DBM releases P500 M to build new public schools for IPs in Mindanao

New public schools will now be built in various provinces in Regions IX to XIII to accommodate students from indigenous peoples' (IP) communities. The amount of P500 million was released to the Department of Education (DepEd) last week to implement the project "Establishment of New Public Schools for Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao: Classroom Component," according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

The project will construct 605 classrooms in 251 sites in the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, and Agusan del Norte.

An estimated 19,622 students will be served for School Year 2016-2017, according to DepEd. These students belong to the following groups of IPs: Subanen, Sama-Bajau, Higaonon, Matigsalog, Manobo, Talaandig, Tigwahanon, Umayamnon, Ata-Manobo, Bagobo, Blaan, Diangan, Dibabawon, Mandaya, Mansaka, Matigsalog, Tagakaolo, Tagabawa/Bagobo, Manobo-Dulangan, Tboli, Uvu Manobo, Banwaon, and Mamanwa.

The funds for the project were charged against the Contingent Fund for 2015 and approved by the President early this month. The project was proposed by DepEd last December 14, 2015.

DepEd said the project will employ members of the beneficiary communities to construct the classrooms within the implementation framework of the Kalahi-CIDSS National Community-Driven Development Program of the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD).

DepEd also said the average cost per classroom under the project is only P825,000 compared to its standard cost of P1.1 million following the standard DPWH design for a single story classroom with toilet. Instead of the standard DPWH design, however, the construction design of the classrooms will be based on indigenous architecture and local materials will be used.

Moreover, the lands on which the schools will be established are within the beneficiaries' ancestral domain. A contract of usufruct will be executed between the IP groups and DepEd for the use of the property for educational purposes.

Source: The Philippine Information Agency