/ 18 November 2022

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday asked the Department of Public Works and Highways to submit its proposal on how to speed up the construction of classrooms and school buildings nationwide.

During his interpellation on the proposed 2023 budget of the DPWH, Gatchalian pointed out that P3.1 billion was allocated for the School Building Program this year.

As of September, however, only more than P30 million has been disbursed, less than one percent of the total allocated amount.

The DPWH received P2.78 billion for the School Building Program.

“In the past, we have seen that a lot of the school building program has been delayed and it’s because of the transfer of funds from the Department of Education to DPWH, and then from DPWH, they will construct and normally it takes one year to construct a classroom or a school building.” said Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.

During the deliberations on the proposed budget of DepEd, it was revealed that there was a shortage of 167,901 classrooms nationwide based on the 2019 National School Building Inventory. More than P419 billion is needed to construct these classrooms.

To address this shortage, Gatchalian proposed the implementation of a counterpart program where DepEd gives 50% of the funds required for classrooms and school buildings, and the local government unit comes up with the other 50%. LGUs, however, are given the task to construct classrooms and school buildings.

“Aside from the General Appropriations Act, we can tap other sources of funds, and this calls for innovation in terms of financing and building classrooms,” he said.