Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said he feels sorry for his former teacher, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, as the “latter had inherited a culture of underspending and a broken system of procurement which delays the delivery of equipment and books.”
“The present DepEd leadership assumed office to a huge avalanche of unspent funds,” Recto said.
“Prior to her assumption, we were regularly regaled with reports on how many classrooms were built, the millions of books bought, the tens of thousands of teachers hired, but it later turned out that there was even zero procurement in these areas,” he added.
Of the 86,641 lots of Science and Mathematics equipment which were supposed to be delivered from 2014 to 2016, not a single one was bought as of end of 2016, Recto said.
The target was to provide 38,622 schools with a complete package of this equipment in 2014, and 33,070 schools in 2015, and 3,490 schools in 2016, but not one of these schools got a complete set, Recto said.
In the case of books, of the 179.6 million targeted for procurement for 2015 and 2016, only 84.9 million were bought.
Of the 144.7 million books covered by printing contracts during the same period, only 16.6 million were delivered, leaving a huge backlog of 128.3 million pieces of reading materials, Recto said.
“Ganoon din sa upuan. Failing grade din. Ang total na napondohan ay 1.323 million na silya hanggang 2015. Ang nabili, 364,670 lang. May balance na halos isang milyon,” he lamented.
“The said debacle was repeated in 2016. Of the programmed 45,898 furniture sets to be acquired that year, not one was bought,” Recto said.
“The three-year target beginning 2013 was 27,176 water and sanitation facilities. What’s the result? A big fat zero in 2014 and 2015. And a measly four in 2013. Binigyan ka ng pera para sa 27,176 toilets and wash areas, apat lang nagawa,” Recto said.
The same delays and slippages bugged the repair of classrooms, as DepEd managed to complete less than half of its 45,142 goal from 2013 to 2016. “21,509 lang ang nakumpuni.”
One key component of the K to 12 curriculum was the teaching of technical and vocational courses, “but sadly of the 455 tech-voc labs to be built in 2015, only 249 have so far been completed,” Recto said.
In 2016, only 19 out of the funded 1,064 tech-voc building were built that year, he added. “Sabi mismo ng Commission on Audit, that of the P4.9 billion allotted for the redesigned technical-vocational high school program, P2.2 billion remained unobligated by end of 2016.”
“Yung sa teacher items na dapat lagyan, mabagal din ang recruitment. Of the 55,349 slots for K to 12, may natira pa na 13,989 as of end of 2016,” he said.
“Ang resulta, hindi nagasta ang P12 billion sa P21 billion na nilaaan for hiring,” Recto said.
But the biggest pileup was in classrooms, Recto said. “Mga 84,000 ang backlog ng 2015 and prior years. Add the 22,000 for 2016. Then there’s a goal of 47,000 this year. Lahat nito delayed na ang delivery,” he said.
“The present DepEd management will be hard put in implementing several GAAs’ worth of projects. One year appropriations nga lang, hirap na, paano pa kung compounded?” Recto said.
“’Yan yung resulta ng basta gagawa lang ng building or buying list na base lamang sa isang mathematical formula without checking the realities on the ground. Kapag table top ang computation ng central offices na walang validation, aberya talaga ang aabutin,” he said.
“In fairness to DepEd, there are procurement and auditing laws and regulations, and planning protocols, that need to be changed or liberalized in order to speed up the delivery of resources,” Recto said.
Recto said Briones should not be fazed by these challenges but should focus on crafting and implementing a catch-up plan that will remove procurement blockages and unclog the pipeline of needed books and classrooms.
“Otherwise, magre-revert ng pera sa Treasury. In 2015, at least P5 billion worth of appropriations ang ibinalik. Ang forecast at the end of the year, baka mag-revert ng 21 billion. Huwag naman sana,” Recto said.
SENATE BILLS/AUTHORED LAWS:
21 JUL 2016: SBN-855: ICT in Education Act of 2016
21 JUL 2016: SBN-812: Teaching Supplies Allowance Act of 2016