Classroom shortage but abundance in ‘intel’ funds?

By Alex P. Vidal

“As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.”—Nelson Mandela

WHAT greeted the school children and those involved in public elementary and high school education this year was an outrageous and calamitous shortage of classrooms all over the Philippines.

Not hundreds, but thousands of classrooms in the provinces, cities, and municipalities from Aparri to Jolo.

This is shocking and unacceptable because we actually have sufficient funds to build not just classrooms but also school buildings.

If we have funds for the ambitious multi-billion bridges and highways, we surely have more than enough for the classrooms and school buildings.

Where did the funds that would have long ago solved this lingering and exasperating problem in our public education go?

Either they were not used efficiently, diverted to other non-essential things, wasted in inconsequential matters, or siphoned off to the pockets of rapacious and dishonest Department of Education (DepEd) officials past and present?

We are a rich country pretending to be poor.

We have a quality system but one that is managed by incredible and incompetent public officials in a lousy and decrepit bureaucratic apparatus.


We have abundance of money but is channeled somewhere else—in the pathetic and appalling “intelligence fund” which is at the beck and call of the DepEd secretary.

They may remove all the classroom decorations—including the chalks and blackboards if they so desire—but, please, leave the funds needed to build more classrooms and other school materials alone.

In just two years, that “intelligence fund” has reportedly ballooned to more or less P1 billion or P500 million each year as per the request by the DepEd boss.

This is unprecedented, scandalous, unwise, and sickening. In the movies, we frown upon this gross display of splendor. In real life, we puke at the magnitude of its lavishness.

It could reach to P5 billion if the spineless Congress (the solons, not the institution) will continue to slumber excessively and act like monkeys who see, hear, and say nothing (for fear of political reprisal?).

The disparity in the spending preference and priority is itself a big injustice; and it betrays the lack of delicadeza and accountability on the part of those wanting to have access on the controversial funds, the coveted cookie jars not covered by any audit report.


Raking in P500 million to P1 billion in “intelligence fund” which, in truth and in reality, not really necessary for a department that handles and promotes learning of the students in the formative years, is tantamount to abuse of authority and being insensitive to the plight of the poor.

It becomes cruel and despicable when we see the students suffer from neglect and mismanagement, while the DepEd official or officials live like queens and wealthy nobles.

Allowing the public pupils to suffer from the apathy, laziness, cowardice, feebleness, incompetence, negligence, and corruption of the public officials who have sworn to protect the welfare and interest of the taxpayers—including the public elementary and high schools students now absorbing the brunt of this skullduggery—is tantamount to tolerating educational, mental, and emotional genocide.


August 21 in the United States marked the 6th Commemoration of the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism.

The United States Department of State said the US stood with the global community of victims, families, survivors, and communities who have been impacted by the scourge of terrorism.

“The effects of terrorism are long-lasting and tragic. Victims of terrorism must remain at the forefront of efforts to provide them with the justice and support they deserve,” it declared in a statement.

“The United States and its international partners have made great strides in detecting and disrupting terrorist attacks, diminishing terrorist recruitment, and denying terrorists support. We are committed to preventing future attacks and to hold terrorists to account for their crimes. We pay solemn tribute to those who lost their lives in terrorist attacks, and we will never forget the victims of terrorism or stop our pursuit of justice and peace.”

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)