BAGUIO CITY – More than P387 million allotted for the rehabilitation, repair, upgrading and constructions of school buildings in the different parts of the city will be released soon to prevent the fund from reverting to the general fund by next year.
Engr. Rene Zarate, district engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highways – Baguio City District Engineering Office (DPWH-BCDEO), said that the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) of the funds will be in the hands of the agency anytime so that the school building projects of some 17 public schools in the city could be implemented by the first quarter of next year and that the school buildings will be ready for the needs of pupils and students by the start of the next school year.
Supposedly, there were 22 public schools in the city that were supposed to benefit from the over P457 million school building fund that was earmarked by the education department for this year.
However, Zarate explained that based on the validation that agency technical personnel conducted on the schools that were supposed to benefit from the project, there were 4 schools found to have been unfunded with the amount of P79 million.
“We are elated that the funds that were earmarked for the school building projects will be released anytime pursuant to the advance notice that was relayed to our office so that we can already start working out the bidding and implementation of the projects to prevent the funds from reverting to the general funds once it will not be released before the end of the year,” Zarate stressed.
The district engineer explained that for the schools that will benefit from the school building fund next year, the agency, in coordination with the education department, will again conduct the required validation for the listing of the projects that will be provided with the needed funds and that the validated list will be forwarded to their central office for the processing of the fund release with the budget department.
Zarate explained that the agency will closely monitor the implementation of the education department’s school building program so that the programmed projects will be done pursuant to existing standards that will guarantee the safety of pupils and students using the schools for their studies.
The DPWH-BCDEO official expressed confidence that there will be more schools in the different parts of the city that will benefit from the government’s school building program to help decongest the different classes and provide adequate classrooms for the expected increase in the enrolment for senior high school which was started several years ago.
The Department of Education and the DPWH entered into an agreement for the coordinated implementation of the government’s school building program that will translate to the fast-tracked implementation of the numerous projects that were lined up for the repair, rehabilitation, upgrading and construction of school buildings and classrooms in the different parts of the country to help improve the quality of education with the implementation of the government’s K to 12 basic education program.
By Dexter A. See