DepEd cites ‘limitations’ on calls for higher communication reimbursement

Published January 13, 2021, 7:05 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

While it acknowledges that the P300 per month reimbursement  of communication expenses to its personnel is not enough, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday said the agency has certain “limitations” when it comes to releasing funds.

(Jansen Romero / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“In as much as the Department would want to reimburse their communication expenses for a higher amount, the department has its limitations, both in the funding cover and legal basis,” DepEd said in a statement. “We hope for your understanding as we provide what is due our personnel within our budget,” it added.

In November, DepEd issued guidelines authorizing the payment of communication expenses of its personnel relative to the implementation of alternative work arrangements for the year 2020 or the DepEd Order no 38 series of 2020.

It was stated in the guidelines that the amount which may be reimbursed by a personnel “shall not exceed P300 per month” subject to “submission of pertinent documents for reimbursement.”

DepEd said that the payment of communication expenses (mobile and internet) of a personnel under the work from home arrangement covers the period from March 16, 2020 until Dec. 31, 2020.

“DepEd acknowledges that P300 per month reimbursement “to our personnel” is not enough for communications expenses related to the new learning delivery approach and in the alternative working arrangement what we are implementing now,” the agency said.

However, DepEd explained that the amount of P300 per month was identified based on the cost estimates per available 2020 funds.

Moreover, DepEd said that it cannot release the reimbursement as an “allowance” approach since there is “no legal basis to release such and as prescribed by oversight” agencies such as Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Commission on Audit (COA).

“The grant of allowance is inappropriate for now because DepEd’s request to DBM for grant of authority to pay it in form of allowance is still unanswered,” DepEd said.

DepEd reminded that proceeding to pay as allowance – without submission of liquidation or documentation – will be subject to disallowance by COA.

This is also the reason why the agency released of DO 38 which serves as the reimbursement guidelines and procedure – following the regular procedure per budgeting, accounting, and auditing rules in the use of government funds.

 
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