Press Release
August 1, 2015

Govt's ambitious target: To build 2-km long of classrooms a day until P-Noy bows out of office

From August 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, the government must build an average of 254 classrooms a day - or about two kilometers long every 24 hours - in order for President Aquino to redeem his promise of building 84,728 classrooms in his last 11 months in office.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph G. Recto underscored this "awesome but challenging target" in urging the two agencies responsible for "building the most of number of classrooms in the shortest time" to boost their capability to undertake the project.

Recto was referring to the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the tandem tasked to build education facilities.

Under the "division of labor" in building schools, the DepEd handles the identification of sites while DPWH is mainly responsible for construction.

But a recent report to Congress on the status of DepEd projects revealed delays in classroom construction, Recto said.

Of the 41,728 new classrooms programmed for 2015, not one has been built as of July 1, 2015.

In fact, the backlog stretches back to the 2014 deliverables, with 7,000 classrooms unfinished as of May 2015, out of the 43,138 supposed to be built that year, Recto said.

For 2016, government plans to build 43,000 classrooms, which, if added to the 41,728 classrooms already funded for 2015, would raise the two-year goal to 84,728.

While the classrooms to be constructed in 2016 could be delivered until the end of the year, "it would be better if they will all be completed by June 30, President Aquino's last day in office," Recto said.

"Ito na siguro ang regalo o goodbye gift ng mga ahensya sa Pangulo, na tapusin ang lahat ng silid-aralan na kanyang inutos gawin bago n'ya lisanin ang Malacanang," Recto said.

"Let us work on this scenario: Before he goes to the inaugural of his successor, he will inaugurate the 84,728th classroom built in the last 11 months of his term," Recto proposed.

To meet the June 30, 2016 deadline, an average of 254 classrooms must be built daily which Recto describes "as two kilometers long if put end to end, and that's just for a day's work."

"Kaya kung ilalagay mo ang classrooms na dapat itayo sa loob ng dalawang linggo lang, kasing haba ng EDSA yan," said the senator, referring to Metro Manila's 23.8-kilometer car-choked main artery.

"Kung December 31, 2016 naman ang deadline of completion, 164 classrooms kada araw ang dapat maitayo - still a very tall order," Recto said.

"And this is just for brand-new classrooms. Outside this tally are classrooms for repair and new technical-vocational workshops," he explained.

"If you add, for example, the almost 10,000 rooms to be renovated and the almost 500 vocational workshops which will be constructed this year, then the target is higher, baka umabot ng dalawa at kalahating kilometro kada araw ang haba," Recto said.

To achieve this, Recto said DepEd and DPWH must agree "on a battle plan on how to attack the problem of delayed implementation of school projects."

The guidelines on how to unclog implementation chokepoints have been spelled out in President Aquino's Administrative Order 46 which strengthens the capacity of agencies to execute and monitor projects.

In the AO, Aquino directs all agencies to transform themselves into "Full-Time Delivery Units" through, among others, the creation of multiple Bids and Awards Committees and staff these with permanent personnel.

Recto noted that in his Budget Message for 2016 expenditures, Aquino said DPWH must function "as the lead construction agency of the government."

But its role in classroom construction would be facilitated "if DepEd this early identifies, clears what schools will receive how many classrooms next year."

"Preparatory work should be done a year in advance. Or better if there is a multi-year forecast para hindi sa simula ng fiscal year lang magkukumahog kung saan magtatayo," Recto said.

For 2016, the budget for new classrooms is pegged at P61.8 billion. Also for next year, DepEd's budget is proposed to increase by 15 percent, or to P436 billion from P378 billion.

News Latest News Feed