/ 1 January 2024

ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro on Sunday chided the Department of Education for boasting about the construction of 2,201 classrooms when its data says that there are at least 165,000 classroom shortages in the country.

“Ang DepEd mismo ang nagtarget na mga 5,000-6,000 ang mga silid-aralan na maipapagawa nitong 2023. Disyembre 31 na pero 2,201 lang ang nagawa, ni wala sa kalahati ng sarili nilang target tapos may gana pang ipagmalaki na magandang accomplishment daw ito, napakababa naman ng standard ng Kalihim ng DepEd at napakalayo sa bilis nyang gastusin ng P125 milyon ng illegal confidential fund sa loob lamang ng 11 araw noong 2022,” Castro said.

“As it is, Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s vow to prioritize the construction of new classrooms and Department of Education Secretary VP Sara Duterte’s recognition of the enormity of the shortage in school infrastructure and facilities in her Basic Education Report 2023 appear to be insincere as they failed to demonstrate their firm resolve to cut down the classroom shortage significantly,” she added.

“As the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Philippines pointed out, the gravity of the classroom crisis necessitates a more ambitious and long-term plan. Only through constructing 50,000 classrooms every year up can we improve the learning conditions, and remove major roadblocks to education recovery,” said the Deputy Minority leader.

“It is a baseless claim that constructing 50,000 classrooms per year is impossible as the agency was able to build 100,936 classrooms for three years from 2014 to 2016,” the solon said.

The lawmaker stressed that from 2014 to 2018, the budget allocations for classroom construction ranged from P39 billion to P109 billion yearly.

“It had been done and it can be done again if only the current administration were sincere in addressing the classroom crisis as well as the bigger learning crisis,” the solon said.