Felix ‘Boy” Espineda, Jr., BicolToday.com
The grant of the pre-requisite resolution of the Sorsogon provincial board last Monday was a signal that the first 100 million peso loan tranche will be utilize anytime by the administration of Governor Raul Lee. It was made possible by the urgent letter request of the governor address to VG Kruni Escudero, Jr. requesting the passage of the resolution which was a requisite prior release of the loan by the government bank.
Reviewing the list of projects one may note that the not a single project of expenditure was allocated for the construction or repair of public school classrooms which is also an urgent need of the province considering its shortages. One may also point out that the thrust of DepEd by way of co-opting with local government units per their agreement with the League of Province’s and Cities was never considered. How the provincial leadership in its planning program prioritized the projects to be funded out of the 350 million peso bank loan. There is also a sour note to this for even the previous 260 million loan transacted in 2009 by the previous provincial leadership gave a miniscule amount to upend the shortage of the public school classrooms province wide. I can’t see no reason why public schools be left out and was not prioritized. Why not support it instead?
It seems that in the prioritization of projects to be funded out of the loan are farm to market roads, concreting, re-channeling/dredging of rivers and others which are prone to malpractice in terms of programming and awarding of contracts. Not a single repair or renovation for public school classroom was included in the list of projects of the said loan. Arguing perhaps that there is also the Special Education Fund that will fund such repair or even a construction of a school building and it is also within the expense class of the 2012 provincial budget, yet it could have been more discerning if at least few millions be spent out of the loan for the construction of public school classrooms. If a lump sum appropriation for tourism promotion amounting to 50 million pesos is top, go ahead, but why left out the education portfolio? As if this is a bandwagon. The preceding 260 million loan also carried a lump sum appropriation of 15 million for management information system? What is its status now? Are this attributable to the facts that lump sum appropriations can be played out to the favored political allies?
If all are included in the Annual Investment Program CY 2012, well and good but how many areas to be funded are left out in the investment plan, the AIP can be re-program to suit not the urgent development needs but to the expense behavior of where the money is.
Education is suffering in the province, the general welfare of public school students sags deeper in a mud hole of negligence not because of ineptitude of DepEd personnel but for the lack of recourse of other government officials who can deliver the needed goods to break the shortages of public school classrooms. Is it because that in a vertical projects less is earned while that in the horizontal works more are pocketed?
Sad state for all of here.
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