'Only the rich can afford to learn': Cavite gov worries over distance learning funding

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 13 2020 04:17 PM

MANILA — Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla on Monday expressed concern over the province's lack of funding to support the Department of Education's plans to shift to alternative modes of learning for the coming school year.

Schools will be implementing distance or blended learning when the academic year starts in August as in-person classes remain suspended due to the threat of COVID-19. This involves the use of online platforms, printed and digital modules, radio, and television to deliver lessons to learners.

In a Facebook post addressed to Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Remulla said the 2020 budget of his province is only P4.7 billion, whereas P5 billion is needed for the DepEd's planned modular teaching/learning process for Cavite's 600,000 students.

 

"Ayon rin sa plano, ang DepEd National ay walang contribution para dito at ito ay 100% na papasanin ng LGU (local government unit)," he wrote in the post.

The governor said that of his province's budget for this year, almost P1 billion was already used for the COVID-19 pandemic response, while P2.1 billion is also allocated for the salary of government workers and operations of the provincial government. Another P1 billion is for hospitals.

There are also other programs for Cavite's 4.5 million people that need funding.

"It is unfortunate that at the time of COVID, every Filipino student should be given a chance at proper education. Yet, the reality is only the rich can afford to learn," Remulla said.

The governor expects an increase in enrollment in public schools as nearly 100 private schools in the province have closed for the coming school year due to the pandemic,

"Sa Cavite pa lamang po ito. Paano pa po ang malalayo na lalawigan at syudad na mas menos ang kakayahan?" he said.

(This is just in Cavite. What about the far-flung provinces and cities that have little resources.)

Remulla said the provincial government will present its Cavite Educational Plan this week as their "local solution to a NATIONAL problem."

Anne Sevilla, DepEd undersecretary for finance, said that the Special Education Funds of local governments would be supplemented by funds from the DepEd Central Office to support the shift to alternative modes of learning.

DepEd's local officials are already coordinating with Remulla's office on the matter, Sevilla told ABS-CBN News.

She added that the P5 billion figure is a computation from Remulla's office, but DepEd came up with a different figure.

Classes in public schools are scheduled to start on August 24 while private schools are allowed to start earlier upon seeking the approval of DepEd regional directors.