Press Release
January 20, 2006


Sen. Mar Roxas yesterday proposed that the construction of the school buildings in the country should be undertaken by the Department of Education instead of the Department of Public Works and Highway to save on costs, produce more buildings, and address the perennial problem of classroom shortage.

Roxas, chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, said classroom shortage has reached 51,947 as of 2004 and the DPWH completed only 21,523 classrooms, or about 76% of its 28,412 target under the school building program from 2000 to 2004.

The government needs to undertake more effective measures to address the challenge of providing adequate and better education to Filipinos, he said. The paucity in physical facilities indubitably contributes to the worsening problem of education in our country.

Roxas pointed out that a comparative cost estimate shows that it would be cheaper if the DepEd undertakes the construction of a classroom since the DPWH incurs a higher indirect cost, making it more expensive for the agency to undertake such projects.

He also said that a joint monitoring of school building projects conducted by the World Bank, DepEd, DPWH, and G-Watch has found that DepEd school building programs yielded better results than those administered by the DPWH.

By itself, the DepEd has the capability to undertake school building projects, he said. By introducing some amendments, it is hoped that the DepEd could more efficiently address the problem of classroom shortage.

Roxas filed Senate Bill No.2174 to amend R.A. No. 7880 or the Fair and Equitable Access to Education Act that seeks to eliminate the problem of classroom shortages and enhance the construction, rehabilitation, and repair of school buildings and classrooms.

The thrust of Roxas bill is to increase the allocation for classroom shortages to 60 percent of the total capital outlay from the present 40 percent for a period of three years. This would translate to a reduction in the allocation for capital outlay according to student population to 30 percent from the present 50 percent.

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