MANILA — A Senate committee is pushing for an increase of funds for the Department of Education (DepEd) and state universities and colleges (SUCs) under the 2022 budget as it anticipates more schools holding face-to-face classes next year, Sen. Sonny Angara said Sunday.
Angara, who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance, said the government should provide additional funding as more schools would implement in-person learning in the coming months with the improvement of the country's COVID-19 situation.
The lawmaker noted the absence of any provision for preparations of in-person classes in basic and higher education institutions under the 2022 National Expenditure Program (NEP) and General Appropriations Bill.
"In response to the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes, the committee saw it fit to recommend increases in the budgets of the DepEd and SUCs," Angara said in a statement.
He was referring to the pilot implementation of limited in-person classes in basic education, which started in 100 public schools last Nov. 15, and will begin in 20 private schools on Nov. 22.
Angara said the schools can use the additional funding to retrofit their facilities in order to implement health protocols against COVID-19.
The pilot run is the first in the government's three-phased plan to bring back classroom instruction in basic education after more than a year of distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second "expanded" phase, under which more schools or grade levels can hold in-person classes, is set to begin by March 2022.
Education Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla earlier said the DepEd gave P100,000 to the 100 public schools in the pilot run, which would be used to prepare for in-person classes.
The DepEd is set to receive P629.8 billion under the 2022 NEP, according to Sevilla.
In higher education, the Inter-Agency Task Force recently approved the "phased implementation" of limited face-to-face classes for all degree programs in areas under Alert Levels 1 to 3.