Press Release
April 18, 2007

Recto urges early purchase of 1.67 M chairs to prevent SRO in schools

Senator Ralph Recto said today that if funds are used properly, students in public elementary and high schools no longer need to squeeze themselves in crammed schoolrooms and suffer through lectures and lessons while standing.

There is absolutely no need for schoolrooms to have a few desks for big classes, he stressed, and the time has come for government to be more efficient in allocating desks for thousands of public schools at all levels.

"The budget for desks and armchairs allocated by Congress under the P1.126 trillion 2007 national budget was maintained at P1 billion. At the average cost of P600 per unit, 1.67 million can be procured this year," Recto said.

"If we use the funds diligently, there would be no 'standing room only' (SRO) in the public educational system when school opens in June," he added.

By DepEd projection, the enrolment in 4,915 public high schools and 37,161 public elementary schools in the next school year will increase by about 883,923.

Providing a seat each to these new enrollees will cost P530.4 million , which will be drawn from the P1 billion fund for desks this year, Recto said.

Chairs needed by the 6,000 classrooms that will be built this year , estimated to cost P180 million, can also be drawn from the P1 billion allocation.

Recto disclosed that the same P1 billion fund includes purchase of teacher tables and other furniture costing P289 million

"If you do the math, all that's needed is for the funds to go where they should go and no pupil would have to stand his way through class," he noted.

Recto said that purchase of these desks and armchairs should strictly comply with the Procurement Reform Law, a provision of which requires the presence of NGO representatives as observers in the bidding process.

Recto reiterated that purchase of new chairs is an unavoidable yearly expense as more and more pupils and students migrate to public schools due to tuition increases.

"With the increasing student population needing more chairs, desks and books, government should be quick enough to provide the necessities," he explained.

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