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DepEd Health-Related Infrastructure Requirements for the Safe Return to Schools

The Department of Education (DepEd) have identified the priority health-related school facilities for the safe return to schools and offices for the School Year 2022-2023 based on reports and recommendations of the Education Facilities Division (EFD) and the Bureau of Learner Support Services-School Health Division (BLSS-SHD).

Attached is an Aide Memoire from Former DepEd Undersecretary Alain Del B. Pascua on the Prioritizing Health-Related Requirements for the Safe Return to Schools and Offices.

Prioritizing Health-Related Requirements for the Safe Return to Schools and Offices: Infrastructure

Potable water, toilets, handwashing stations, and clinics in schools are considered essential health-related structures. These provisions and facilities ensure that proper hygiene is implemented and sustained for all learners, teachers and school personnel.

However, in the Philippines, not all schools have access to potable water and handwashing facilities with regular supply of hygiene kits and soaps.

Based on the analysis made by the German development agency GIZ and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), there are still about 24% of schools nationwide that have no access to these facilities, while 76% have yet to meet the requirements for basic sanitation, thus exposing the school children, teachers, and personnel to viruses and other diseases.

Only 28% of all public schools have clinics, and the perennial problem of non-functioning toilets is always on top of the list.

The outbreak of the corona virus disease (COVID-19), not only in the Philippines but throughout the world, opened our eyes to the absolute necessity of having potable water and sanitation facilities, especially in our schools.

Equally vital is the access to school clinics for regular checkups to determine the condition of the students, teachers, and personnel so that DepEd can attend to their specific health needs.

The Office of the Undersecretary for Administration (OUA) and the Education Facilities Division (EFD) have identified the priority health-related school facilities as follows:

  1. Water System with Source of Potable Water
  2. Toilets (sanitation system)
  3. Handwashing Stations
  4. School Clinics

Water System with Source of Potable Water

Based on latest Enhanced Basic Education Information System (eBEIS) data, a total of 3,861 schools have no access to potable water. These schools need to be connected to an existing water system being used by the community or an independent water source like deep wells that will be for the exclusive use of the school.

Additional option for the provision of water source is the Atmospheric Water Generation (AWG) or air-to-water technology which is the process of converting water vapor in the air (humidity) to water. The AWGs replicate the natural process of condensation by simulating the dew point, which allows it to make water continuously, even in low humidity conditions. This is an alternative to areas where the water table is very deep or where there are no water sources nearby.

Design Options and Costing for Water Source

Option 1Option 2Option 3Option 4Option 5
Solar-Powered Deep Well with Submersible Water PumpWater Source at Higher Elevation Than the SchoolManual Hand
Water Pump
Powered Air Water System
Unit Cost1,958,226312,614270,000140,2532,000,000
Unit Cost

Using the average cost of P 936,219.00, the total requirement for the provision of water source for all the 3,861 schools is P3,614,741,559.

Repairing and rehabilitating existing water systems of 43,289 schools to ensure that potable water is available and that all handwashing facilities and toilets will have water will require P16.2 billion.

An estimated amount of P374,500 per school is needed for the repair and rehabilitation.

Provision of Toilets

Toilets are very important health facilities in every school. Based on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in School (WinS) monitoring data for SY 2018-2019, about 72.9% of all schools have at least one (1) functional toilet, while 55.5% are within the ratio of one (1) toilet bowl for every 50 students.

