The national government released about P1.12 billion to the Department of Education (DepEd) for the repair and rehabilitation of more than 5,000 classrooms damaged by typhoons and armed conflict, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced on Monday.
“The government continues to work at restoring normalcy in areas affected by various crises in previous years. Rehabilitating schools damaged by these disasters is especially important, given that school buildings also double as temporary shelters when disaster strikes,” Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said.
The said fund for 5,055 classrooms is charged under the Continuing Appropriations appropriation from the fiscal year 2014 DepEd budget.
The latest release is part of the P2.85 billion allotted for the repair, rehabilitation, and renovation of kindergarten, elementary, and secondary school buildings as well as repair of water and sanitation facilities that were damaged by typhoons Glenda and Yolanda and the armed conflict in Zamboanga in 2013.
The appropriation is part of DepEd’s built-in allocation for the Provision and Maintenance of Basic Education Facilities, which amounts to P44.6 billion.
The top three regions with the highest allocations are: Region VIII (Eastern Visayas) with P595 million, Region V (Bicol Region) with P150 million and Region VII (Central Visayas) with P139 million.
The Budget agency explained that the bulk of the appropriation would go to the two regions in the Visayas that were heavily affected by Typhoon Yolanda in 2014 – Region VII and Region VIII.
After Typhoon Glenda hit Region V last year, some schools had to be repaired while the facilities in Region X, particularly in Zamboanga City, were damaged by the armed conflict between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and government troops last September 2013.
Abad added that the government has allotted enough funds to repair damaged schools and aims to give students and teachers a school environment that’s conducive to learning.
The DBM chief said strengthening basic education is a major part of the government’s inclusive growth campaign, whether it’s allocating P367 billion in this year’s budget or funding programs that will improve people’s access to quality education.
“But these should also go hand-in-hand with creating more resilient and disaster-proof school facilities. This is all in line with the Aquino administration’s goal to ‘Build-Back-Better,” Abad said.