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Tolentino questions DepEd jurisdiction over National Museum

By: - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ
/ 07:58 PM September 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Neophyte Sen. Francis Tolentino questioned the jurisdiction of the Department of Education (DepEd) over the National Museum, saying it did not belong to the department and proposed that the museum and three other agencies be “lumped together.”

But Education Secretary Leonor Briones said she preferred the National Museum to be “autonomous.”

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At a hearing for the DepEd budget for 2020, Tolentino questioned why the DepEd “continues to maintain” the National Museum when such was “no longer part of its core mandate?”

But Briones said the National Museum is attached to the DepEd only for budget purposes. “Otherwise I believe that as an institution, National Museum, has to be autonomous,” Briones told the Senate.

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Tolentino, who was Metro Manila Development Authority chair under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III, said he found the National Museum to be unqualified for some of the tasks that it was undertaking, like restoring historical buildings damaged by quakes or storms.

He said restoring historical buildings or structures was the job of the National Historical Institute (NHI).

“Probably, it is a misplaced agency within the DepEd family,” added Tolentino.

He said he found it puzzling why the National Museum would have the biggest budget in 2020 among DepEd’s attached agencies when in 2018, according to a Commission on Audit (COA) report, he said the National Museum carried out only 17 out of 95 recommended projects.

“If you look at the budget the biggest chunk of the budget within the DepEd attached agencies will go to National Museum,” Tolentino said.

“I propose that we lump together the National Historical Institute, the NCCA, Cultural Center of the Philippines,” he suggested.

Despite having the biggest chunk of proposed budget among DepEd’s attached agencies, National Museum’s budget decreased by nearly a quarter to P447 million from P595 million last year./TSB

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