A Story of Public-Private Partnership
In Tarlac City, 139 kilometers north of Manila, students from the San Manuel High School (Annex) had to endure leaky tin roofs during the rainy season and searing heat during summers, not to mention the broken wooden chairs and the cracked cement floors. The students had to persevere under a difficult learning environment.
“The old classrooms were small and over time has become decrepit and eaten by time and the weather. And because there was an increase in enrolment, in one classroom, we had approximately sixty kids,” Principal Ms. Alona Malari laments.
In June 2010, the Department of Education (DepEd) estimated the classroom shortage to 66,800 units, the problem was massive and seemingly daunting. This backlog is estimated to grow to about 150,000 by 2016 with increases in enrolment, and the implementation of DepEd’s K to 12 program and Education for All initiatives.
The DepEd sought the technical assistance and capacity building support of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center to undertake a massive project to construct the needed school buildings. The PPP of the Philippine Government is envisioned to help address the infrastructure needs of the country, including the staggering lack of school classrooms.
To get this massive undertaking off the ground, the DepEd tapped the Australia-supported Project Monitoring and Development Facility (PDMF). This Facility helped the DepEd develop a well-structured feasibility study that attracted private sector investment to build the schools for them. This is the beginning of DepEd’s journey towards realizing the first social PPP project of the country – the PPP for School Building Infrastructure Project (PSIP) Phase 1. This project was implemented under the Amended Build-Operate Transfer (BOT) Law. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which, traditionally builds the classrooms for DepEd, gave its full support to this endeavor.
The PDMF, a revolving fund with the support of US$18 million from the Australian Government through the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Philippine Government is managed by the PPP Center. This partnership between the Philippine and Australian Governments has been vital in building a robust pipeline of viable and well-prepared PPP projects in the country by engaging high-caliber project consultants. Through the PDMF, the DepEd tapped the expertise of Ernst & Young Australia Infrastructure Advisory for transaction support services to the PSIP Phase 1.
With the successful partnership between DepEd and the private sector, 9,296 classrooms were built in the Ilocos, Central Luzon, and the CALABARZON Regions. The private sector partners built schools that are future-proofed which can endure and resist severe weather conditions, keeping both the teachers and students safe. Today, the DepEd together with the PPP Center continues to monitor these classrooms to ensure that the facilities are well-maintained and in good working conditions.
With the new school buildings, came a renewed sense of vibrancy and hope.
The San Jose Del Monte National Trade School in Bulacan is another centre that benefitted from this project. School principal Ms. Christina Santiago shares, “The students were so happy because they don’t need to shelter under the tree or use the gymnasium or look for a place they could learn.”
Students also feel inspired to learn in their new classrooms. “The new school buildings are more comfortable. We don’t need to go on shifts to use the classrooms anymore. We can now all fit in them,” Jelai Castro, a student from the Marcelo H. Del Pilar High School shares.
More than 400,000 students annually benefit from these safe, secure, and disaster-resilient, classrooms. Through the enduring partnership and bayanihan between the Philippine Government and the Australian Government, PPPs will continue to bring hope and fulfillment to Filipinos.