DepEd to appeal unprogrammed funds in proposed 2021 budget

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2020 05:07 PM | Updated as of Aug 31 2020 08:58 PM

MANILA — The Department of Education said Monday it would ask lawmakers to make changes in allocations under the government's proposed 2021 budget so the agency could sufficiently fund "important" programs.

The government has allocated P606.5 billion of its proposed P4.5 trillion budget for next year, for DepEd, which, in the coming school year, will implement a shift to distance learning due to the continuing threat from the coronavirus pandemic.

Education Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said "important" programs of the department need more funding worth P25 billion.

"We will also appeal to Congress, kung pupuwede, from unprogrammed fund, ay ilipat sa programmed fund para mas assured kami," Sevilla said in a virtual press briefing.

(We will also appeal to Congress if they can allow to have these unpgorammed funds become programmed funds so we are more assured.)

The following are logged in unpogrammed appropriations:

  • Electrification of basic education facilities - P3.8 billion
  • Last Mile Schools program - P6.5 billion
  • Flexible learning options - P5 billion
  • Government assistance and subsidies (Voucher program from private senior high school students) - P10.5 billion

Sevilla acknowledged though that other programs would lose funding if the unprogrammed become programmed funds.

"Talagang kailangang balansehin ang lahat kasi if you want something to be added funding, sino naman ang mawawalan?" she said.

Under the proposed budget, the government is allotting P24 billion for basic education facilities, an 18.16-percent decrease from last year's P29.5 billion, while government assistance and subsidies got P26 billion, down by 28.3 percent from P36 billion.

Last mile schools would get P1.5 billion, down by 76.9 percent from P6.5 billion last year.

Flexible learning options, meanwhile, got P15 billion, up by 2,433 percent from the previous year.

DepEd's Computerization program, which seeks to provide laptops and other gadgets to public school teachers and students, got P8.9 billion under the proposed budget, an 86.6-percent rise from last year's P4.8 billion.

Sevilla said there are other ways to fund DepEd programs aside from the national budget, citing the Special Education Fund from local governments.

She also disclosed that the department would be hiring 10,000 teachers next year.

There will be a salary increase for DepEd personnel next year as part of the second tranche of the Salary Standardization Law, she added.