Salceda says classrooms in DepEd plan overpricedBy Gil C. Cabacungan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The cost of classrooms to be built by private contractors under a public-private partnership program (PPP) of the Department of Education (DepEd) is double that of the cost pegged by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), according to Albay Gov. Joey Salceda.
Salceda said while DepEd pegged the cost of a classroom at P685,000, private contractors would build one classroom for P1.7 million under the DepEd PPP.
Salceda described this as an “indecent return” for select private contractors for a program which the government could have easily implemented itself.
“When it is the private sector doing it and call it PPP, P1,774,194 per classroom is just okay?” said Salceda, an economist who made his fortune in the stock market.
“I thought they would built it at a cheaper cost,” he said. Salceda made the remarks after Education Secretary Armin Luistro announced the awarding of contracts next month for the P16.5 billion PPP School Infrastructure Project (PSIP) which aims to build 9,300 classrooms.
Salceda said the Albay government entered into a similar partnership with the DepEd last year with 176 classrooms built at an average price of P500,000 each. He said Albay and other local government units could build classrooms at costs closer to the DPWH suggested price of P685,000 each.
Salceda said private contractors stood to gain between 33.35 percent to 65.3 percent in profits in building classrooms.
“That is quite an indecent return that is only deserved by a new patented technological discovery like hologram-controlled iPhone,” said Salceda.
“The public welfare is better served if the government just built and borrowed (money for construction) at 6 percent for 10 years,” he said.
The public-private classroom construction program of DepEd, said Salceda, “rests too much faith in the corporate sector and assumes that the rest of us are naive enough to fall for it.”