September 16, 2021 – The Department of Education (DepEd) inaugurated 339 newly constructed school buildings and 98 restored Gabaldon Schoolhouses nationwide this week ahead of the opening of School Year 2021-2022.

“Although the conduct of face-to-face classes is not yet allowed, these newly-installed classrooms will be instrumental in our mission to address classroom shortage in the long run,” Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.

The Department installed 339 newly completed school building projects equivalent to 2,040 classrooms and restored 98 Gabaldon School Buildings in various regions, including seven newly-constructed division offices. DepEd also repaired and improved five existing Division offices in Regions 6, 8, 10, and 11 as part of the Department’s School Building Program, in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH),

“Sana makita ninyo ang malaking pagbabagong ito sa school houses. Ang iba ay nasa siyudad, ang iba ay nasa malalayong lugar, ang iba ay nasa probinsiya— iisa ang design, resistant to the strong winds, malinis at kaaya-aya,” Secretary Briones said.

The simultaneous ceremonial turnover of school buildings were conducted at Kalinga, Apayao, and Baguio, Benguet in Cordillera Administrative Region, Naval and Biliran in Biliran, Dipolog, Zamboanga Del Norte, and Ormoc City, Leyte on Wednesday.

Furthermore, DepEd launched the Last Mile Schools Development Program (LMSP) as the Department recognizes the need to prioritize the development of schools in Geographically Isolated, Disadvantaged and Conflict-Affected areas (GIDCA).

“The Last Mile Schools Development Program primarily seeks to bridge the gap in schools that have not reached the allocation criteria for education inputs. These schools also lack electrical connections, school furniture, and learning materials which hamper the optimum learning experience of the students,” Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua shared.

In line with this, a Ceremonial Groundbreaking Ceremony was conducted at Sitog National High School, one of the Last Mile Schools located at Dabiak, Katipunan, Zamboanga Del Norte, where they received two units of one-story, two classroom buildings. Other beneficiaries of LMSP are Leyte, Surigao Del Sur, Samar, Tabuk, Abra, Biliran, Southern Leyte, Quezon Province, and Kalinga.

“For 2020-2021, different Bureaus, Services, and Schools Divisions are working together in directing various programs, projects, and activities to address the needs of these disadvantaged public schools and learners,” Usec. Pascua shared.