Gov’t wipes out backlog with 66,813 new classrooms
Manila, Philippines – The government has built 66,813 new classrooms in the last three years that has finally wiped out the backlog inherited from the past administration in 2010, President Aquino said yesterday.
At the ceremonial turnover of the new classrooms in Carmona National High School in Cavite, the President commended Education Secretary Armin Luistro and the rest of the department for a “job well done.”
Aquino said the latest government success is not due to “miracle or manipulated numbers” but unity, dedication, and professionalism of the concerned government agencies as well as the prudent use of public funds.
In his remarks, the President said the DepEd even exceeded its target. “Kaya ulitin ko lang po, sa mga nakikinig na miyembro ng ating gabinete, kapag nangako kayo at dinadagdagan n’yo po ang resulta, hindi po tayo magagalit, ikinatutuwa natin ‘yan (That’s why I’m reminding other cabinet members that if you promise something and exceeded the results, I won’t get mad, I will welcome that),” he added.
More than 35,000 classrooms were funded by the national budget; 13,189 classrooms from local government funds; 14,886 from local donations; 1,215 from foreign donations; and 2,242 from public-private partnership for school infrastructure project. The projects ranged from one-story structures to multi-floor buildings. Australia reportedly gave the biggest foreign donation.
The President said the construction of the classrooms was in fulfilment of a promise to address the backlog of 66,800 left by the past administration in 2010.
“Dahil noong araw ho, uso ‘yong nangangako na parating napapako. At itong araw pong ito, ikinagagalak ko po na sa pangunguna ng ating butihing Brother Armin Luistro – nakita naman po n’yo nakasaklay pa –‘yung pangako ng administrasyong ito, hindi po napapako, nadadagdagan pa (In the past, promises were broken. Today, I am pleased that under the leadership of Brother Armin Luistro, even on crutches, that promises of the administration are delivered, and even surpassed),” he said.
The President also thanked the local government units, local and foreign donors, as well as the private sector that helped in building the new classrooms.
He said the government has been able to wipe out the backlog of 2.5 million school chairs using confiscated lumber. The backlog of 62 million textbooks was also addressed back in 2012.
From 2010 to 2013, the President said the government also opened 103,000 teaching positions. They still need 4,000 new teachers, he added.
“Dati nag-e-export tayo ng teacher. Ngayon naghahanap tayo ng teacher–apat na libo, mga specialized po ito. Baka may kakilala kayong naghahanap ng trabaho. Kulang pa ho tayo ng apat na libo (Before we used to export teachers. Now we are looking for 4,000 specialized teachers. Maybe you know someone looking for job. We still need 4,000 teachers),” he said.
Luistro said that in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the construction of the classrooms was a “collaborative work” of private organizations and public institutions.
Luistro said the department plans to build more classrooms this year to prepare for the full implementation of the senior high school (Grades 11 and 12) in 2016. previous years,” he added.
In an earlier interview, Luistro said that the year 2013 was the “cut-off year” in meeting the deadline to address shortages in basic education resources. The classrooms, he said, were completed last December. “This is a milestone for the Department [because] I do not know of any year in the Philippines when anyone can say that we have the basic inputs or resources in place,” he said.
As the DepEd has already addressed basic educational inputs for 2010, Luistro said the department will now focus on the shortage of resources brought by the continuing increase in student population. “DepEd will continue to provide basic inputs to address incremental enrolment, regular wear and tear, and senior high school (SHS) requirements,” he said.
DepEd, Luistro added, will construct more classrooms in 2014 to prepare for the full implementation of senior high school (Grades 11 and 12) in 2016.
CNHS was just one of the beneficiaries of the additional classrooms. Established in June, 1965, CNHS is the only public secondary school in the municipality of Carmona which has six private secondary schools.