Funds for Manila Bay ‘white sands’ could have bought gadgets, modules for studes — DepEd
MANILA, Philippines — Had the Department of Education (DepEd) been infused with P389 million, the amount allocated for the Manila Bay rehabilitation, there would have been enough funds to purchase gadgets and print modules for students for their distance education.
At a televised press briefing, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones on Monday was asked to give her thoughts on the funding for the beautification of Manila Bay, if it had instead been granted to the education sector.
“Marami pong pumupuna sa Manila Bay white sand na P389 million project budget. Ang tanong po ng iba, kung sa DepEd daw po ito ginamit, ano po ang katumbas sa gamit pang-edukasyon na maaaring mapondohan ng ganitong halaga?” she was asked, for which she replied:
“Kung halimbawa may P389 million na ibibigay ang pamahalaan sa departamento, sigurado ako na malaking bahagi niyan ay mapupunta sa pangagailangan ng mga gadgets.”
(If for instance, the government will give P389 million to the agency, I’m sure a big part of that will go to gadgets.)
“Isa pa, ang pag-print ng mga modules. As I said, dito sa Pilipinas maski urban centers hindi naman lahat ay may access sa technology at kailangan secure pa ang sources ng ating connectivity,” she added.
(Another thing is for printing modules. As I said, here in the Philippines, not all urban centers have access to technology and sources of connectivity still have to be secured.)
Briones, however, noted that the DepEd does not meddle with other government agencies’ respective budgets.
“Hindi kami nakikialam sa budget ng may budget… Kung ano ang in-allocate sa amin ng Presidente at ng Department of Budget [and Management], yun ang pinagkakasya namin,” she said.
(We don’t meddle with the budget of others. We work with how much budget was allocated to us by the President and the Department of Budget and Management.)
The Manila Bay rehabilitation project where crushed dolomite boulders were used to cover its shore earned criticism from several groups who said it only focused on appearance.
Some said the budget used for the project should have been spent for the COVID-19 response, but Malacañang said funds for the rehabilitation were already allocated even before the virus outbreak.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also defended the project, saying it would discourage littering in Manila Bay.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health warned that dolomite dust can cause respiratory issues when inhaled.
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