Schools with Existing Toilets (N= 47,023)

WithWithoutNo Data
With at least one existing functional toilet34,271 (72.9%)734 (1.6%)12,018 (25.6%)
With functional toilets that are secure29,976
5,028 (10.7%)12,019 (25.6%)
With functional toilets that have lighting27,668
7,337 (15.6%)12,018 (25.6%)
With functional toilets that have adequate ventilation27,797 (59.1%)7,208 (15.3%)12,018 (25.6%)
With gender-segregated toilets19,868
15,137 (32.2%)12,018 (25.6%)
With toilets for people with limited mobility9,641
25,364 (53.9%)12,018 (25.6%)

Schools with Adequate Student to Functional Toilet Ratio (SFTR)

No Toilet7341.6
No Data12,01825.5
Note: <50 SFTR meets the adequate criteria. (WinS Follow-up Monitoring SY 2018/2019)

The 2019 National School Building Inventory shows that for each specified use of toilet according to gender, the ratio of toilet bowl to student is 1:85 for female and 1:105 for male, which is still beyond the acceptable standard of 1:50 for female and 1:100 for male.

Per analysis, at least 56,769 toilet seats are required to meet the standards.

For a four-seater toilet facility, repair and rehabilitation amounts to about P213,200 while a new construction costs P533,000.

DepEd will be needing P23,326,158,700 to repair and rehabilitate 437,639 existing toilets to make them clean and functional, while about P7,564,469,250 is needed for the construction of 56,769 toilets.

Group Handwashing Facilities

Based on the latest eBEIS data, a total of 3,861 schools have no existing group handwashing facilities.

Given the current enrollment data and a standard ratio of one (1) group handwashing facilities for every 100 students, a total of 7,704 group handwashing facilities are needed to be constructed in these schools.

Based on various models and options for the construction of group handwashing facilities, an estimate of P135,750.00 is needed for 10 faucets with water tank.

About P1.045 Billion is needed to build 7,704 handwashing facilities in 3,861 schools.

Of the 43,289 schools with existing handwashing facilities, 98,963 facilities need to be repaired and rehabilitated.

With an estimate of P50,000 for repair cost, the total repair funds needed is P4,948,150,000.

To enable these schools to meet the DepEd standard of 1 group handwashing facilities for every 100 students, about 156,850 handwashing facilities more are needed to be constructed. This will amount to another P 15.7 billion.

School Clinics

Of the 47,013 schools nationwide, only 28% have clinics. That is about 13,081 public schools.

A standard school clinic has the size of a normal classroom and costs an estimated P2.5 million each to build. If a school has an existing classroom which can be converted into a clinic, the cost will be around P450,000.00.

Earlier, it was conveyed to Congress that the amount needed will vary between a minimum of P15.27 billion if only conversion will be undertaken, up to a high of P84.83 billion if new constructions will be undertaken.

Based on the field validation of engineers, a total of 20,359 new construction of clinics are required, while 13,573 others are for conversion of existing classrooms or ancillary facilities, in the case of schools without buildable spaces. Thus, to ensure that there will be one clinic for every school, this will need a total budget of P57 billion (P50,897,500,000.00 for new construction and P6,107,850,000.00 for conversion).

Repair of existing clinics will amount to P 2,943,225,000 if we will allocate P 225,000 per classroom for repair and renovation.

These amounts pertain only to the physical facilities. Equipment, supplies and materials, as well as medicines and personnel services, are excluded in these computations.

Prioritizing Funding Allocations

To summarize, the following are the proposals for the provision of health facilities:

FIRST PRIORITY: P80,420,907,596.00

A. Allocation of Funds for the Construction of Health-Related Facilities

CategoryPhysical TargetsUnitTotal Required Budget
Water System3,861School Site3,614,741,559
(full requirements of 3,861schools)
facility of 10 Faucets
(50% only)
Toilet Seat3,782,301,250
(25% only)

B. Allocation of Funds for Repair and Rehabilitation of Existing Health-Related Facilities Constructed Prior to 2017

CategoryPhysical TargetsUnitTotal Required Budget
Water Systems10,823
(25% only)
School Site4,053,213,500
Handwashing Facility98,963Group Handwashing Facility4,948,150,000
Toilets (repair-rehab)27,352
(25% only)
Toilet Seat5,831,446,400
Clinic (repair/rehab)13,081Clinic2,943,225,000

C. Allocation of Funds for the Construction and/or Repair and Rehabilitation of Health-Related Facilities to Meet 50% of DepEd Standards in Schools Where These Facilities are Absent.

