MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III inspected newly-painted classrooms, chairs and tables at Apolinario Mabini Elementary School in Quiapo, Manila as part of the 2012 Brigada Eskwela program, where classrooms are being repaired and refurbished in time for the opening of classes on June 4.
On his way to the stage, he noticed a water spout in disrepair and a nail sticking out of a school chair and said he might visit the school again to inspect if these have been repaired.
The President offered to contribute his salary, if needed, to help in the refurbishing and maintenance of schools.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said last year's Brigada Eskwela was able to receive P2.2 billion worth of donations in kind, including man hours.
"Kung saka-sakaling kukulangin pa ho 'yung napagsumikapan-bagamat over P2 billion ang inaasahan ni Brother Armin this year, handa ko naman po isama na rin 'yung sweldo ko kung kakailanganin para mapuno. Baka 'pag dating ng sweldo ko sa inyo, sabihin niyo bakit ito lang ang pinadala, hindi po malaki ang sweldo ng Pangulo ng Republika, alam niyo naman po 'yan," Aquino said in his speech.
The President was accompanied in his inspection by Luistro, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, and Manila 3rd District Rep. Zenaida Angping.
The President said the government could close the classroom shortage gap by 2013 if the private sector continues to help in building schools. Out of the 60,000 classroom shortage in 2010, 10,000 classrooms have already been built, with 30,000 to 40,000 more classrooms to be built this year.
"Kung tuluy-tuloy ang pakikipag-bayanihan ng pribadong sektor sa pamahalaan, 'pag dating ng 2013, next year po 'yan. Bawat estudyante ay mabibigyan ng de-kalidad na edukasyon sa loob ng de-kalidad na silid-aralan. Ibig din pong sabihin, sa susunod na nga pong school year, mas kakailangan ng mas maraming ka-Brigada Eskwela dahil mas marami na tayong lilinisin na mga classroom," Aquino said.
Luistro said that after the building of classrooms, the government can now move on to constructing and repairing school toilets and sanitation facilities.