GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 22 Jan) – The Department of Education (DepEd) in Region 12 is pushing for the construction of around 630 additional classrooms this year through a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.
Dr. Allan Farnazo, DepEd Region 12 director, said the additional classrooms were part of the region’s initial allocation under the second phase of the agency’s PPP for School Infrastructure Project (PSIP II) that is scheduled to commence this year.
He said the DepEd central office has included the region as among its expansion areas for the PSIP, which was launched by the national government two years ago to address the country’s classroom shortage.
“The negotiations and the bidding process are currently ongoing for the projects lined up under the second phase,” he said.
Farnazo said several major construction companies have joined the bidding for the PSIP II, among them the Megawide Construction Corp., Inc., Consortium of BSP & Co. Inc. and the Davao City-based Vicente T. Lao Construction.
The government’s PPP website listed the PSIP II’s project cost at P8.80 billion or US$215 million. The project will be implemented through build-operate-transfer scheme.
Under the program, a private contractor designs, finances and constructs the buildings and the government pays the proponent upon turnover of the completed school facilities.
“This arrangement is considered ideal for DepEd as the payments to the contractor will be spread over 10 years,” the official said.
In Region 12, the DepEd central office has allocated a total of 637 classroom buildings under the PSIP II.
“This is on top of the 1,802 classrooms that is due for implementation this year by the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways),” Farnazo said.
The agency has identified 300 public elementary and secondary schools in the region as beneficiaries of the program.
A project briefer said the government launched the PSIP II to supplement the current initiatives of DepEd on classroom construction classroom nationwide.
It was aimed “to expand the supply of classrooms in all public school system as fast as it could reasonably be done and cut the country’s shortage of classrooms that reached 66,800 in 2010.”
DepEd adopted the PPP framework based on Republic Act 6957 or the Build-Operate-Transfer law as a strategy to supplement the provision of educational facilities in the public school system in order to achieve President Benigno S. Aquino III’s 10-point agenda for basic education.
DepEd had projected that the country’s classroom shortage will increase by 150,000 units by the year 2016, with the full implementation of the government’s K to 12 education program.
The K to 12 program, which was first implemented by DepEd in 2012, provided an additional two years to the country’s basic education program.
It covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education, comprising six years of primary education, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school.