Aquino releases P1B to repair state schools
MANILA, Philippines—President Aquino has given the go signal for the release of nearly P1 billion in funds to repair state universities and colleges (SUCs) damaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda in November last year and other recent disasters, according to Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo, chair of the House committee on higher and technical education.
Romulo said he had the letter from Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad signifying the President’s approval to release the funds.
“A total of P987.3 million is being made available to the 35 SUCs whose reproducible assets such as buildings were impaired or destroyed by calamities in 2013,” Romulo said in a statement.
The order to release the funds came just as classes were about to start, which means some students would return to damaged facilities and would have to wait for repairs to be completed.
Earlier, Sen. Francis Escudero expressed frustration that much of the huge amount that Congress had allocated for various rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts remained unreleased and unused.
The Commission on Higher Education submitted the fund request for the school repairs to the Department of Budget Management (DBM) in March, in the hope they could begin repairs in the summer before classes resume. It was told that budget officials were waiting for the guidelines for the fund release.
The Philippine Statistics Authority also reported that national economic growth went below 6 percent for the first time in nine quarters because of slower-than-expected government spending.
“These 19 SUCs damaged by Yolanda alone support the schooling of more than 157,000 students, so we really have to help them fully rebuild their facilities and services as soon as possible,” Escudero said.
Other SUCs were destroyed in 2013 when a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Bohol and nearby provinces, and when rebel forces laid siege to Zamboanga City.
The affected SUCs were located in eight regions—Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninusla, Northern Mindanao and Caraga.
Romulo said the SUCs damaged by Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) were Eastern Samar State University (Borongan City), Eastern Visayas State University (Tacloban City), Visayas State University (Baybay City), Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College (Estancia, Iloilo), Capiz State University (Roxas City);
University of the Philippines-Manila School of Health Sciences (Palo, Leyte), Romblon State University (Odiongan, Romblon), Palompon Institute of Technology (Palompon, Leyte), University of Antique (Sibalom, Antique), Aklan State University (Banga, Aklan), Iloilo State University of Science and Technology (Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo), Western Visayas College of Science and Technology (Iloilo City);
Cebu Normal University (Medellin, Cebu), Cebu Technological University (Bantayan and Camotes Islands, Cebu), Leyte Normal University (Tacloban), Naval State University (Naval, Biliran), UP-Visayas Tacloban College (Tacloban); Samar State University (Catbalogan City); and Southern Leyte State University (Sogod, Southern Leyte).
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