23 May 2015
Sen. Pia: It’s almost June, why the delay in the release of funds to rehabilitate Yolanda- and earthquake-hit schools?
Senator Pia S. Cayetano has pressed the panic button on the slow pace of repair and reconstruction work of school buildings that were devastated by last year’s super typhoon Yolanda and the magnitude 7.2 earthquake.
“Only a few weeks remain before the opening of classes in June, and yet many State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) that were damaged by Yolanda and the strong earthquake are still awaiting the release of the funds meant for their rehabilitation,” said Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.
She added: “I understand that plans and budget proposals for rehabilitation have to be reviewed. But summer has come and is almost gone, still we have yet to see the funds released to our SUCs.”
“Over P100 billion was allocated by Congress under the 2014 national budget to rehabilitate disaster-hit areas, aside from a P14.6-billion supplemental budget. And yet, according to the DBM, only P32.2 billion had actually been released.”
“The fund allotted for the reconstruction of SUCs is P1 billion, which is not even one percent of the total rehabilitation budget. But what’s holding up its release, considering that the school year is just about to start?” she asked.
Citing data from CHED, Cayetano said 26 SUCs have already submitted their respective fund requests to DBM amounting to P826.5 million. She further noted that seven more SUCs were still waiting for the second round of validation by DPWH engineers, while another 18 SUCs have yet to undergo assessment by the agency.
“In calamity stricken areas, our priority for the youth is to encourage them to resume their schooling. This will greatly help in their rehabilitation and recovery.” #