Regular School Building Program

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The Regular School Building Program is a joint project of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which aims to address the shortage of classrooms in the Philippines.

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Project Specifics

The Regular School Building Program specifically targets schools which are categorized under the Red zone, or those which have a ratio of 56 or more students to one classroom; and the Black zone, or schools which make use of makeshift classrooms and facilities.

Under the program, the DPWH (through contractual/outsourcing work), in coordination with the respective local government units and non-government organizations, will construct school facilities, primarily classrooms, following the prescribed DepEd designs.

The standard DepEd design will be a 7m x 7m classroom for rural areas with a classroom-student ratio of 1:45, or a 7m x 9m classroom for suburban areas. The 7m x 9m classroom shall also be the standard size for all public secondary school, regardless of location and class size. Meanwhile, a multi-storey building with 7m x 9m classrooms is prescribed in highly urbanized areas such as the National Capital Region.

Classrooms must also have cemented floors, painted or at least finished walls, roofing and weather protection, a complete set of windows, two entrances with doors, a cathedral-type ceiling, complete electrical wiring and fixtures, and a blackboard.

Legislative basis

School building programs have been institutionalized even before the establishment of this program, most notably through Republic Act 7880, which governs the fair and equitable allocation of the budget of the then Department of Education, Culture and Sports particularly in the construction and repair of schools.

Similar bills concerning school building programs have been filed in Congress, such as Senate Bill No. 168 filed by Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., and House Bill No. 91 filed by Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara.

Controversy

An article published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on September 26, 2009 stated that after Tropical Storm Ondoy, the school building program was supposed to receive P3 billion from the government's P330-billion stimulus package on top of the P2-billion annual allotment for classroom construction. However, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus reported that only P500 million was released for the rehabilitation of schools damaged by natural calamities; the remaining P2.5 billion was still unreleased.

Lapus also added that the shortage was caused by the lack of funds allotted for the DepEd, since the budget of the DepEd has remained the same despite the increasing number of enrolled students every year. He lamented the fact that the P254-billion proposed budget of the DepEd was rejected, with only P172 billion awarded to the department, or P2 billion less than the previous year's budget.

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Citation

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