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Accelerating the Implementation of the DepEd School Building Program

Attached herewith is Aide Memoire dated June 02, 2020, from Alain Del B. Pascua, Undersecretary for Administration, DepEd Executive Committee, relative to Accelerating the Implementation of the School Building Program.


The School Building Program under Basic Educational Facilities Fund (BEFF) of the Department Education (DepEd) aims to address the classroom gaps in high priority schools nationwide. The BEFF was incorporated in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) starting 2013. Prior to this, the Department had two budget sources for the School Building Program – the Regular School Building Program (RSBP) in accordance with Republic Act 7880 (Equitable Access to Basic Education Law) and the School Building Program for Areas Experiencing Acute Classroom Shortage (Red and Black Schools in the Basic Education Information System).

Prior to BEFF, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) only implements the RSBP with an annual budget of Pl billion, 90% of which is implemented by DPWH and the remaining 10%, which is called the discretionary fund of the Secretary of Education, is implemented by DepEd. Likewise, starting 2005, the School Building Program for Areas Experiencing Acute Classroom Shortage was incorporated in the DepEd’s Budget where DepEd was in charge of its implementation until 2012. Table 1 below shows the summary of budgets implemented by both agencies from 2005-2012.

Table 1. Summary of Budgets Implemented by DPWH and DepEd from 2005-2012

Appropriation YearDPWHDepEd
RSBP (90%)RSBP (10%)Red and Black SBPTotal

In the implementation of the projects, both agencies adopted the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA No. 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act) except for the DepEd’s portion from 2005-2009 wherein the corresponding budget was utilized using the Principal-Led Scheme since the said budgets were applied under the National Program Support for Basic Education (NPSBE) Program under the World Bank.

In the 2013 GAA, the budget line item School Building for Areas Experiencing Acute Classroom Shortage was replaced by Basic Educational Facilities Fund (BEFF) and implementation of which were all transferred to DPWH. Since then, all budgets for classroom construction under the GAA were implemented by DPWH. Table 2 is the summary of budget provisions for BEFF Classroom Construction from 2013 to 2020.

Table 2. Summary of BEFF appropriations for School Building Program from 2013 to 2020.

Summary of BEFF appropriations for School Building Program from 2013 to 2020

Historical data on the annual budget provided by the national government under the annual General Appropriations Act showed an increasing budget from 2011-2020. Significant increase in the annual appropriations were made from 2014-2018 which shows that the School Building Program is a priority project of the government to improve the classroom situation in all schools nationwide. However, drastic reduction of budget from 2019-2020 were made attributed to the delays in the implementation of the program.

Addressing the Classroom Requirements

Requirements to Close Classroom Gap

Every year, school enrollment increases by a net average of 1.5% to 2%, this is equivalent to an addition of around 10,000 classroom requirements. With the current budget level for the School Building Program, closing the classroom gap remains a challenge for the Department.

Percentage Enrollment Increment based on BEIS Data (2010-2019)

Percentage Enrollment Increment based on BEIS Data (2010-2019)

Analysis of Classroom Requirements based on SY 2019-2020 Enrollment, 2019 National Building Inventory, remaining projects for completion from 2019-2020 and using the standard parameters, showed a total remaining requirement of 110,954 classrooms for 2021.

DepEd total remaining requirement of 110,954 classrooms for 2021.

Requirements Due to Needed Demolition and Replacement of Old and Dilapidated School Buildings

Aside from the remaining classroom requirements in each school, there are also existing school buildings where because of age and its condition which already poses danger to the students needs immediate replacement. In the 2019 National School Building Inventory, there are about 28,508 school buildings with 85,524 classrooms that are either subject for condemnation, or were already declared condemned and ready for demolition. Thus, this requirement will be on top of the gap that needs to be addressed. The table below shows the breakdown of requirements by region.

RegionTotal Buildings For CondemnationTotal Buildings Condemned or For DemolitionTotal Building for ReplacementTotal Equivalent Number of Classrooms
(a)(b)(c=a+b)(average 3 cl per building)
Region 194554814934,479
Region II72944711763,528
Region III1535118827238,169
Region IV-A17461956370211,106
Region IV-B5073878942,682
Region IX52263411563,468
Region V1061107121326,396
Region VI101174217535,259
Region VII97095219225,766
Region VIII62247010923,276
Region X21011512361310,839
Region XI1311115024617,383
Region XII98370116845,052
Grand Total15334131742850885,524

Requirements of Last Mile Schools

Last Mile Schools (LMS) are those schools that are neither part of the item (a) or item (b) discussed above. These are schools that are not within the standard parameters, and therefore in the low priority and are usually neglected due to remoteness of the schools. Thus, their school buildings are those usually made up of local indigenous materials that are not safe and conducive to learning. It is in this context that basic standard school facilities should also be provided in these schools to make them at par with other schools located within the urban center.

