City’s education investment reaches P940.24 million PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 14:35

The City Government’s education investment has reached P940.24 million from 2007 to May 31, 2012, proof that the present administration is committed and steadfast in its resolve to help the education sector.

Through Mayor Celso Lobregat’s initiative, the city government considers education a high priority as the Department of Education (DEPED) cannot sufficiently provide for the maintenance and operation expenditures specifically the school building program of the different schools in the country.

“As we all know the priority responsibility of public education is lodged with the Department of Education which receives the biggest budget from the national government. Yet, almost 90% of that budget goes to the payment of teachers’ salaries, allowances, benefits and the like”, the mayor elaborated.

With very little left for maintenance and operation expenditures, most public schools in the country face acute shortage of classrooms, school desks, teachers and books, he said. “And if we will wait for DEPED, the problem will get worse and we will be waiting forever for almost nothing”.

The city’s investment covers the construction and repair of school buildings, fences, comfort rooms, stage facilities, covered courts and other education-related projects in public schools in the city. “This is why, our administration, because of sound fiscal management, is taking the cudgels to ensure quality education for our young people.”

Very prominent in the city’s education projects is the enormous school buildings constructed or repaired to tackle the classroom shortage issue. Since 2007, scores of buildings have been undertaken and due to space limitation in huge school campuses, the school building program has gone much bigger and higher. These include the 3-storey 15 classroom building at the Zamboanga City High School-West; the 3-storey 21 classroom building at the Talon-talon Elementary School; the 3-storey 23 classroom building at the Tugbungan Elementary School and the soon to be inaugurated 3-storey 27 classroom building amounting to P22.4 million at the Zamboanga City High School-main.

Not only public elementary and secondary schools benefit from the city’s massive school building program but also higher institutions. Today, the city government will unveil and turn over a 17-door apartment-type dormitory complex at the Zamboanga City State College of Marine Sciences and Technology.

Bidding for a modern multi-purpose building to replace the old and dilapidated gymnasium at the Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College is also under process.

Aside from the school building and other infrastructure program, the city government also helps the education sector in other forms such as the opening of new schools to make education accessible to all children; hiring of teachers through the Local School Board; granting of allowances to teachers; donation of computer units, chairs and desks and even the conduct of literacy and skills trainings and the production of chabacano workbooks to assist in DEPED’s mother-tongue program and at the same time to pursue the city’s advocacy to preserve and propagate the chabacano language.

Mayor Lobregat shared the city’s best practices in education during a focus group discussion on Education for All Assessment and Catch Up Plan organized by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO-INNOTECH) for educators in Zamboanga Peninsula and the Autonomous Region recently.

The mayor said the city’s education investment will reach over P1 billion by 2013.  — Sheila Covarrubias