Fire Destroys, Fire Forges

So the question on everyone’s mind now is, “What happens next?”

Here are some quick facts:

1. We are still waiting for the official report by the Bureau of Fire Protection. Therein, they will detail the cause of the fire and lay out their recommendations for how to proceed.

2. This recommendation is key. With that we will know whether we are cleared to use the building, particularly the unaffected parts of the second floor, as well as the third floor.

3. As everyone should know by now, exams are pushing through on Monday to Wednesday, and new venues will be used. Check with your respective Batch Advisers/Councils for information.

4. What happens on Thursday and beyond is still to be determined. I will not divulge the various proposals floating around, but suffice to say that we will find it incredibly difficult to hold ordinary classes without the third floor classrooms at least. And if ever we get to use the third floor, the next big hurdle is the absence of the library and the registrar’s office. We need both if we want to operate “business as usual”.

Nonetheless, we would advise students to expect that there will be classes. Expect. At least if there turns out to be none, then that won’t be a disappointment.

5. The reason why a question mark hangs above the third floor is because the fire may have affected the structural integrity of the whole SHB. As fire experts would tell you, though certain structures such as concrete walls and pillars may survive a fire, the internal structures within (ie. metal or wooden beams, wires, cables, etc.) may have been melted or toasted by the intense heat. Hence we wait for clearance.

That’s it with the facts.

You all know me to be an opinionated guy. And while I have very strong feelings about everything that happened last week post-crisis, I will refrain from publishing my specific comments, counterpoints, and recommendations in the spirit of solidarity. We can always say that things could be handled better and that people could decide faster, but I feel that to say such right now is rather irresponsible given the severity of the circumstances and the absence of any precedents to guide us moving forward. Nonetheless, I completely agree that how the administration acts now will set the precedent, and that all of us has something to contribute to what happens next.

Criticism at this point, merited or otherwise, only takes away more than it gives. I rather be constructive, and considering how open our administrators are, my voice won’t go to waste. Public advocacy is not necessary at this point, though rest assured that whatever I have to say will center on two principles: first, that immediate relief is given to those who need it most so they could continue doing their work, and second, that time tables for restoration (at the least) or rehabilitation (at the most) of the SHB be set immediately so that we can be guided accordingly in relocating and rescheduling classes, if need be.

In closing, I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the Computer Science unit for making accomodations for the Humanities Department at the Tech Prep room. It’s a fine move that helps all of us get back on our feet, regardless of whether or not we know where we’re heading. My heart goes out to all my colleagues who lost their everything when the fire consumed their cubicles. I may have been spared, but that doesn’t put me in a different boat. What happens next will be telling for all of us, as we strive to go back to work with even less than what we had before. But we do have each other, so I hope we make that count for something.

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10 Comments

  1. Hey sir, Dante here. :)) How about we hold classes on the field if it ain’t raining? :> =))))))))))) Kidding, but it would be cool XD.

    When can we expect to know what the schedule will be after the exams?

    Oh and what happened to the delegates from Singapore?

  2. No telling how soon we can know about the schedule but something has to be in place by Wednesday.

    The Singapore delegation arrived last Friday and we entertained them until Saturday. All went well.

  3. Hehehe. It is a good question that we won’t have a venue to hold many of the classes as the 3rd floor is off-limits. I’m quite sure someone proposed making the sembreak earlier to give them time to fix the SHB. I dunno. We still don’t know what’s gonna happen anyway. Best move right now would probably be to wait it out until the officials come up with a final decision.

  4. Indeed. In case the structural integrity of the SHB has been compromised, it would seem as if the conversion of the computer science rooms and science laboratories in the ASTB, and maybe even the dormitory and canteen, would be all but mandatory should we want to continue classes. Indeed, the field, the flagpole area, and even the gazebos can be yet another alternative.

    On another, yet also related, note, I’d say that even if we are given clearance to use the SHB (even just the first floors), we should still hold evacuation drills just in case, and should also hold seminars informing students and school staff about the signs of an imminent building collapse (such as cracks appearing on the walls) and encouraging EVERYONE in the school to watch out for such signs and report them IMMEDIATELY (failure to report it at the earliest possible time could be incredibly disastrous).

    I was truly shocked when I received word of this incident. Let us pray that God will give us the strength to face the problems this inciident has caused and will cause, and the unity and diligence to work together and cooperate to repair the damage done, prevent further damage, and prevent any such lamentable incidents from happening again.

    May we all learn well the lessons that this incident will impart.

    May God be with us all.

  5. Hi sir, I wanted to inquire what we can actually do to help. Is there need for monetary contributions or are more illustrious alumni handling that already?

  6. Rob, there is definitely a need but we can’t say what exactly until we’ve concretized plans for the rehabilitation of the faculty. Once we have that, we’ll be able to say how much we may need and/or what utilities we would like to have.

    For now, I suggest you and other like-minded alumni to approach your old teachers, ask how they’re doing, and see how you can help them in a personal way.

  7. Hi Martin,
    I’m an alumnus of Pisay back in 2004. I’m deeply saddened to what happened. I woke up the morning the incident happened with my mom telling me Pisay caught fire. A bit of emotions that morning thinking of the fact that my dad is a firefighter in Marikina but only his fellow volunteers were allowed to go there because some firefighters should stay in Marikina just in case something happens here.

    When you get more news about the incident, just post it up.

    BTW, when did you start teaching there? I think I never met or seen you there back in 2004. 🙂

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