Based on the assessment reports submitted by field offices, there are 9,225 Last Mile Schools around the country. The objective is to provide at least 5 standard classrooms in these schools, thus, a total of 46,125 classrooms is required to be constructed for the last mile schools.

Why 5 classrooms? LMS usually have small number of learners and classes are usually multi-grade, so 7 grade levels and a library or equipment corner would already occupy 4 classrooms. The remaining room can now be used by the principal and teachers for other purposes.

School Building Accomplishments

Meanwhile, the table below shows the equivalent number of classrooms constructed on an annual basis based on the annual budget provisions from 2016-2020.

Official report of DPWH as of December 31, 2019 indicate the cumulative completion of 150,971 classrooms from January 2014-December 2019. Aside from this, there are 33,857 classrooms under construction and the DPWH has committed to complete these projects by the end of December 2020.

However, there are still about 1,278 classrooms that were not yet started, and these are projects with ongoing resolution of site issues. The DepEd has been working with DPWH on the resolution of the issues on these pending projects.

Organizational Outcomes/ Performance IndicatorsTargetCompletedOngoing ConstructionNot Yet StartedTotal
Output indicators
1.aNo. of New classroom (CL) constructed170,250138,72130,2511,278170,250
i.FY 2019 Fund4,6701804,0933974,670
iiFY 2018 Fund21,48810,32810,91924121,488
iiiFY 2017 Fund37,74527,27710,10736137,745
iv.FY 2016 Fund44,11839,0884,81921144,118
v.FY 2015 Fund33,04232,7482346033,042
vi.FY 2014 Fund29,18729,10079829,187
1.bNo. of New Technical Vocational Laboratory (TVL) constructed15,8S612,2503,60615,856
i.FY 2019 Fund85-8588
iiFY 2018 Fund7,1374,5772,5607,137
iiiFY 2017 Fund7,0296,1259047,029
iv.FY 2016 Fund1,1361,082541,136
v.FY 2015 Fund466466466
Grand Total186,106150,97133,8571,278186,106

Total Budgetary Requirements

Funding for the School Building Program classified as one of the crucial resources of the Department is vital in ensuring the continuous operation of the schools. Thus, this has been the major item being discussed every budget deliberation.

In this proposal, the Office of the Undersecretary for Administration (OUA) intends to package the school furniture and provision of renewable source of energy thru solar panels integrated in the building to be constructed. The components summarized below:

ComponentTechnical DescriptionUnit Cost
School Building7×9 Classroom, toilets and handwashing facilities2,500,000
School Furniture45 sets of one (1) seater Table and Chair and One Teacher’s Table and Chair116,500
Solar Panel System*Roof mounted Solar Panel System for provision of
renewable energy to one (1) 7×9 classroom
Total Cost of School Building Package (per Classroom)4,116,500

*Computation of Solar Panel requirements may differ depending on the type of school building to be constructed.

Taking off from the computed classroom requirements for 2021 and the as shown on the table above, the following proposal for funding the requirements is presented.

Baseline Requirements110,954245,603255,603
Requirement due to Enrolment Increment10,00010,000
School Buildings for
Condemnation/ Demolition
Provision of Standard School Buildings to LMS46,125
Cumulative Requirements245,603255,603265,603

Proposed Funding Strategy from 2021-2023

YearTotal Physical TargetsTotal Financial Requirements

If the goal is to solve the classroom shortage in three years’ time, then the total classroom shortage in 2021 should be divided into three to arrive at the annual budget from 2021 to 2023 with additional 10,000 classroom requirements for 2022 and 2023.

Strategic Plan to Address the Classroom Gaps

Construction of Medium Rise School Buildings

The Department has been planning for the construction of Medium Rise School Buildings. These are buildings consisting of 10-12 floors. This plan for vertical construction is an option for those areas where availability of land area is a problem and expansion of the school is limited vis-a -vis the school population.

