By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) is “stretching” available resources to ensure that the salaries of newly-hired teachers are paid and the operational costs of newly-established public schools will be covered despite the stalled 2019 budget.
DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said that the salaries of newly-hired teachers –those that were hired after May 2018 – are covered by the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA). “The 2019 budget has a cut-off of salaries and allowances for teachers that are hired even before May 30, 2018 but because there is no change in the 2019 [budget], we are constrained to use the budget of 2018 which does not include the newly-created positions after May last year,” she explained.
Due to the ongoing budget impasse, Sevilla said that there is no funding available for the salaries of these teachers. However, she noted that the DepEd – in coordination with its regional offices – are making “internal arrangements” to help ensure that the salaries of newly-hired teachers are paid.
“DepEd is using its 2018 budget for the salaries and allowances for newly-created teacher items,” she explained. Such internal arrangements, said added, include using funds for “items that are not yet due.”
Based on the latest data gathered by DepEd, there are at least 74 newly-hired teachers in Region 7 and CARAGA “which remained to be unpaid” in the duration of January to March. However, Sevilla clarified that this is not because of lack of funds but mainly due to incomplete requirements – particularly problem in their appointments.
“When we validated, they have just submitted their appointment to the Civil Service Commission (CSC),” she explained. “So even if we want to pay them, DepEd is not allowed because they don’t have their appointments approved yet,” she added.
Sevilla explained that DepEd covers 17 regions and over 200 school divisions, thus, the Central Office leaves the monitoring of salaries in the level of school, division, and region.
DepEd’s local offices, Sevilla said, continue to monitor reported cases of teachers that are not yet compensated. “As soon are they had their documentary requirements fulfilled, DepEd will pay them,” she said.
Meanwhile, she noted that at least 100,000 newly-hired teachers have been paid despite the delayed approval of the 2019 budget. “Those who are starting to teach – even without funding – we’re able to pay them because we have internal arrangement,” she explained.
Earlier, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) slammed the continuing 2019 budget impasse and claimed this has resulted in the non-compensation of public school teachers hired after May last year due to “insufficiency of funds from the reenacted 2018 budget.” The group said the number of reported cases continued to increase in at least four regions.