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Chiz questions DepEd’s school building program

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
June 25, 2015

PASAY CITY – Senator Chiz Escudero said the Department of Education (DepEd) failed to construct a single school building to date despite an allocation of more than P40 billion for its construction program under the 2015 national budget.

“We allocated over P40 billion for the school building program for 2015 pero ni isa, June na, wala pang nagagawang school building under the 2015 budget,” Escudero told a news forum in Manila on Wednesday.

The senator cited the DepEd as among the government agencies that lacked absorptive capacity to spend, thus contributing to public underspending which was largely blamed for the disappointing economic growth in the first quarter.

At the same time, Escudero expressed his strong opposition to the public-private partnership (PPP) project being undertaken by the DepEd for the construction of new classrooms, saying it was more costly for the government.

“I’m against the PPP for classrooms kasi may pondo naman tayo e. Bakit mo gagamitin pa sa PPP ‘yung classrooms?” he pointed out.

Escudero said he did not see the need to contract out the building of classrooms under a project which the government could have easily implemented itself.

He added that the government was at the losing end of a deal that gave contractors a return rate of 10 percent, considering that it could borrow three to four percent from others.

“The mode of PPP for classroom is actually a more expensive way of borrowing to construct classrooms, when in fact we have sufficient funds to construct our own classrooms,” Escudero stressed.

Escudero said that engaging in PPP would not address the risk of corruption in infrastructure projects.

“Kung korapsyon pala ang problema e ‘yun dapat ang i-address mo. Huwag kang uutang ng mas mataas,” Escudero said.