The government-owned and -controlled corporation Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has allocated an additional P3 billion for funding to provide more classrooms in public schools nationwide.
This brought Pagcor’s total funding for its school building program to P10 billion.
Pagcor’s release of the P3 billion additional funding to the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was witnessed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
The event coincided with the inauguration and formal turnover of two new school buildings at the Tarlac National High School in Tarlac City on Friday.
Pagcor Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Cristino Naguiat Jr. said the additional funding will ensure that more public schools in far-flung communities will have new classrooms.
“We embarked on this project almost five years ago bearing in mind President Aquino’s directive to us to help address the basic problems of the education sector like the lack of classrooms. The P10-billion allocation for the school building project is the biggest funding ever provided by our agency for a single project in Pagcor’s history,” he noted.
“This is our biggest legacy to the Filipino youth, to provide a comfortable and healthy environment that will encourage students to study even more. We will continue to do our share with the valuable help of DepEd and DPWH,” Naguiat said.
Under the school building program, the DepEd identifies the public schools that are in need of new classrooms while the DPWH handles the construction of these classrooms.
Out of almost 4,500 classrooms being built under the first P7 billion funding, about 1,124 in 239 sites had been completed, while the rest are under construction.
To date, Pagcor’s school building project has reached even far-flung communities across the country, including Tawi-Tawi, Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, Lanao del Sur, Catanduanes, Palawan, Bukidnon, Masbate, Compostela Valley and Bogo City and Bantayan Island in Cebu.
Close to 1,300 typhoon-resilient classrooms, meanwhile, are being constructed in over
300 sites in Yolanda-devastated areas.
The classrooms, which can cost up to P1.6 million each, are more expensive compared to typical classrooms because they are designed to withstand strong typhoons and floods.
Building the classrooms in far-flung areas would also entail bigger cost because the materials need to be transported to these remote communities.
DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson said the additional classrooms that will be constructed using the extra P3-billion funding from Pagcor will augment the classroom requirements for K-to-12.
During the turnover of the additional P3-billion funding for Pagcor’s school building project, Aquino also inaugurated the 30 new classrooms (composed of two units of three-story, 15-classroom buildings) donated by the government to Tarlac National High School main campus and its annex in Tarlac City also on Friday.
The President was joined by Naguiat, DepEd Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Secretary Joel Villanueva.
Local government officials also joined the President in turning over the classrooms to the 112-year-old school, which is reputed to be the oldest public high school in the country and the biggest in Region 3 in terms of area and student population.
The 30 new classrooms would help decongest the overpopulated school, which currently has a population of roughly 10,000 students.
School Principal Dr. Yolanda Gonzales thanked Pagcor for providing their students with more improved school facilities.
“No doubt, these school buildings would be essential in ensuring our students’ quality education as they now have additional classrooms that are ideal for learning,” she said.
In the province of Tarlac alone, Pagcor has built 88 classrooms in 12 sites while 48 in six sites are under construction.