Teachers slam gov’t for denying DepEd's request for addt'l funding

A federation of teachers on Thursday criticized the administration of President Duterte - especially the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) - for denying the P65-billion supplemental budget request of the Department of Education (DepEd) for its Basic Education - Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP). 

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines alleged that the Duterte administration “continues to abandon” around 28 million students and a million teaching and non-teaching personnel as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on the economy and to the education sector.

ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said the Filipino youth’s right to education had been “infringed” for far too long. 

“Aside from empty talks of support, the President has not lifted a finger to truly assist DepEd in its shift to remote learning, resulting in the two-time school opening deferment due to unmet requisites for safe, accessible, and quality education,” he explained. “This continued neglect of education is in itself a crime, not just against the millions forming the sector, but against the nation as a whole.”

DepEd recently announced their Congressional request for a P65-billion additional budget was not approved by the DBM. The agency expressed hope that the P65 billion DepEd needs had been included in the President-approved 2021 National Expenditure Program prepared by DBM.

Basilio noted that DBM’s 2021 allocation still falls short of DepEd’s already “conservative” funding request for the needs of BE-LCP. 

“This is an injudicious handling of the people’s coffers, seeing as how the state’s insufficient funding will further deprive millions their constitutionally granted right to accessible and quality education, while education workers will be subjected to unsafe working conditions and forced to again make up for shortages,” he said.

As the group seeks a significantly bigger 2021 budget for DepEd, ACT also presses the Duterte government to “reconsider” the supplemental budget requested for the implementation of BE-LCP. It argues the urgency of the provision as schools gear for the October 5 opening.

“Education continuity cannot be further hampered by this state’s withholding and misprioritization of the people’s money,” Basilio said. “We call on officials and legislators to ensure the fulfillment of the state’s education mandate starting with allotting sufficient resources for such.”