By Wilson Villones
CARDONA, Rizal – Catalino Salazar National High School waited for three years, but this October, the much-needed repairs for its classrooms will finally begin. The school, located in an island community in Subay, Cardona, Rizal, had been on queue for repairs since 2013. Checkmyschool (CMS) found out last April 13 that classroom repairs for Catalino Salazar were among the projects identified in the first round of the government’s Bottom Up Budgeting process or BUB.
BUB is a strategy initiated by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in 2012 and was first implemented for the 2013 budget year. Under the BUB, Local Poverty Reduction Action Teams (LPRAT), made up of representatives from the local government, civil society, and basic sectors, were formed. Their task is to identify “priority poverty reduction projects” for their community and submit the list for inclusion in the national budget.
Despite being included in the list of priority projects in BUB’s pilot year, classrooms in Catalino Salazar saw no improvements in 2013 or the years after it. The LPRAT in Cardona likewise did not receive any report on the status of the project. Implementation of school repair projects in BUB is lodged under the Department of Education (DepEd) in coordination with the local government. Marlito Cruz of DepEd Division Office in Rizal said the division was not able to proceed with any 2013 or 2014 BUB project because of the lack of Special Allotment Release Orders (SARO) from the DBM. The SARO is a document necessary for the release of funds for the projects.
Upon checking with the DepEd Central Office, Checkmyschool also found out that Catalino Salazar had an allotment of Php 500,000 under the agency’s regular repair program for 2013 and another Php 1.25 million for 2015. But, the 2013 repairs did not push through because the school was not in the agency’s priority list, according to Engr. Ritchie Lagunda, a monitoring official of DepEd. CMS followed up on the implementation of the project under the 2015 allocation. On June 13, it received confirmation that the long wait for Catalino Salazar will soon be over. Lagunda said that the bidding was done and a contractor was already selected. The classroom repairs are set to begin in October this year.
Edited by Charmaine Lirio