By Leilanie Adriano
LAOAG CITY — In support of the universal free education in the province, the Ilocos Norte government has allotted about P12.5 million for the payment of electricity bills of poor public schools here.
Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc reported Tuesday the amount has been sourced from the Special Education Fund (SEF) of the province.
Ilocos Norte’s collection of SEF tax for 2019 has increased to P617 million compared to last year’s more than P222 million.
The provincial education department is currently studying which public elementary schools are qualified under the program.
“We have created some criteria based on their maintenance and other operating expenses, because they will be consulted first prior to maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) implementation,” said Manotoc.
“This time, we will allow the schools to decide if they want us to pay their electricity or convert the amount for the purchase of supplies, computers or construction of additional school buildings,” he said.
In 2018, the Kuryente Mo, Sagot Ko program covered over 300 primary schools from the 21 towns and two cities of the province that are receiving below P400,000 MOOE annually.
Other projects funded under the SEF in previous years include the construction of more Day Care centers, laboratory schools, comfort rooms, and establishment of three-generation playgrounds in public parks.
Based on average data, the public elementary schools in the entire province has been paying approximately P8 million to P11 million in utility bills annually.
The Ilocos Norte government also plans to expand its provincial scholarship grant and make sure the applicants are most deserving and most needy. (PNA)