Press Release
November 10, 2023

Bong Go calls for prioritization of construction, improvements of more classrooms while commending VP Sara's decision not to pursue confidential funds

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, during the Senate plenary deliberation for the Department of Education's (DepEd) 2024 budget on Thursday, November 9, stressed the need to prioritize the construction of classrooms to help improve the country's education infrastructure after DepEd Secretary and Vice President Sara Duterte dropped an earlier request to have confidential funds allotted to the department.

He also highlighted the proposed increase in the budget for basic education facilities, which is set to increase by P10 billion--a 44% increase compared to the current year's budget.

"Importante po ito para matugunan ang kakulangan sa mga classroom lalo na ngayong balik face-to-face na po ang mga estudyante at ang mga guro," he emphasized, pointing out the direct impact that such shortages have on students' education.

Based on earlier discussions, he said, the Philippines faces the daunting task of constructing approximately 159,000 classrooms to bridge the current gap. Go underscored the significance of addressing this deficit, since the nation's future hinges on the quality of its educational programs.

"In fact, sa pag-iikot ko po sa buong bansa, halos inilalapit po sa atin ng mga teachers, kulang ang kanilang classrooms lalung-lalo na po sa liblib na komunidad, marami pong nagpapatulong sa atin at inilalapit naman natin ito sa departamento," Go shared.

Reflecting on his experiences, Go pointed out the current state of some schools, with dilapidated roofs, unsatisfactory classroom conditions, and unhygienic restrooms, among other issues.

"Napansin ko rin po na may mga eskwelahan pa rin na hindi maganda ang kondisyon, sira-sira ang bubong o yero pa rin ang bubong, hindi maayos ang mga silid-aralan, maruruming palikuran, kahoy na pundasyon, at marami pang iba. Iyon po ang hinaing ng mga teachers natin," he observed.

Go shared his personal observations during the last barangay elections, particularly the dire state of educational facilities at the Buhangin Central Elementary School in Davao City.

"I just want to share that when I voted recently po... last October 30, I witnessed first-hand the sorry state of the facilities in Buhangin Central Elementary School, may sementado, may kahoy po. Paano makakapag-aral ng maayos ang mga bata kung yero lang ang bubong, napaka-init niyan kapag tanghali at hindi rin makakatulong 'yan kapag umuulan," Go recounted.

"That is why I am with the Vice President and the DepEd in their efforts to improve basic education facilities. And I support, Mr. President, increases in the budget for this program," he continued.

Meanwhile, Go took note of the Senate's proposal to add P3 billion to DepEd's budget. He then lauded Vice President Sara Duterte's decision to forego the request for confidential funds.

"Isisingit ko na rin po... hinahangaan ko po si Vice President Sara Duterte for no longer pursuing the request for confidential funds so that we could already settle this divisive issue. Nananatili po ang aking tiwala sa ating Bise Presidente at sa ating Secretary po ng DepEd," said Go.

He asserted that any deduction from DepEd's budget should be reinstated through programs that benefit the educational sector, particularly addressing the backlog of classroom construction.

"Iisang boto lang naman ako sa Senado, pero bilang kasapi po ng Senate Committee on Basic Education at Vice Chair po ng Committee on Finance, ang posisyon ko ay kung anuman ang tinanggal na budget sa DepEd, dapat itong ibalik sa pamamagitan ng mga programa na makakabenepisyo sa mga kababayan natin lalung-lalo na po sa mga classrooms na backlog natin," said Go.

"At ang makikinabang po dapat ay yung mga kababayan nating mahihirap," added the senator.

The senator expressed unwavering trust and support for the Vice President, commending her move as a step toward resolving a divisive issue.

Regarding the Office of the Vice President (OVP), the senator urged that the funds be redirected to programs that provide direct assistance to those in need, such as medical and burial support, among other forms of aid. The aim is to ensure that the less fortunate members of society receive tangible benefits.

With the upcoming year's budget under review, the senator called for a prioritization of employment, service, and support for Filipinos, especially the poorest.

"Ngayon na isinasaayos na natin ang budget para sa susunod na taon, unahin po natin sana ang trabaho, unahin natin ang pagserbisyo at pagtulong po sa mga Pilipino lalo na ang pinakamahihirap nating kababayan," Go said.

In his final remarks, the senator expressed confidence in the leadership of Vice President Duterte and the collective efforts of all stakeholders to propel DepEd toward achieving significant progress for students and the educational sector at large.

"I have no doubt that with the leadership of Vice President Duterte and the continued support of all stakeholders, the Department of Education will achieve even greater milestones for our students and the education sector as a whole," Go concluded.

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