Press Release
March 16, 2016

With SC OK of K-12, DepEd must ready 43,000 new rooms, 62,320 new teachers by June

Government should press full speed ahead in acquiring needed K to 12 classrooms, equipment and teachers after the Supreme Court (SC) rejected several pleas seeking to stop the implementation of the program adding three years to the basic education curriculum.

With classes in public schools about to end in two weeks, education officials should use the summer break to build or repair schools, hire teachers and buy equipment "so all of these will be ready when 21 million students return to schools in June," Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said.

Recto said there should be no repeat of the "horrible delays" which plagued classroom-construction and teacher-hiring in the past.

Government should exploit good summer weather to finish new classrooms before monsoon rains arrive in June, he stressed.

This year, 43,000 classrooms will be built at a cost of P61.8 billion. Of these, 23,000 classrooms are for the Grades 11 and 12, or what constitute senior high, Recto explained.

Congress also allocated P18.8 billion for 62,320 new teaching posts, plus 17,371 additional support personnel.

About 40,000 teaching slots are for senior high, Recto said.

"With the first batch of Grade 11 students entering school this June, it is important that their classrooms and teachers are ready by then," Recto said.

"There's no excuse that it can't be done because this is something which has been planned in advance. Hindi ito bagyo na bigla na lang pumasok sa Philippine area of responsibility," he said.

Aside from rooms and mentors, Grade 11 students will be needing books and chairs, "requirements which are likewise funded in the 2016 national budget, " Recto said.

Some 103.2 million textbooks, costing P4.1 billion, and 4.33 million chairs, costing P3.4 billion, will be distributed to 38,688 public elementary and 8,159 public high schools this year, Recto said.

"Putting these resources in place should be the Aquino administration's education legacy. When the President bows out of office in June, teachers should have been hired and classrooms inaugurated," he said.

In issuing the call for a faster roll out of education resources, Recto recalled procurement bottlenecks which delayed deliveries.

In 2014, DepEd was given P2.56 billion to purchase Grades 1 to 3 science and math kits "but not a single one was bought that year," Recto said, "In fact, by mid-2015 wala pa ring nabibili."

The following year, P4 billion was appropriated for kits for Grades 4 to 6 math and science classes "but July came and not one had been purchased."

The same problem hounded teacher recruitment, Recto said. The DepEd was given P9.35 billion in the 2015 national budget to fund 39,066 teacher positions "but not one was recruited in time for the June opening."

"The same was true for classrooms. Of the 41,728 new classrooms programmed for 2015, not one was ready for occupancy by July 1, 2015," he said.

But Recto believes "these problems have been solved by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson."

"I am confident that DPWH will turn in an excellent final report card in classroom construction. Wala naman kasi sa DPWH ang problema," he said.

In a March 15 press briefing, a High Court spokesman announced the dismissal of consolidated petitions for the suspension of the K to 12 program.

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