DBM OK’s release of P5.8-B budget for new classrooms

PHILIPPINE STAR/KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

THE DEPARTMENT of Budget and Management (DBM) on Thursday said it approved the release of P5.83 billion to help build classrooms nationwide.

In a statement, the agency said the money would be given to the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Public Works and Highways.

The amount is enough to build 1,834 classrooms in 216 sites across the country, it said.

“The timely release of funds for the project signifies our dedication and commitment to help in building a brighter future for our young learners,” Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman, who approved fund release on March 18, said in the statement.

The budget is meant for the construction of school buildings for kindergarten, elementary and secondary education public schools. It will also be used to build technical and vocational schools.

It may also be used to install or upgrade facilities for persons with disabilities, in compliance with accessibility and universal design principles. The amount would also be used for water and sanitation facilities, as well as site improvements, the Budget department said.

The funding also supports the first batch of DepEd’s basic education facilities fund, which covers the maintenance of school facilities, repair and rehabilitation of classrooms and replacement of old buildings.

Last year, the Education department failed to meet its target of building 6,379 classrooms, having built only 3,600 classrooms.

An average classroom costs about P2.5 million each, Education Undersecretary Epimaco V. Densing III told a Senate hearing last year.

But DepEd needs about P105 billion yearly to address the Philippines’ classroom shortage by 2030, he said. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz