PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III promised to eliminate the classroom backlog in the country by the end of this year.
Aquino made the pledge while meeting local Liberal Party (LP) leaders and supporters in Bogo City early afternoon yesterday.
He said that when he assumed office in 2010, there was a shortage of 66,800 clasrooms nationwide. His budget, however, allowed him to build only 8,000 classrooms a year or 48,000 classrooms during his entire six-year term.
He vowed to eliminate the shortage this year, his third year in office. He noted that his predecessor, President Arroyo, failed to address the problem in her nine years in office.
In June last year, Cebu City Schools Superintendent Rhea Mar Angtud reported an 8-percent shortage in classrooms in public elementary schools and as much as much as 12 percent in public high schools. The Department of Education remedied the situation by conducting classes in existing classrooms in shifts.
Aquino also said the country will no longer import rice by the end of this year.
He pointed out that the towns of Argao, San Fernando, Consolacion, Balamban, Sibonga, Moalboal, Dalaguete Barili, Pinamungajan, and Carcar City benefited from the government’s irrigation program.
He said the country has a 1.3-million ton rice shortage but Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala vowed there will be a rice surplus in 2013.
The Department of Agriculture aims to increase rice production to 21.11 million tons this year.
Total rice production in 2010 was only 15.77 million tons, three percent lower than in 2009 due to the drought caused by the El Niño phenomenon.
Aquino also credited Cebuanos for helping improve the peace and order situation in Cebu. He cited the drop in crime incidence to 5,759 in 2012 from 8,428 in 2010.
His statement made the crowd—which local LP leaders estimated to be around 10,000—applaud.
Before Aquino’s arrival, LP Senate aspirants Koko Pimentel and Ramon Magsaysay Jr. led the inauguration of the new P300-million Bogo City Hall.