By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday commended the “early approval” of the 2020 budget, saying this will greatly help the agency’s programs “meet the challenge of quality” in basic education.
DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Service and Education Programs Delivery Unit Annalyn Sevilla told the Manila Bulletin that the agency lauds President Rodrigo Duterte and the members of the House of Representatives and Senate for the early approval of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.
“With the assurance of continued funding and its early approval, DepEd programs and projects for FY 2020 shall be implemented as planned,” Sevilla said.
Meanwhile, Sevilla said that as DepEd waits for specific details of the final GAA 2020, it “welcomes the significant increases” in funding for various DepEd programs.
In particular, Sevilla noted the voucher program for private senior high school (SHS), the Last Mile Schools Program, and human resource development for personnel in schools and learning centers.
However, Sevilla decried the “decrease in funding” for the basic education inputs program, particularly for the new construction of school buildings. This, she said, is a “huge challenge to the department as it will adversely affect the programming of a lower classroom-to-students ratio for the coming school years.”
On the other hand, Sevilla said the DepEd also “welcomes the inclusion of the salary increase” for teaching and non-teaching employees of the department effective January 2020. “This is an added motivation for almost a million personnel of the department,” she said.
Aside from the projects and programs, Sevilla noted that the new budget will also be harnessed to support the Sulong EduKalidad, the DepEd’s newly-launched program to meet the challenge of quality in basic education.
Duterte signed into law on Monday, Jan. 6, the FY 2020 GAA which appropriates PhP4.1 trillion for the operations of the national government.
According to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the PhP4.1 trillion budget is equivalent to 19.5 percent of projected gross domestic product, which is the country’s “largest to date,” larger by 12 percent than the 2019 budget.
The DepEd, as well as state universities and colleges, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, will collectively receive P692.6 billion, the largest portion of the 2020 budget