Lawmaker seeks probe of use of distance learning funds
MANILA, Philippines — A Makabayan lawmaker has sought an investigation into the management of funds of the Department of Education (DepEd), such as the deficiencies in using the budget for its distance learning program amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
House Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro has filed House Resolution No. 2182 urging the House public accounts and the basic education and culture panels to conduct a probe in aid of legislation.
She pushed for an inquiry into the DepEd’s alleged lapses in utilizing funds for the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan and other 2020 audit findings on the agency.
Castro cited the Commission on Audit’s (COA) findings of lapses in budget utilization, noncompliance with the Government Procurement Reform Act, and issues on procurement, reproduction, and delivery of self-learning modules worth P8.136 billion in funds for the distance learning program.
This is apart from other lapses and irregularities in utilizing P4.009 billion in funds from the Bayanihan allocations, and P11.07 billion in suspensions, disallowances, and charges.
In her measure, Castro stressed that public school teachers bear the “consequences of these errors, lapses, delays, irregularities, and flaws in budget utilization and accounting.”
She cited complaints about errors and the absence or delayed deliveries of self-learning modules, which forced teachers to reproduce their SLMs.
The lawmaker said the COA’s audit findings “are additional proof that public education and its teachers and personnel are being under-supported despite being overworked.”
“They also show that the main agency mandated to see to it that free and quality education continues to be assured to millions of Filipino children despite the pandemic appears to have a minimal sense of urgency at a time of crisis and emergency,” Castro said.
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