By Danny O. Calleja, Connie B. Destura and Cherry Acabado (OJT)
LEGAZPI CITY, 2June 2013 – At least 1.6 million students will flock to the region’s public elementary and high schools this coming opening of regular classes on June 3, according to the Department of Education.
Jose B. Bonto, chief administrative officer of the DepEd regional office, said this total number of students expected to return to schools are broken down as follows: kindergarten, 161,084; elementary, 1,042,990, and high school, 409,299.
The Bicol region has 13 schools divisions – – six provincial and seven city.
Camarines Sur has the most number of expected students at 452,324, while Catanduanes has 75,915, the lowest.
Among the cities, Naga City has the highest number of expected students at 45,321 while Iriga City, the least, has only 26,222.
Surprisingly, Sorsogon City is tailing Naga City at 43,645 while Legazpi City is third at 41,497.
To cope up with this number of students coming to public schools in the region, Department of Public Works and Highways regional director Danilo Dequito has announced the completion of the construction across the region of 73 new school buildings with a total of 98 classrooms.
The construction of the buildings where funded with P48.2 million under the DepEd CY 2012 RSBP (Regular School Buildings Program).
Of this amount, some P9.2 million have been assigned to Albay where 16 classroom projects have been completed in the municipalities of Tiwi, Malilipot, Bacacay, Camalig, Rapu-rapu, Libon, Oas, Pio Duran, Guinobatan and the cities of Tabaco and Ligao, according to Dequito.
Camarines Sur, he said, got P16 million in 2012 for 30 school building projects, distributed among the five congressional districts of the province — including the cities of Naga and Iriga.
In Camarines Norte, implemented projects amounting to P4.6 million included five schools covering eight classrooms while in Catanduanes, an amount of P1.8 million was used to fund the construction of four classrooms.
For Masbate, 25 classrooms were completed as early as last January for P9 million, distributed among the island-province’s three congressional districts while Sorsogon province got a total of P7.2 million for 13 classrooms.
“The government is really bent on addressing the shortage of classrooms in the country now estimated at 66,000 that is why there is an undeniable increase in the budget and hopefully, more on the coming years,” Dequito said.
After putting in place these 98 new classrooms that are now ready for occupancy in time with the Monday opening of regular classes, the regional offices of the DepEd and the DPWH here are now again preparing works for hundreds more of new classrooms in the region.
“We have a fresh allocation worth some P629.2 million for the construction of 865 new classrooms in Bicol under the Basic Education Facilities Fund for 2013 of the Department of Budget and Management,” DepEd program supervisor Casiano Pendegones Jr. said.
These projects, whose implementations are currently in procurement stage, fall under the RSBP for calendar year 2013 of the DepEd.
Completion of construction works is expected within the year.
These 865 classrooms are to be distributed in six provinces and four of its seven cities of Bicol with Camarines Sur getting the most number with 267 followed by Masbate province, 212; Sorsogon province, 163; Camarines Norte, 75; Albay, 69; Catanduanes, 33; Sorsogon City 13; Naga City 12; Masbate City, 11 and; Iriga City 10.
On top of the 865 new classrooms targeted for completion in Bicol this year, Dequito said his office is also monitoring the construction of 28 school building projects totaling 60 classrooms being implemented through the sponsorship of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. under its Operation Barrio School Program.
A clean and green environment is ready to meet the 1.6 million students at Monday’s opening of classes with the successful implementation of the Brigada Eskwela 2013, according to Bonto.
The project, which ran from May 20 to May 25, was a nationwide voluntary effort of teachers and school heads–together with parents and the local community stakeholders.
It is also a school maintenance program that engages all education stakeholders to contribute their time, effort, and resources in ensuring that public school facilities are set in time for the forthcoming school opening, Bonto said.
Schools division offices were encouraged to synchronize with the conduct of Brigada Eskwela 2013 the implementation of EO No. 26, s. 2011 (The National Greening Program), which involves intensification of Gulayan sa Paaralan, seedling production, and tree-planting activities to ensure maximum impact of these two support programs initiated by the DepEd. (PNA)