Press Release
July 17, 2006


Senator Mar Roxas backed the education program unveiled by Secretary-Designate Jesli Lapus of the Department of Education, which focuses on teacher-training, improving the managerial skills of those in charge of schools, and addressing the huge budgetary gap that have led to the current educational crisis.

As a former congressman, he understands how the budget process works, and as a former bank president, he has the managerial know-how to move the DepEd bureaucracy towards the right direction. His previous experience as a university professor also assures the public of his familiarity with the challenges that teachers and school administrators face, Roxas said.

The senator said he concurs with the diagnosis of the incoming DepEd Secretary that DepEd is an enterprise in crisis. In a previous statement, Secretary Lapus said, the first step in leading an enterprise out of a crisis is to address the human component, relieving it of excess baggage, myths and misconceptions, breaking molds and then rewarding for productivity and efficiency.

We should put more money into education, and make sure that these funds are properly utilized. Last June, the nation woke up at the opening day of classes with the usual perennial problems such as classroom, teacher, seats, and textbook shortages. This is a managerial problem and I fully support the intention of the incoming DepEd Secretary to resolve these problems, Senator Roxas stressed.

The senator also reiterated his call for the allocation of P9.18 billion more for the Department of Education on top of its proposed 2006 budget of P110 billion. The amount, which can be sourced from the portion of the 12 percent value added tax (VAT) collections of government, would go to basic educational resources, teacher training, and private school subsidy.

We will lose our competitive advantage as an English-speaking country with a vast talent pool of managers and workers unless we act now to rescue our educational system from a crippling budget deficit and other built-in inefficiencies, Roxas stressed.

Congress must exercise its resolve and pass a supplemental budget for education when it opens next week, the senator said.

The senator is author of Senate Bill No. 2174 which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 7880, also known as the Fair and Equitable Access to Education Act that Roxas also authored when he was a congressman.

Senate Bill 2174 seeks to shift priority, for a period of three years, to areas with a dearth of classrooms by increasing the resource allocation for classroom shortages from 40% to 60% of the total capital outlay, while reducing the allocation for capital outlay according to student population from 50% to 30%.

It also recommends that the implementation and administration of the school building program should be turned over from the Department of Public Works and Highways to DepEd, or to the concerned local government unit, as may be authorized by DepEd.

According to a comparative cost estimate, DPWHs construction cost of a classroom is higher compared to DepEds, primarily due to DPWHs high indirect cost. In a joint monitoring of school building projects conducted by World Bank, DepEd, DPWH, and G-Watch, it was established that DepEd-led school building programs yielded better results than those administered by DPWH, Senator Roxas explained.

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