Legarda questions unsolved DepEd school building backlogs
Senate President Loren Legarda expressed disappointment with the unsolved school building backlog in the country although Congress has given billions of pesos for the school building program.
Legarda asked why funds worth P3.199 billion allocated in 2022 for the construction of basic education facilities has a very low use rate of 13.45 percent.
She also noted that since 1998, DepEd always had an annual backlog in providing enough school buildings to students.
“This has always been one of the challenges of the department. It’s already the 2023 budget and it’s still a challenge. My question is, will there be a time when we will no longer have backlog?” Legarda asked.
Duterte assured the committee that that they would tackle the problem in their upcoming meetings.
“We hope that by the time we reach the plenary we will be able to address this. It is an annual problem, not just at your time but with previous administrations as well,’’ Legarda said.
‘’Otherwise, the allocated funds are only wasted. Even if we want to increase your budget, it will just be wasted if they remain unused,” Legarda added.
DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla has told the Senate that DepEd needs ₱86.5-billion for the construction of more classrooms next year.
“The ₱86.5-billion is actually not the overall shortage, this is just what we think should be implemented in 2023,” Sevilla said.
Meanwhile, Senator Grace Poe called to retain the funding for the government’s feeding program.
She, but, called for a review of the program to expand its coverage and increase the number of its beneficiaries.
“It’s really important that our children go to school nourished. It doesn’t have to be expensive,” said Poe.
“This is also crucial to the development of the country, that the children are fed well, educated well, and are cared for well,” she added.