MANILA — The Department of Education has a total of P49-billion unused funds for school building, according to the joint congressional oversight committee on public spending.
This finding was noted during a hearing on the progress of government disbursements and actual spending lead by Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, House appropriations committee chairman, and Sen. Francis Escudero, who heads the Senate finance committee.
Escudero said that the DepEd has to come up with a list of sites where the classrooms could be built.
“I don’t know what their problem is. Ever since I became finance committee chairman three years ago, Congressman Ungab and I have been demanding that they come up with a listing before we allocate the budget. But they always failed to do so,” he said.
Escudero noted that the DepEd has to submit the list even if it is the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that builds the classrooms.
He added that the DPWH could not proceed with the construction without the list from the DepEd.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad told the joint panel that the this year’s classroom construction funds has been disposed.
He also said that the DepEd has a “problem of growing” when it comes to speeding up the classroom construction program.
“Before, we were only doing 6,000 classrooms a year. But now, we do 40,000 classrooms. What compounds the situation for DepEd is the acceleration of the requirement of the K to 12. The problem is the capacity does not expand as fast as the requirement. This is what we call growing pains. It takes a longer time for DepEd to adjust,” he said.