DepEd seeks to penalize erring classroom contractors
THE Department of Education in Central Visayas (DepEd-7) wants to penalize contractors who won’t be able to finish the construction of school buildings on time.
DepEd-7 Regional Director Juliet Jeruta said that they already have a guideline for this, which serves as a measure to ensure that contractors will follow the deadline or schedule on project completion.
“We are implementing liquidation on damages upon completion of the project, wherein we penalized them through imposing fines based on the number of days on the delay of the project,” Jeruta said.
She added that they are closely monitoring with the existing school building projects, in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways in the region (DPWH-7), to ensure its efficiency.
Based on DepEd-7 data, 4,479 classrooms have been approved for construction since 2016. Of this number, however, only 329 classrooms have been completed, while the construction of some 2,322 classrooms still on hold.
The lack of space to build the new classrooms has been cited as the primary reason why these classrooms could not be built. However, the failure of the contractors to meet their schedules for completion likewise contributed to the delay.
Projects for over 400 classrooms have not been started while the funds for 56 classrooms projects in the region had reverted to the government’s coffers.
DepEd-7 Information Officer Amaryllis Villarmia, however, clarified that the department can only send reports to DPWH on the performance of contractors.
“Since the construction of these school buildings are initiated by DPWH, then they have the sole authority to implement sanction against erring contractors,” Villarmia said.
She clarified that DepEd can only bid out and award projects to contractors for the repair of damaged classrooms or school buildings.
“Depending on the gravity of their violations on the contract, we can terminate the project, impose liquidation damages and collect for reimbursement or blacklist those contractors,” she added.
Meanwhile, Villarmia also urged DepEd Division offices in Central Visayas and school heads, to strictly implement zoning on students.
She said that this is to identify students who are studying from other barangays, especially in urban areas.
“Since every barangay has an existing school, then students should enroll in the school within their barangay where they reside,” she said.
“But what is happening is that, they are going to enroll in schools from other barangay because this is where their parents want them to enroll, or because they have better training compared to the school in their barangay, so they become congested. But we have to consider as well those students who reside in that area,” Villarmia added.
Villarmia said that ever since, they have already implemented this measure in order to avoid congestion in public schools.
“But sometimes, parents get mad at us because we didn’t accept their child, (arguing) that public schools should be open to all. But I hope that they would also understand the situation,” she explained.
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