Sara Duterte defends DepEd's confidential funds: Basic education has 'direct link' to nat’l security | Inquirer News

Sara Duterte defends DepEd’s confidential funds: Basic education has ‘direct link’ to nat’l security

/ 05:34 PM September 14, 2022
Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte

FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday defended the confidential fund under its proposed P710 billion budget for 2023, pointing out a “direct link” between basic education and national security.

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Vice President Sara Duterte, concurrently at the helm of the DepEd, said this at the House appropriations committee budget briefing of the department after Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas questioned DepEd’s P150 million and Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) P500 million confidential funds.

READ: OVP: ‘Good governance,’ confidential funds will be used for social services, nat’l security

Responding to this, Duterte asserted that both agencies’ confidential funds must be treated independently.

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“The OVP and the DepEd are two separate entities. They are two separate departments of the government. And they have separate mandates as well,” she said.

Duterte further argued: “The success of a project, activity or program really depends on very good intelligence and surveillance because you want to target specific issues and challenges.”

She then cited sexual grooming of learners, youth recruitment to terrorism, and drug use of DepEd workers among the issues faced by the department, which “are not laid out for [their] regular personnel to see.”

“That is why we need the help of the security cluster and the security sector to address these issues and challenges to basic education. And as I said, basic education has a direct link to our country’s national security,” Duterte added.

‘More harm than good’

Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel, in a statement, sounded the alarm on DepEd’s plan to bolster its surveillance efforts, noting that it may “sow unnecessary terror, distrust, and chaos within schools.”

He pointed out the harm it may cause given the history of red-tagging experienced by several students, teachers and universities.

READ: Students march vs Red-tagging

“With the national government’s track record, these confidential funds will most likely do more harm than good to the education community. These problems indeed need to be addressed but DepEd is approaching it the wrong way – the militarist way,” Manuel explained.

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The congressman also called the confidential fund “counterintuitive,” considering that funding for basic education needs – particularly to ascertain full and safe in-person classes by November – “remains lacking.”

Manuel later added: “The bottom line is – it is better to fund defined, transparent, and beneficial programs rather than shelving billions in unaccountable confidential funds. Overall, the DepEd confidential fund is obviously intended for repressive policies while being prone to corruption.”

He then called on Congress to reallocate the confidential fund to other education programs and use it to supplement the budget for the safe reopening of schools, which according to Kabataan Party-list’s calculation, would need a total of P122 billion.

RELATED STORY:

Sara Duterte: Give DepEd another P100B, we’ll fix PH education woes

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TAGS: Confidential Funds, Department of Education, DepEd, Office of the Vice President, Raoul Manuel, Rep. Arlene Brosas, Sara Duterte
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