March 28, 2007
Letter to the Editor:
Education Department Secretary Jesli Lapus seems to be hallucinating
for blaming the country’s population as the one causing the shortage
of classrooms in the country.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her minions are beginning to
sound alike. First it was the Palace Queen who put the blame on the
citizen’s luxuries and ordered a control on using short message
sending or texts and cigarette smoking to avoid experiencing hunger.
Now, one of her minions in the guise of Secretary Lapus presented to
us a very (il)logical reason why the country insufficient number of
Let’s start with facts. The government, according to a UNESCO study,
should be spending 6% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for
education. But the government measly appropriates 3%.
The Department of Education admitted that 45,775 classrooms are
lacking (assuming a ratio of 45 students to one classroom). But
according to the President, the budget is now ready to provide 14,000
classrooms this year. Will that answer the lack of classrooms? No. A
bulk of 31, 775 would still be needed.
And besides, Lapus said “every minute, four babies are born. It’s like
every 10 minutes, I’m short one classroom.”
Now, Lapus is blaming the high birth rate as the cause of classrooms
scarcity. Why? It’s simple. Because he, along with other lapdogs of
the palace, has been tasked to cover their boss’ incapacity and lack
of sincerity to save this country.
Lack of classroom did not stem from overpopulation. It started when
the state began misallocating the national budget, which could have
answered the needs of basic social services like education, in order
to religiously succumb to World Bank and other “generous” foreign
Apparently this government has no balls yet to repeal former Pres.
Ferdinand Marcos’ Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1177 which provides for
automatic appropriations of tax revenues for debt service, and former
Pres. Corazon Aquino’s Executive Order (EO) 292, which instituted
Section 26 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987 providing
automatic appropriation of principal and interest on public debt.
If the government is sincere in addressing the education crisis it
could have done so by not overfeeding the pork barrel of the
administration-led House of Representatives.
It could have done so by not making it appear that the budget for
State Universities and Colleges are P34 billion short compared to the
budget of the Department of National Defense.
It could have done so by assuming political will to impose a cap on
debt servicing and start prioritizing the people’s welfare.
Unfortunately they need more money for their political survival.
Mr. Lapus should start thinking about it.
KARLA HYASMIND APAT
Vice President for Mindanao