CategoryPhysical TargetsUnitTotal Required Budget
Water Systems (repair-rehab)10,823
(25% only)
School Site10,132,698,237
Handwashing Facility (repair-rehab)78,425
(50% only)
Group Handwashing Facility7,842,500,000
Toilets (repair-rehab)27,352
(25% only)
Toilet Seat5,831,446,400
Toilets (construction)14,193
(25% only)
Toilet Seat1,891,217,250
(25% only)
(50% only)

SECOND PRIORITY: P53,515,714,809.00

A. Allocation of Funds for the Construction of Health-Related Facilities to Meet 100% of DepEd Standards in All Schools

CategoryPhysical TargetsUnitTotal Required Budget
Water Systems3,861School Site3,614,741,559
(50% final)
Handwashing Facility
(50% final)
Toilet Seat11,663,106,000
(25% final)
Toilet Seat1,891,217,250
(50% final)
6,787 (50% final)Clinic3,054,150,000

THIRD PRIORITY: P46,988,695,000.00

A. Allocation of Funds for the Construction of Health-Related Facilities Using International Standards

CategoryPhysical TargetsUnitTotal Required Budget (Php)
Construction of 100% of the Requirements for Group Handwashing Facility164,554Group
Handwashing Facility
Construction of 100% of the Remaining Requirements for Toilet Facilities56,769Toilet Seats30,257,877,000

A total of about P 180,925,317,405 or P181 billion is needed to fund all health-related infrastructure requirements to address potable water and water systems, toilets and sanitation, handwashing facilities, and clinics.

Status as of 04 August 2021

While the aforementioned requirements were proposed to be included in the 2021 GAA for a total amount of P113 million, the said request did not materialize due to fiscal budget constraints.

This was again proposed for 2022 and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has considered the provision of budget for the Health-Related School Facilities as a new sub-component of the Basic Education Facilities Fund (BEFF).

A total of P358 million was proposed by the DBM for this particular item under the National Expenditure Plan (NEP).

The table below shows the proposed breakdown of this amount.

Proposed Breakdown of the Proposed P358 million

CategoryPhysical TargetUnitTotal Estimated Allocation
Construction/Installation of
Water System
54School Site21,678,650
Repair/Rehabilitation of Existing Water System149School Site27,736,146
Construction of Handwashing Facilities113Group Handwashing
Repair/Rehabilitation of Existing Handwashing Facilities343Group Handwashing
Construction of Toilet Facilities449Toilet Seat34,024,733
Repair/Rehabilitation of Existing Toilet Facilities93Toilet Seat39,906,282
Construction of School Clinics432School Clinic152,613,069
Repair/Rehabilitation of Existing School Clinics105School Clinic41,795,035

If this will be included in the GAA for 2022, the fund will be used for the construction, replacement, repair, and rehabilitation of water systems, handwashing facilities, toilet facilities, and other health and sanitation-related facilities of the schools to avoid the spread of diseases and ensure health and sanitation in schools.

The amount also covers, but is not limited to:

  • the cost of tapping the proposed water system of the schools to the nearest available main water system in the community;
  • the cost of application and connection for a water system in any existing local water districts, if any;
  • the cost of water testing and water treatment to ensure its potability;
  • the cost of wastewater discharge permit and other applicable regulatory fees;
  • the construction of school sewerage treatment facility; and
  • the construction of canals and drainage system, in compliance with governing environment, sanitation, and health laws and regulations.

Provided that one percent (1%) shall be used to cover the Engineering and Administrative costs related to the implementation of the projects.

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Mark Anthony Llego

Mark Anthony Llego, from the Philippines, has significantly influenced the teaching profession by enabling thousands of teachers nationwide to access essential information and exchange ideas. His contributions have enhanced their instructional and supervisory abilities. Moreover, his articles on teaching have reached international audiences and have been featured on highly regarded educational websites in the United States.

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