Aquino lauds Pagcor for spending billions to build public school buildings
CEBU CITY, Philippines – From P1 billion worth of coffee to public school buildings.
President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday lauded the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) for spending billions of pesos in school buildings in the country.
One of these was the school building worth P42 million for Guadalupe Elementary School in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City.
President Aquino led the turnover of the school building on Thursday afternoon.
In his speech, Mr. Aquino could not help but compare the Pagcor during the Arroyo administration and the Pagcor under his administration.
“P1 billion divided by P40 million for each classroom? The calculator says 25,” he said.
“Ibig sabihin po, 25 ganitong klaseng school buildings ang puwede pang pakinabangan ng ating kabataan kung inilagay dito imbis na sa kapeng hindi natin alam kung may uminom. (This means 25 school buildings of this kind which our youth could use if the funds were allocated here instead of the purchase of coffee when we did not even know if someone was drinking it),” he said.
“Tama ho ba? Iyon ho ang Daang Matuwid. Kayo na po ang humusga kung anong mas importante school buildings o kape? (Is this correct? That is the straight path. You will be the judge which is more important—school buildings or coffee)” he added.
During his State of the Nation Address (Sona) in 2011, President Aquino dropped a bombshell and exposed the purchase of P1-billion worth of coffee to perk up casino patrons in the span of 10 years.
The contract was bagged by a single company, which was owned by wife of a businessman who had ties with then Pagcor chief Efraim Genuino.
President Aquino said that under the administration of Pagcor chair and chief executive officer Cristino Naguiat Jr., at least P12 billion in Pagcor funds had been spent in education including the construction of new school buildings.
Before the turnover, President Aquino first inspected the four-story 20-classroom school building in Guadalupe.
Joining him were Secretaries Armin Luistro of Education and Rogelio Singson of Public Works and Highways as well as allies Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III and former mayor Tomas Osmeña.
Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, who belongs to the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, was in Manila.
After inspecting the building, President Aquino turned over the keys of the classrooms to Dr. Nestor Arandia, principal of the Guadalupe Elementary School.
In a statement, Pagcor said their “Matuwid na Daan sa Silid-Aralan” project has already built 2,221 classrooms in 448 sites all over the country.
At least 1,841 classrooms in 279 sites were still under construction while another 1,065 classrooms in 94 sites were still undergoing procurement.
Mr. Aquino also did not fail to endorse his candidates for president and vice president – Mar Roxas and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo in his speech.
“Klaro po, malaki na talaga ang pinagkaiba ng ngayon sa nakaraan (It’s clear. There’s a big difference now and in the past),” Mr. Aquino said.
“Malinaw na malinaw po kung saan tayo dinadala ng Daang Matuwid. Kung tama itong landas na binabagtas natin, matanong ko lang po: Bakit naman natin ito ihihinto, o ililihis sa ibang direksyon?” (It is very clear where the straight path is leading us. If we are on the right path, my question is why will we stop or change direction),” he added.
Mr. Aquino stressed that only Roxas and Robredo could continue the gains of his administration. TVJ
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