To date, the Education Facilities Division (EFD) is working on the finalization of the proposed designs and standards for this type of building ensuring safety of the occupants and maximizing the functionality of the structure. Once approved for implementation by DPWH, this is targeted to be implemented starting 2021.

However, construction of medium rise school buildings will require a longer period of implementation and therefore the department is studying the possibility of implementing on a multi-year basis (MYCA).

Replacement of Old and Dilapidated School Buildings

Another strategy is the replacement of old and dilapidated school buildings aging 25 years or more. If this will be made, existing single- or two-story structures can be replaced by 10-12 floor buildings, thus maximizing the available buildable space of the schools.

However, the demolition of these structures shall conform with the requirements of the Commission of Audit (COA). Corresponding clearances like Demolition Permit must also be sought with the respective Engineering Offices of the Cities of Municipalities concerned.

Review Implementation Mechanisms and Absorptive Capacity of DPWH to Implement the Program

The School Building Program under the Basic Education Facilities Fund (BEFF) of the Department of Education (DepEd) is implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). This is in pursuant to the Infrastructure Law wherein all infrastructure projects of the government are mandated to be implemented by the latter being the infrastructure arm of the government. The implementation was also covered by a Joint Memorandum Circular between DepEd and DPWH and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) which was further revised on April 17, 2017.

Moreover, incorporated in the BEFF Budget is the Preliminary Detailed Engineering Funds (PDEF) which is being used by DPWH for its validation activities and the conduct of necessary soil testing activities and finalization of detailed engineering drawings. Likewise, an Engineering and Administrative Overhead (EAO) Funds is provided to support the monitoring of the projects during the actual construction process.

DPWH’s Implementation

In the initial implementation of the Classroom Construction under the Basic Education Facilities Fund in 2013, several problems arose due to poor coordination and lack of information dissemination at the field level. While the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) was already perfected, most at the field level were initially unaware of the JMC and implementation of the project. One of the problems was on the priority list given by DepEd to DPWH where no joint validation was made and therefore revalidation is necessary for DPWH to ascertain the recommendation of the DepEd Engineer. This activity resulted in the delay in the submission of the final list to DBM for issuance of SARO and implementation by DPWH. While this was already addressed in 2014, 2015, and 2016, reversions of some projects were still applied/recommended by DPWH to DepEd. The recommendation to revert the projects was either due to non-availability of buildable space or due to several failures of biddings because sites are hard to access. Table 3 is the summary of approved reversions. Reversion of projects was resorted to since requests received were beyond the cut-off date for realignment of projects as per special provision of the GAA. It will be noted that to date, a number of DPWH district offices are having problems regarding payments of some completed projects since they proceeded with the construction on the new sites without waiting for the approval of the realignment of projects.

In the succeeding years of implementation, improvements in coordination between DepEd and DPWH have minimized the occurrence of problems in the implementation of the projects. This was further strengthened starting 2016 when regular monthly coordination meetings were made at the Regional and Division levels while Inter-Agency Coordination Meetings took place at the Central Level.

Table 3. Summary of Reverted Projects

Grand Total22511491,671,611,269.34

With regard to the quality of construction, several findings of incomplete projects and those that were not complying with the set standards were reported by DepEd to DPWH. Through its Quality Assessment Unit (QAU), these issues were corrected by the concerned District Engineering Offices (DEOs). However, most of these projects required the provision of additional funds from the buffer funds in order to complete the structure.

DepEd’s Experience on Implementation

While most have questioned the capability of the DepEd to implement the School Building Program given that construction is not among its mandates, the Department have successfully implemented school building projects in the past both local and foreign assisted. Its implementation was anchored on Republic Act No. 9155 (Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001) where the essence of School Based Management was applied. School Based Management is the institutional expression of decentralization of education at the grassroots level. This gave birth to the “Principal-led Scheme” of School Building Construction where the school heads were tasked to be in charge of managing and supervising all construction/ repair works in the school with the technical assistance given by an engineer hired by the Central Office. Technical orientations and trainings were also given to them to equip them with sufficient knowledge on procurement and the understanding of basic construction methodologies and practices and financial management as well. The scheme provided greater sense of project ownership by the school

community (LGU, PTCA, etc.) which strengthened project monitoring and resulted to high integrity and quality of the completed project. The Principal-led Scheme was conceptualized and implemented under the Third Elementary Education Project (TEEP) which was later replicated under the Social Expenditure Management Program (SEMP), National Program Support for Basic Education (NPSBE), Support to Philippine Education Reforms (SPHERE) and School Building Program for Basic Education (SBP4BE). As evidence to the successful implementation of the Principal-led Scheme was the citation given by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) as “Best Practice Award” in 2008. Studies made by a third party like G-Watch of the Ateneo School of Governance also showed effectiveness of the program.

