While there are no funds allocated in its budget for personnel who contracted COVID-19, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday assured that they are given assistance as much as possible.
DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla, during an online press briefing for the “Handang Isip, Handa Bukas” school readiness program, explained hospitalization fees for its personnel who tested or will test positive for the coronavirus disease are not covered by the 2020 budget of the agency.
“Medication and treatment funding for COVID are not present or appropriated in the existing budget of DepEd,” Sevilla said. “And I think it is true for all national government agencies,” she added.
DepEd made this clarification after teachers’ group pressed the agency to assist teachers and non-teaching personnel afflicted by the deadly disease. “What has been allowed to be charged to DepEd funds are the supplies needed for the compliance with the minimum health standards,” Sevilla said. “There are particular activities chargeable to available budget of DepEd,” she explained.
Sevilla explained that what the DepEd has is a “referral system” among DepEd, Department of Health (DOH), and local government units (LGUs). “This is the practice we have now and it has worked with DOH/LGUs,” she said.
Sevilla added that for those employees who opted to be treated in private hospitals, they also got assistance from DepEd. “But this is not from the government funds but from the personal contributions and collective efforts of the DepEd family,” she added.
Earlier, teachers group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines and Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) urged DepEd to provide assistance to its personnel – especially to teachers – who tested positive for COVID-19.
DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan, when asked about the status of COVID-19 positive personnel, said that the department is “still consolidating and validating” the data coming from its regional and division offices.