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DepEd: P16.5-B school infrastructure project not overpriced

- Rainier Allan Ronda - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Education Secretary Armin Luistro dismissed concerns over overpricing in the ongoing bidding being conducted by his department for the P16.5-billion public-private partnership (PPP) School Infrastructure Project (PSIP).

Luistro said that the classrooms and school buildings to be built under the program have different technical specifications from the classrooms and school buildings built by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), making any cost comparison unfair.

“It will not be an apple to apple comparison,” Luistro said.

He said that the PSIP school building cost projection of more than P1 million already includes the stairs for the two-storey school buildings, toilet and hand-washing facilities, electric fans, and school furniture.

He said that the classrooms of the PSIP program would be bigger than the current classrooms built by DepEd and DPWH.

Luistro had earlier expressed confidence that the DepEd could award the contract next month, after which construction of the project’s 9,300 classrooms can commence also within the year.

Of the six pre-qualified PSIP bidders, only two groups – the BF Corp.-Riverbanks Development Corp. Consortium and Citicore Holdings Investment, Inc.-Megawide Construction Corp. Inc. – submitted technical and financial proposals for the PSIP last July 18.

As part of their technical proposal, each of the bidders constructed a 2-storey, 4-classroom mock-up structure in Sta. Isabel Elementary School and in Malolos Marine National High School in Bulacan.

A technical team comprised of the DepED, DPWH, the Department of Labor and Employment’s Occupational Health and Safety Center, and the Ernst and Young Consortium (the DepED PSIP’s transaction adviser) inspected the compliance of the mock-up structures against the PSIP’s Minimum Performance Specification and Standards last month.

Once the classrooms are completed, a 10-year lease period would start, with DepEd making annual payments to the winning bidder.

During the lease period, the winning bidder undertakes periodic maintenance activities on the classroom structures every 4.5-5 years, while the DepED is responsible for day-to-day wear and tear.

Education Undersecretary for Finance and Administration Francis Varela said that the P16.5-billion PSIP was just the first phase, and they could again conduct a bidding for another lot of 10,000 classrooms within this year.

CLASSROOMS

CONSORTIUM AND CITICORE HOLDINGS INVESTMENT

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS

DEPED

EDUCATION SECRETARY ARMIN LUISTRO

EDUCATION UNDERSECRETARY

LUISTRO

PSIP

SCHOOL

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