DepEd chief: Don’t look at us
Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - August 22, 2019 - 12:00am

Low number of completed classrooms

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) is not in charge of actual construction of classrooms and should not be taken to task for any slowness in the completion of such projects, according to Education Secretary Leonor Briones.

“The Senate is fully aware that the department does not (construct) the buildings and that the money does not go to us,” Briones said as she pointed out that it was the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that was in charge of the construction and completion of school buildings.

This was the clarification given by the education chief to senators during an organizational meeting convened by the Senate committee on basic education, arts and culture for the 18th Congress last week as she explained yesterday the alleged deficiencies in the DepEd’s physical accomplishments vis-à-vis its targets.

The DepEd recently bore the brunt for the alleged low performance in the completion of classrooms.

Some of the issues encountered in the timely implementation of projects were attributed to procurement delays and contract implementation lags as well as securing building and occupancy permits which was initially not part of the budget.

To address this, the DepEd said it had coordinated with the DPWH, which, the former said, was the engineering arm of the government and the implementing agency of the School Building Program, and conducted inter-agency convergence meetings to resolve the issue.

Briones noted that in a recent meeting with the Department of Budget and Management, the DPWH agreed to timely submit financial and physical accomplishment reports to the DepEd. 

Briones also shared that the DepEd revised targets from the original target of 47,000 classrooms for 2018 to 28,170 due to the increased cost of modified calamity-resilient school building designs.

While only 11 classrooms were fully completed as of Dec. 31, 2018, 27,469 are ongoing constructions, 16,936 are for mobilization and 8,749 are under procurement. 

Following the DepEd’s timelines, around 11,826 are expected to be completed by the end of this year.

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