Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp to spend P2B in classrooms
MANILA, Philippines – At least P2 billion in additional grant has been allocated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) for the construction of at least 2,000 classrooms in public schools this year.
And with savings earned from tight spending, good governance and increasing revenues, Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Cristino Naguiat Jr. said they would give the Department of Education (DepEd) another P2 billion next school year.
Naguiat said with DepEd set to solve the classroom shortage in public schools through the construction of about 66,800 classrooms by the end of the year, the P2 billion would be possibly earmarked for the construction of computer laboratories in all public elementary schools.
“We’re still studying it with DepEd. We’re creating a committee for this,” Naguiat told The STAR in a press conference yesterday at the Pagcor Hyatt office in Manila.
“And we would like to have a computer lab in all public elementary schools nationwide. We’re still studying this, we don’t know yet how… and of course, we have to get the approval of the President on this project,” he added.
The Pagcor chief said Education Secretary Armin Luistro told him the classroom shortage would be addressed this year, and that they are still discussing matters on how to move forward, how to develop the public schools.
Earlier, Pagcor initially provided a P1 billion for the construction of 900 classrooms and 100 Gawad Kalinga (GK) learning centers when the project was launched in 2011.
Naguiat said the state gaming agency would continue to “provide funds to help address the acute deficiency in classrooms and school buildings nationwide.”
“In coordination with DepEd, we will continue to oversee the project to ensure that construction is on time and follows the agreed quality standards we have set. We only want the best for the country’s future leaders,” he said, adding the additional grant this year came from the agency’s revenues.
Pagcor and DepEd are tapping DPWH’s technical expertise in building infrastructures. The DPWH will primarily handle the structural, legal and documentary requirements for the construction of the classrooms and school buildings.
In 2012, DepEd reported a total shortage of 50,921 classrooms in government-subsidized schools nationwide.
Based on DepEd’s latest status report as of April 3, a total of 171 classrooms in 34 sites nationwide have been completed under the initial P1 billion funding from Pagcor.
“These classrooms are now being used by public school students from different provinces like Tarlac, Pangasinan, Rizal, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboaga del Norte, among others. We also have 625 classrooms in 101 sites under construction while 24 are under procurement,” Naguiat said.
Of the initial P1 billion fund, Pagcor allocated P65 million for building 100 learning centers in communities nationwide where GK serves.
“To date we have completed 50 Sibol Kindergarten classrooms catering to the needs of hundreds of pre-school children. These Sibol Kindergarten classrooms are located in Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Antique, Negros Oriental and Occidental, Cebu, Leyte, Eastern Samar, Southern Leyte, Surigao del Sur and Davao City,” he said.