Aiming to ensure the delivery of new furniture to schools in Mindanao in time for the next academic year, a civil society group will help keep an eye on the process, the Department of Education (DepEd) said on Friday.
The DepEd has promised to solve the furniture shortage in Mindanao schools in time for the new school year in June.
To ensure that the shortage will be dealt with, the nonprofit group Procurement Watch Inc. is launching Bantay Eskuwela in Mindanao, which will tap communities to monitor furniture deliveries by the DepEd and its contractors to 185 schools in the region.
The DepEd said the program, introduced in Metro Manila in 2009, would be launched in schools on Samal Island, in Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Compostela Valley.
The program’s introduction in Mindanao expands its scope outside the pilot sites, including Bulacan, Tagbilaran City, Ilocos Norte, Quezon City and Rizal province, the DepEd said. The program was initially launched with help from the Australian Agency for International Development.
“We are very pleased with the assistance provided by private and civil society organizations in ensuring that our schools will get their much needed resources in good quality and on time,” Education Secretary Armin Luistro said in a statement.
“This is a critical measure and one that we cannot do on our own as we continue to fill resource gaps in the public school system,” Luistro added.
Under the program, Bantay Eskuwela will work with the DepEd in monitoring whether contractors are delivering the furniture “at the right time, with the right quantity and of the right quality based on DepEd specifications.”
“This new initiative will highlight the importance and success of using school-based monitors in achieving value for money and transparency adopting a participatory approach and monitoring the procurement of school arm chairs and also school buildings,” the DepEd said.
Bantay Eskuwela will enlist at least 250 volunteers from the school communities for the monitoring effort.
“Even if I don’t have money, I give my time to Bantay Eskwela,” Yoyong Villegas, a longtime volunteer, said in a statement. “We can’t count on [the] government to do everything. It doesn’t have enough money or people. We have to help.”