Sen. Bam Aquino questioned the Department of Budget and Management’s move to cut the Department of Education’s budget for construction of classrooms from P116 billion to just P10.2 billion.
“Napakalaking kapabayaan ang tapyasan ng halos 90 porsiyento ang budget para sa pagpapagawa ng classroom. Ang ating mga anak at kanilang edukasyon dapat ang prayoridad ng gobyerno,” said Sen. Bam as he presided the hearing of the DepEd’s budget as vice chairman of the Committee on Finance.
Sen. Bam said the amount earmarked by the DBM is enough to build just around 4,000 classrooms. Originally, the DepEd asked DBM for funds to build around 47,000 classrooms for 2019.
“Ang mga batang estudyante at ang kinabukasan ng bayan ang magbabayad sa maling pagpaprayoridad ng gobyerno,” Sen. Bam pointed out, adding that the welfare of students is important than the government’s intelligence funds.
“Hindi tayo papayag na ipagkait sa kabataang Pilipino ang pondo na dapat ay sa kanila,” said Sen. Bam, who briefly served as chairman of the Committee on Education in the 17th Congress.
Sen. Bam suggested to increase funding to around P15 billion for construction of 10,000 new classrooms in 2019, instead of just 4,110. Sen. Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Finance Committee, committed to bring the issue up with the DBM.
“Ilagay natin ang numero sa mga kayang gawin at tapusin bago matapos ang 2019,” said Sen. Bam, with the assurance from concerned government agencies that the 10,000 classrooms will be finished by the end of 2019.
In addition, the senator stressed that the DepEd needs additional budget for the repair of classrooms destroyed by Typhoon Ompong amounting to almost P1 billion.
“Kailangang gawin ding prayoridad ng pamahalaan ang pagsasaayos ng mga silid-aralan at mga gusali na sinira ng Bagyong Ompong upang hindi maantala ang pag-aaral ng ating mga estudyante,” said Sen. Bam.