BAGUIO CITY- The Regional Project Monitoring Committee (RPMC) of the RDC found that the previously delayed school building projects under the Department of Education’s Basic Education Facilities Fund (BEFF) have been fast-tracked. DepEd-CAR reported that steps have been taken by both DepEd-CAR and its central office to address the delays of the school building projects discussed during the 1st Quarter RPMC meeting on February 26, 2019.

Previously, the RPMC noted that as of December 2018, 194 school building projects were completed, 115 school building projects were still ongoing, and only 9 of these projects are from the 2016 & 2017 funds. A total of 120 projects are in varying degrees of delayed status.

NEDA-CAR, as secretariat of the committee, cited several reasons for the delays like generally higher construction costs and lack of skilled manpower among contractors. According to DepEd CAR, however, the DepEd central office has lifted the “one nation, one design” restriction for 2018 BEFF projects in cases such as those in the Cordillera where the unique terrain naturally increases construction and transportation costs. Previously, the budget allocation per school building was standardized. DPWH-CAR provided a guideline that determines standard costs for construction materials depending on the specific districts in CAR to properly adapt to specific building site conditions.

The RPMC will continue to validate the findings in light of the information shared by DepEd. Nonetheless, the previous delays were caused, in part, by the inherent differences of the Cordillera region with the rest of the Philippines in terms of topography and cultural practices. Regional Line Agencies such as DepEd-CAR and DPWH-CAR have worked hard to provide communities with adequate education infrastructure despite the unique challenges in the Cordillera.