DepEd to work around 2020 budget of P500 billion
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday said it would work around its existing budget without the P65-billion additional fund approved by Congress.
“We were not able to get the P65-billion budget so we have to adjust … The P65 billion is now being considered for DepEd’s 2021 funding proposal. What we need will be appropriated next year,” Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla said in an online press briefing.
“We are in the next phase of the budget process. The time is not enough as it is already September in the next few days. The validity of our budget will be limited. We are working around our 2020 budget,” she added.
At present, Sevilla said they were using the existing P500-billion budget to support the basic education-learning continuity plan (BE-LECP).
She said they were targeting to release P400 billion to fund the teachers’ salaries. From the remaining P100 billion, P9 billion has already been downloaded to schools in various regions as part of their school maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE); P17 billion has been realigned and modified; while P500 million had been earmarked for the reimbursement of the implementation of the minimum health standards.
The Special Education Fund was also aligned to BE-LCP with a total of about P20 billion under the local government units, Sevilla said.
Earlier last June, the department had requested a P65-billion supplemental budget from the Congress for its BE-LCP estimated to cost around P105.003 billion.
The DepEd had earlier projected that the P105-billion fund requirement will come from its P28.67 billion internal budget realignment; P7.249 MOOE; P3.049 billion aligned special education fund; P1 billion from the enhanced external partnerships; and the expected P65 billion supplemental budget from Congress.
“We asked the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for a supplemental budget … and they said, we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for the DepEd … [They’re driving us to the edge, saying they cannot grant our request.] That’s why we requested it for next year,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said.
Sevilla said the DepEd may get the P4-billion budget as “additional funds” under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or the Bayanihan 2, once approved.
“But even if the Congress approves of it, without the DBM allocating budget, it will remain unfunded,” she said.
Sevilla said ideally, if all funds were available, the DepEd would need P433 billion for its programs. Under conservative circumstances, as in present times, the department would need P105 billion, including the fund for the laptop of teachers worth P27 billion, which were not provided, she added.
“So now we are working from the ideal budget to the conservative to the adjusted budget,” Sevilla said.
To ensure that the BE-LCP is funded, the DepEd continues to realign, review and recalibrate its funds, she said.