GMA News, 25 October 2013

Construction of 9,300 classrooms under the first phase of a public-private partnership (PPP) project of the Department of Education (DepEd) is likely to be completed by April next year, the top official of the state agency reviewing the flagship infrastructure program said Friday.

“That’s the target and contractors are expected to deliver,” Cosette Canilao, executive director of the PPP Center, said in an ambush interview in Bulacan province.,

The PPP for School Infrastructure Project (PSIP) Phase 1 involves the design, construction, maintenance, and financing of 9,300 classrooms in one and two-story buildings in Regions I, III and IV-A.

The 10-year contract under a build-lease-and transfer agreement also includes furniture, fixtures and toilets for 2,204 public elementary and secondary school.

The construction contract was bagged last year by two consortia: BF Corporation-Riverbanks Development Corporation, and Citicore Holdings Investment Inc.-Megawide Construction Corporation.

In a separate interview, Louie Ferrer, Megawide vice-president for Marketing and chief information officer, said some of the constructed classrooms were already being used by recipient-pupils.

On Friday, Megawide turned over 500 newly-built classrooms in Region 3 and 4-A to Education Secretary Armin Luistro.

“With the help of the private sector we are confident that we can deliver our commitment to public school students,” Luistro said.

According to the status report posted on the PPP website, construction of 3,200 classrooms has started, while notices to proceed for some 5,400 classrooms have been issued.

The PSIP was fielded in the PPP program two years ago to cut the public school system’s 66,800-classroom shortage as fast as possible.

Phase II of the PSIP – which aims to construct 10,679 more classrooms – was bagged by Megawide and Consortium of BSP & Co. Inc and Vicente T. Lao Construction this October. — DVM, GMA News