Budget impasse hampered construction of some 4,000 classrooms, says DepEd

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 22 2019 06:54 PM

From January to March this year, the education department failed to award contracts for the construction of new classrooms, DepEd undersecretary Alain Pascua said. File/Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—The delay in the passage of the 2019 national budget hampered the construction of 4,100 classrooms, an official of the Department of Education said Wednesday.

From January to March this year, the education department failed to award contracts for the construction of new classrooms, DepEd undersecretary Alain Pascua said.

Pascua, however, noted that the agency is prepared for the opening of classes, with 12,752 new classrooms ready for use. Another 66,050, meanwhile, are under construction and expected to be completed by the end of the year.

"So even though we did not have the 4,000 projects under 2019 moved before the elections or even until now, we still have about 12,000 to be completed and 66,000 ongoing. So ganoon pa kalaki, that’s how big we are looking at the construction status of our school building program," he said during a Palace press briefing.

(That's how big we are looking at the construction status of our school-building program.)

It was only last month when President Rodrigo Duterte signed the national budget into law, ending an almost 4-month delay that threatened the growth of the economy and affected some government services and projects.

Prior to the signing of the budget, the government had operated on a reenacted 2018 budget since January.

The DepEd is still waiting for the turnover of classrooms from the Department of Public Works and Highways that were constructed from 2015-2018 numbering about 50,000, Pascua said.

"We are expecting about 50,000 or more of these classrooms to be delivered and completed by the implementing agency which is DPWH. Kaya hindi po masyadong problematic (it's not that problematic) ‘pag sinabi ninyo on the classroom side," he said.

Classes for school year 2019 to 2020 are set to open on June 3 with more than 27 million expected enrollees.