THE government of President Noynoy Aquino has reportedly released P31.8 billion to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the proposed construction or rehabilitation of 22,325 classrooms nationwide as determined by the Department of Education (DepEd).

The construction spree is meant to bolster the K to 12 Program, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). The opening of senior high school under the K to 12 Program will be for the next school year.

Accordingly, the expenses will be charged against the DepEd’s Provision and Maintenance of Basic Educational Facilities, which is also known as the Basic Educational Facilities Fund (BEFF), in the 2014 Budget (RA 10633, Continuing Appropriations) and the 2015 Budget (Republic Act 10651). The figures reported should be taken to mean there would be more classrooms all over the country in the coming months.

What should be noted is that the needs of the educational system are continuing and should be attended to annually. Every year, solving the dilemma of accommodating more school children who ascend the ladder of learning becomes a headache for all of us.

Indeed, we need more classrooms year in and year out. It is, however, a matter of national capability for us to get the basic needs and materials to build the things needed by our rising young ones. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said that government has kept pace by “allotting yearly increases in budgetary support for quality classrooms.”

Meanwhile, as government looked for funds to answer the need of our school children for more classrooms, some government officials have been found to have pocketed billions of pesos of public money. The money could have been used to ease the burden of our educational system.

Reports said that Ruby Tuason, the former social secretary of ousted president Joseph Estrada, admitted in court the other day that she acted as “bagman” for Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada for the letter’s kickbacks in the pork barrel scam.

Tuason, who testified during Estrada’s bail hearing before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, said she delivered some P19 million at the Senate office of Estrada on several occasions. She said that she decided to reveal everything that she knows about the transactions of Estrada with alleged pork barrel scam architect Janet Lim-Napoles after he distanced himself from her when the anomaly was exposed in early 2013.

“I decided to choose between friendship and the truth. I chose truth,” said Tuason, who was a family friend of the Estradas.

Tuason’s testimony not only bolstered the case a_gainst Estrada but also painted a picture of how public funds that should have been spent for basic services, like providing education to our children, instead went to the pockets of some government officials.