Although in 2010, the implementation of the Principal-led scheme have stopped and the regular manner of project implementation using RA9184 and the DepEd Regional and Division Offices were tasked to do the procurement, the School Heads were also involved in the process particularly in the monitoring of actual implementation of the construction/repair/rehabilitation in target schools. Specifically, for the Classroom Construction Initiative (CCI) projects of DFAT (AusAid), technical trainings on effective monitoring of construction projects were given to school heads of target schools. Manuals and monitoring tools were also developed and disseminated for their use.

NEDA Regional Development Councils’ Recommendations

The NEDA Regional Development Councils (RDCs) have recognized the delays in the implementation of the program, in the various resolutions submitted by various RDCs to the Department, recommendations were made to explore other possible means to fast track the implementation of the program. Relative to this, the Department has identified possible assistance of the Local Government Units (LGUs) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

DepEd Recommendations to Accelerate the Implementation of the School Building Program

In view of the directives from the Senate and the House of Representatives, including the endorsements of NEDA RDCs, for the Department to explore other possible schemes in the implementation of the School Building Program, the following are the recommendations:

Implementation by DPWH thru Regular Contracting Scheme

The DPWH will still implement the School Building Program specifically those complex structures like the multi-storey school buildings. The proposal will provide much focus to DPWH on schools located in urban areas and on the construction of multi-storey buildings (3 storeys and above) which will require further studies or in-depth detailed engineering designs requirements prior to implementation.

Implementation by DepEd thru Regular Contracting Scheme

Given the experience of DepEd in the implementation of construction projects in schools, it is recommended that portion of the School Building Program be implemented by DepEd particularly single up to two storey buildings. These types of school buildings are simple structures and may not require special designs unlike multi storey structures.

Implementation by Other Government Agencies thru Memorandum of Agreements

Another possible scheme in the implementation of the program is through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Local Government Units (LGUs) who have the capability to implement the program in difficult areas based on the assessment and evaluation that will be made by DepEd. Partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Engineering Battalion) may also be explored to take over the construction of school buildings particularly in areas with insurgency or peace and order problem. The AFP has previously implemented this through the PAM ANA and Schools for School-less Barangays programs.

Implementation thru Public-Private Partnership

The Public-Private School Infrastructure Project (PSIP) was one of the flagship projects of the Department in the past administration. It aimed to address the classroom gap by adopting the Build Lease Transfer (Phase 1) and the Turn Key (Phase 2) approaches under this mode of implementation. While the implementation of this program was hampered due to several contractual issues, the Department is still open to implement another PPP project anchoring through the experiences gained from the implementation of first two phases of the program.

Use of Alternative Materials to Fast Track Construction

One proposal to fast track the implementation of the program is to do away with the conventional method of constructing school buildings and introduce new materials that are faster to assemble or construct. However, this is based on the premise that these new materials of technology will still comply with the Minimum Performance and Standard Specifications (MPSS) of School Buildings.

Summary Recommendation

To solve the classroom shortage and have zero backlog by 2023, the School Building Program budget for 2021 should start at P337,009,622,000.

Congress should also allot P378,174,622,000 for 2022, and another P378,174,622,000 for 2023.

Moreover, the various implementation schemes recommended above must be allowed to have faster and more efficient implementation of the program.



Mark Anthony Llego

Mark Anthony Llego, hailing from the Philippines, has made a profound impact on the teaching profession by enabling thousands of teachers nationwide to access crucial information and engage in meaningful exchanges of ideas. His contributions have significantly enhanced their instructional and supervisory capabilities, elevating the quality of education in the Philippines. Beyond his domestic influence, Mark's insightful articles on teaching have garnered international recognition, being featured on highly respected educational websites in the United States. As an agent of change, he continues to empower teachers, both locally and internationally, to excel in their roles and make a lasting difference in the lives of their students, serving as a shining example of the transformative power of knowledge-sharing and collaboration within the teaching community.

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