DepEd, DBM, LPP forge counterpart program to build schools nationwide

PILI, Camarines Sur —  An executive session of the heads of the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the League of Provinces of the Philippines held Thursday, Feb. 3, reviewed and signed for implementation a counterpart financing scheme to build school buildings in local government units with classroom shortages nationwide.

Dubbed the Counter-Parting Program, the novel and innovative project is actually a cost-sharing brainchild of LPP Executive Vice President CamSur Governor LRay Villafuerte whereby participating LPP members shall share cost of building new classrooms particularly in many areas experiencing acute dearth of classrooms.

It will be recalled that after Villafuerte assumed his third and final term and was elected EVP of the LPP, he called on President Benigno Aquino Jr. and presented the concept of a counterpart  arrangement for the national government and LGUs to forge collaborative endeavors to address national concerns.

The Counter-Parting Program is a direct off-shoot of that presentation and a proposal initiated by Villafuerte at the LPP level, for which he was specifically cited for his initiative and innovative approach to local governance by the President in his very first State of the National Address (SONA).

Under the program, participating LGUs may provide the initial 50 percent of cost of construction of school buildings from their Special Education Fund (SEF), Local Development Fund (LDG), Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) or other internal sources, and after completion of the initial phase the national government will contribute the remaining cost from regular educational allocations of the national budget.

The formal signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) establishing the framework and mechanics of the Counter-Parting Program was held at the DepEd central office in Pasig City with the principal agencies represented by DepEd Secretary Bro. Armin A. Luistro FSC, DBM Secretary Florencio B. Abad and LPP President Governor Alfonso V. Umali, witnessed by other major supporters of the program led by Governor Villafuerte.

The program will be initially implemented in 20 pilot provinces including Camarines Sur.

Villafuerte’s participatory financing scheme was very well met even from its inception because of its far-ranging affectivity and application that could be applied not only for schools but also for infrastructure, health, agriculture and other national concerns. –GBClaveria

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