/ 12 September 2022

NG Ralph Recto on Sunday called on the government to resume building school libraries to improve student reading comprehension.

“We should end the moratorium in building new libraries. A school without one is like a swimming pool without water,” Recto said.

Library construction was not included in the national budget in recent years.

The lawmaker said that in 2006, the government allocated P120 million to build 60 library hubs and 12 big learning resource centers.

He added that the program was highlighted in the 2014 budget of DepEd but was no longer there in the years that followed.

The remedial measure, he said, can be instituted in next year’s national budget by increasing the DepEd’s proposed new buildings fund of P5.91 billion which is only enough for 2,379 new classrooms.

“Kung totoong 900,000 enrollees ang bagong lipat from private to public schools, ‘yan pa lang 22,500 dagdag na rooms na ang kailangan,” Recto said.

“Maglaan tayo ng pondo para sa libraries sa 2023 budget. It’s time to turn the page and reverse the neglect of this vital school facility,” he added.

Recto said the government must make sure that young people will fall in love with books and building book depots and reading centers could be the start of their beautiful relationship with reading.

“If we want our kids to read, read, read, we should build, build, build libraries,” Recto said.