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DBM releases over P1 billion for DepEd's restoration of heritage school buildings

MANILA, Philippines — Over P1 billion will be spent for the restoration and conservation of hundreds of heritage school buildings in the Philippines, according to a recently approved fund release by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

In a news release, the DBM said that it has approved a P1.134-billion Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) for the Department of Education (DepEd) to restore 654 classrooms in 83 heritage schools nationwide.

The SARO includes necessary improvements for the restoration of Gabaldon schoolhouses, which are school buildings put up during the Americsan colonial period.

The SARO is in accordance with a special provision in the 2024 national budget that complies with Republic Act 11194 or the Gabaldon School Buildings Conservation Act, which state that heritage school buildings, including Gabaldon school buildings, must be preserved and restored as part of the country’s cultural conservation efforts.

Gabaldon schoolhouses, which were built between 1907 and 1946 under the colonial regime of the Americans, are noted for their architecture, which mimics the traditional Filipino bahay kubo and bahay na bato. 

Around 2,045 Gabaldon schoolhouses remain in the country today.

The schools are named after the late lawmaker Isauro Gabaldon, who authored the Gabaldon Act of 1907 or Republic Act 1801, which provided for P1 million for the construction of school buildings in every municipality in the country.

The restoration process of Gabaldon schoolhouses includes site improvements such as school ground site leveling and grading.

The infrastructure improvement also includes removal of obstructions and unsafe structures around the Gabaldon buildings.