Inappropriate to use DepEd confidential fund to address school violence, says official

Rowegie Abanto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2023 01:38 PM | Updated as of Jan 27 2023 02:12 PM

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MANILA — The use of the Department of Education's confidential fund to address recent cases of violence in schools would be "inappropriate," an official said Friday.

The DepEd's confidential funds are allocated to specific activities according to the budget department's joint circular, "mainly... to procure or to purchase or obtain information or intelligence," said DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa.

"Hindi po siya akma sa mga sitwasyon na biglang may dalang panaksak for example ang isang learner sa school," Poa told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo. 

"Ito pong pag-obtain ng intelligence ay para po sa mga concerted activities or illegal activities na hinihimok 'yung ating mga learners to join mga criminal activities or terrorist groups."

(It is not appropriate for situations wherein for example, a learner brings a bladed weapon to school. This intelligence gathering is for concerted activities or illegal activities which encourage our learners to join criminal activities or terrorist groups.)

The DepEd has to follow guidelines and cannot just use its confidential fund to address other matters, said its spokesperson. 

"And all these things, even under the guidelines, should be done in collaboration with the law enforcement agencies," Poa said.

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte earlier said the DepEd's P150-million confidential fund was meant to address illegal activities targeting students.

To address recent cases of violence, schools should beef up their security and boost mental health programs, Poa said. 

"Dito po sa ating mga insidente recently, these are situations na talagang kailangan more on security and mental health issues," he said.

A 13-year-old student was stabbed to death by his classmate at Culiat High School in Quezon City last Jan. 20.

On Thursday, a 12-year-old student accidentally shot himself with his father’s gun, which he brought to school in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.

In a separate incident in December, 2 students of Colegio San Agustin in Makati were involved in a brawl inside one of the school’s comfort rooms – an incident that was caught on video which later went viral on social media.