Recto: Ending classroom shortage big challenge

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THE administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd will have to build 254 classrooms a day to be able to finish its target of 43,000 classrooms next year, according to Senate President pro-tempore Ralph Recto.

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Recto however said work on 41,728 classrooms that have already been funded for this year has yet to begin.

The classroom target of the government for next year will raise the number of classrooms that need to be constructed by the June 30, 2016 to 84,728.

Recto said this means that the Aquino administration must build an average of 254 classrooms a day from August 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.

But this would be a real challenge considering that of the 41,728 new classrooms programmed for 2015, not one has been built as of July 1, 2015 based on the information received by Congress from the Department of Education (DepEd).

Recto said the backlog stretches back to the 2014 deliverables, with 7,000 classrooms unfinished as of May 2015, out of the 43,138 supposed to be built this year.

“If you add the almost 10,000 rooms to be renovated and the almost 500 vocational workshops which will be constructed this year, then the target is higher,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Francis Escudero, former chair of the Senate finance committee appealed to heads of different government departments including the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to itemize their proposals and keep the budget errors to a minimum.

Escudero, who vacated the chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee out of delicadeza, said his “unsolicited advice springs from his experience in the finance panel and the mood of his colleagues.”

According to the lawmaker, government agencies seeking increase in spending program will be required to break down all the allocations, especially if these are lump sum requests.

“Although it might be impossible to list down all the items, like the names of 4.5 million beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer (CCT) beneficiaries in one lump sum account, the agency must show that such a listing exists and is accessible to the public anytime,” Escudero said.

The senator added that lawmakers will also demand a “price list” for common infrastructure projects in order to set a costing standard.

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