THE Department of Education (DepEd) has signed the contract for its second phase of the Public-Private Partnership for the School Infrastructure Project (PSIP II) in line with the government’s efforts to address classroom backlogs in the country.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro on Thursday last week signed the build-transfer agreement with representatives of Megawide Constructions Corp. and the BSP and Co. Inc. and Vicente T. Lao Construction Joint Venture for the design and construction of 10,679 one-storey and two-storey three-storey and four-storey classrooms, including furniture, fixtures and toilets in 5,167 public schools in 14 regions nationwide.
The PSIP II, with a total cost of P8.8 billion, will be implemented through a turnkey arrangement with the private sector using a turnkey or “build-transfer” modality in accordance with Republic Act 7718 or the Revised Build-Operate-Transfer Law. This means that DepEd will issue a one-time payment to the winning bidder after the classrooms have been built.
Megawide bagged a P2.25 billion contract to construct 2,240 classrooms in 928 schools in the provinces of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and the regions of Central Luzon and Cordillera.
Meanwhile, the consortium BSP and Co. Inc. and Vicente T. Lao Construction bagged a P1.603 billion contract to construct 1, 930 classrooms in 750 schools in the Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions.
Luistro has assured that the new classrooms will be constructed in the safest places and should be disaster resilient. He said future classrooms should have better “structural integrity.”
“New buildings for learners, including the ones under this program, should meet the new specifications required and should be able to withstand earthquakes, floods, and typhoons,” Luistro said.
“We are putting up structures where our students will be able to be in an ideal learning environment. It’s not any ordinary building, it’s about ensuring that these spaces will allow young people to flourish, learn in whatever school situation they find themselves,” Luistro added.
The DepEd chief also reminded the two consortia that classrooms should be completed and fully furnished before the end of 2013.
“I will harass you no end because this is a commitment to our Filipino children. It is important that these structures are strong because these buildings will be for young people and for children. It behooves us to give them the best,” Luistro said.
Manuel Ferrer of Megawide Construction vowed to deliver high quality classrooms for the learners.
“We intend to complete with best quality possible because we know that we are making a difference in thousands of school children who are the future of our country,” Ferrer said.
For his part, Ben-Azel Ponio of the BSP-VT Lao JV said that the project will not only benefit them but also the contractors, workers, and even local hardware stores in areas where the classrooms will be built. NEIL A. ALCOBER