DepEd budget biggest so far

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The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday lauded as a milestone its higher-than-expected budget for 2014 after Malacañang added almost P3 billion to its original budget proposal.

Education Assistant Secretary for Planning Jesus Mateo said they originally proposed a P334-billion budget for next year.

But after a marathon Cabinet deliberation, Malacañang decided to propose a P336.9-billion allocation for the DepEd, which is 14.8 percent higher than its current budget.

“Yes, we consider it as a milestone for the department and more than what we initially proposed,” said Mateo in an interview.

The DepEd was allocated P293.4 billion this year.

While the Constitution mandates that the education agency should receive the biggest share of the national budget, the DepEd’s funding has breached the P300-billion mark for the first time.

The House of Representatives last week opened hearings on the proposed P2.268-trillion national budget.

According to Mateo, the department would be able to hire 1,500 principals and 33,194 teachers next year with P9.5 billion of their proposed budget.

Meanwhile, P44.6 billion would go to the construction of 43,183 classrooms, the repair of 9,503 others and the purchase of 1.6 million chairs next year.—Dona Z. Pazzibugan

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