Lawmaker: Allocation for schools is ploy by secretary-designate to be confirmed

By John McPhaul

District 23 Rep. José “Cheito” Rivera Madera called the announcement of the allocation of $2.8 million for infrastructure repairs at 24 schools a desperate ploy by Education Secretary-designate Elba Aponte Santos to win confirmation.

“Although it is important that our schools receive the funds necessary to be repaired and conditioned, it is highly suspect that secretary-designate Aponte announces this allocation of funds at a time when her confirmation is hanging by a thread,” Rivera Madera said.

According to information provided to the media on Wednesday, the Zone 0 schools to be repaired are located in the municipalities of Adjuntas, Juana Díaz, San Germán, Ponce and Mayagüez.

“These are not the only municipalities located in the area called zero. More than a year after the earthquakes occurred in the south, they still want to ignore that the most affected municipalities were Guánica, Yauco, Guayanilla and Peñuelas, and even worse,” the Popular Democratic Party legislator said. “There are no schools available or suitable for beginning classes in any of them, nor have funds been allocated to address the serious infrastructure problem that exists.”

“If there is still no budget for our municipalities, with this announcement the secretary is being untruthful with the country and is only looking to secure votes for her confirmation,” Rivera Madera added. “For this reason, I urge the [House of Representatives’] sister body the Senate to forcefully reject Aponte’s nomination.”

Rivera Madera said he was outraged at the lack of priority and empathy for southern schools, so he called on senators to reconsider their position and think about the students who today suffer what he called “abuse.”

“The island widely rejects this appointment, so my request is not to allow them to continue using our children as a political football,” said the representative for the towns of Ponce, Peñuelas, Guayanilla and Yauco.

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