DepEd: Delayed 2019 budget slowed construction of classrooms, hiring of teachers

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DepEd: Delayed 2019 budget slowed construction of classrooms, hiring of teachers

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) – May 22, 2019 – 6:48pm

MANILA, Philippines — The delayed passage of the 2019 budget has hampered the construction of more than 4,000 classrooms and the filling up of about 10,000 teaching positions, the Department of Education said Wednesday.

DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said the contracts for the building of classrooms were not awarded in the first quarter because of the delayed approval of this year’s P3.757-trillion budget. 

“We just have to be optimistic. It’s now passed, so let’s look at it that way. But January to March, we were not able to award any contract and we are supposed to build about 4,100 new classrooms and repair or replace a lot of classrooms as well,” Sevilla said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

“We did, on our part an early procurement activity or process, so we are just waiting for the awarding. Now, we are waiting for the allotment and we are closely coordinating,” she added. 

Also affected by the budget issues were the hiring of teachers, the purchase of school supplies, equipment and learning materials, and the voucher system.

“Many big-ticket programs were affected by the reenacted budget, and this is the creation and filling up of teachers position which is about 10,000 positions. But DBM (Department of Budget and Management) said they will now release it because the election ban has already been lifted,” Sevilla said 

Congress failed to pass the 2019 budget on time as some lawmakers traded barbs over the alleged last-minute insertions in the spending bill. The delay forced the government to operate on a reenacted budget from January to April. The spending bill was signed into law last April 15. 

DepEd Undersecretary Alain Pascua said about 66,050 classrooms are being constructed nationwide. He said 12,752 of them are expected to be completed by the end of June. 

“So even though we did not have the 4,000 projects under 2019…we still have about 12,000 to be completed and 66,000 ongoing,” Pascua said. 

Despite the impact of the reenacted budget, education officials assured the public that they are ready for the opening of classes. 

DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said parents, teachers and other stakeholders continue to support the Brigada Eskwela, which was launched last May 20. 

“Given the continuously increasing population of our schoolchildren and the increasing number of challenges that we have to hurdle, we are also increasing and expanding our existing efforts to deliver quality, accessible, relevant and liberating basic education,” Briones said. 

About 27.8 million students will troop to almost 62,000 schools during the opening of classes next month.