle of a farm area where carabaos and other domestic animals are commonly found and tied at the side of the road.
Lucky are those who can ride the habal-habal (an improvised motorcycle) because at least they would not be wading in muddy waters during rainy days, she added.
As Cariño appealed for the cementing of the road the soonest possible time, she said that they are looking for any donors who can provide their students with some rain gears specifically rain boots.
She added that most of the students cannot afford to buy one.
According to Cariño, their school’s maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) is only P 31, 786.00 for the junior high school and P 5, 800 for the senior high school, and it would be impossible for them to answer all the medical needs of those students who got sick due to foot infections because their fund allocation for medicine is only P1,500 per release of their MOOE.
At present, Sulpa NHS has 256 students and 19 teachers, catering to at least six other nearby villages.
“Our road condition really brings so much discomfort and trouble to us. It also drained our school resources and even our personal money,” said Cariño who has been assigned to the said school for the past six years.
Meanwhile, Cariño said that she is set to meet with their town mayor to also ask help about their problem.
Edgar Tenasas, the assistant schools’ division superintendent in Leyte, said that their immediate response to the problem currently hounding Sulpa NHS is to deploy the division’s medical staff to check the condition of the students.
“This is the initial thing we can do in response to the concern of Sulpa NHS because we are not in the position to offer a solution to the road issue since it is under the Department of Public Works and Highways and the local government unit of Villaba,” Tenasas said.