President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the simultaneous inauguration Thursday of newly constructed school buildings in Bulacan and Valenzuela City, reiterating his commitment to provide quality education to future generations of Filipinos.
Speaking before educators and government officials in Bgy. Sta. Ana, Bulakan, Bulacan, President Duterte said he was pleased to be part of the inauguration rites of the school buildings at General Gregorio del Pilar Integrated School and Virginia Ramirez-Cruz High School.
The investment in educational infrastructure affirms the administration’s continuing commitment to promote the right of the people to quality and accessible education at all levels, the President said.
“I thank the local government for their support. I assure you that the government is exerting all efforts to go full throttle in this the COVID-19 Vaccination Program to ensure the safety of students before the resumption of the face-to-face learning,” he stressed.
“I truly appreciate the patience and understanding of the learners, the parents and teachers in your locality. We are hopeful that these newly-built classrooms will provide a more conducive learning environment even as we cope with the new normal.”
A good education, he said, is a valuable gift that the present generation can proudly pass on to succeeding generations of Filipinos.
“Let us join hands in developing the full potential of your youth as bearers of our nation’s sustainable future,” he noted.
President Duterte recognized the important role of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the local government in the planning and construction of the new school buildings.
The collective efforts of the LGU and these departments have been crucial in creating a more conducive, inclusive and resilient learning environment for Filipino students of Bulacan, he said.
Inaugurated Thursday were three school buildings at General Gregorio del Pilar Integrated School and four new buildings at Virginia Ramirez-Cruz High School.
After his event in Bulacan, President Duterte went to Valenzuela City to lead similar inauguration rites.
In his speech in Valenzuela City, he said providing quality education to all Filipinos is one of his administration’s top priorities in its development agenda.
This is evidenced by huge allocation given to the education department in the government’s annual budget compared to other departments, according to the President.
“When I ran in 2016, I promised our people that by the end of my term we would have built conducive, inclusive and resilient learning environments for our students,” he recalled.
But as the coronavirus pandemic swept the world, he said the realization of that vision became more complex as the challenges brought by COVID-19 to the country’s education systems became more difficult to surmount, particularly as the Philippine society transitions under the new normal.
Prior to the pandemic, President Duterte said he was planning to raise teacher’s salaries after the government increased the wages of soldiers and policemen.
“Now, when COVID came, bagsak talaga ang ekonomiya. Sarado ang mga factories, manufacturing whatever kasi takot nga eh. There was a lockdown,” he explained.
“And between the economy and the health of the people with the pandemic whirling around, I thought it wise to cast my lot with the interest of the people in their health. Kaya ho nagkaganoon.”
Forty-four new classrooms were built in Lawang Bato National High School while 16 new classrooms were constructed in Canumay East National High School.
The new school facilities are expected to mostly cater to the children of Valenzuela City’s factory workers.
City officials consider the completion of the new facilities as President Duterte’s enduring legacy, which they said, would boost the education profile of Valenzuela City.