At least 605 new classrooms with an allotment of P500 million will be constructed for students from indigenous peoples’ communities in Regions IX to XIII in Mindanao, the Department of Education (DepEd) stated.
Under this project, new classrooms will be constructed in 251 sites in the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, and Agusan del Norte.
According to DepEd, an estimated 19,622 students will be served for school year 2016-2017. These students belong to the following groups of IPs: Subanen, Sama-Bajau, Higaonon, Matigsalog, Manobo, Talaandig, Tigwahanon, Umayamnon, Ata-Manobo, Bagobo, Blaan, Diangan, Dibabawon, Mandaya, Mansaka, Matigsalog, Tagakaolo, Tagabawa/Bagobo, Manobo-Dulangan, Tboli, Uvu Manobo, Banwaon, and Mamanwa.
DepEd said the project will employ members of the beneficiary communities to construct the classrooms within the implementation framework of the Kalahi community-driven development program of the Department of Social Work and Development.
DepEd also said the average cost per classroom under the project is only P825,000 compared to its standard cost of P1.1 million following the standard design of the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) for a single story classroom with toilet. Instead of the standard DPWH design, however, the construction design of the classrooms will be based on indigenous architecture and local materials will be used.
The lands on which the schools will be built are within the beneficiaries’ ancestral domain. A contract of usufruct will be executed between the IP groups and DepEd for the use of the property for educational purposes.
The budget was released by the Department of Budget and Management to DepEd last week to implement the project “Establishment of New Public Schools for Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao: Classroom Component.”