In order to cover the needs of the education sector amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a teachers’ group on Tuesday, Sept. 14, called for bigger funding as Congress deliberated the proposed budget for the Department of Education (DepEd) for next year.
As the House of Representatives deliberated on the proposed P589.2-billion DepEd budget for 2022, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines staged a “Grand Lobbying” to call for higher budget allocation for the education sector.
Joined by other education stakeholders, the groups are calling for funding for the safe re-opening of schools in low-risk areas and for the various modalities of distance learning.
“We’re calling on our duly-elected officials to heed the people’s call for an education budget that is truly responsive to our needs,” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said.
Meanwhile, ACT slammed the Duterte administration for its “clear lack of plans to safely re-open schools anytime soon” based on the budget it has allocated to DepEd.
Thus, ACT called on legislators to “do right by the people” and use Congress’ power of the purse to ensure that the people’s resources go to essential services like education and health.
For ACT, the “war budget” should be rechanneled to health and socio-economic services to aid in the country’s effort to overcome the pandemic and its dire effects to livelihood and services.
Specifically, ACT is urging lawmakers to defund the NTF-ELCAC and re-channel its P30.46-B 2022 budget—a 60 percent increase from last year’s P19.1-B—to the needs of education.
“The Php30.46-B budget for Duterte’s red-tagging task force is outrageous in the face of a severely crisis-hit country,” Basilio said.
With this amount, Basilio said that the government can buy nearly 1.3 million laptops or provide a monthly P1,500 internet allowance to more than two million teachers and students-in-need for an entire school year.
“It can also significantly augment funding for production of the desperately needed modules,” Basilio said. “These are where the people’s taxes should go, not to the rabid, corrupt, and criminal NTF-ELCAC,” he added.
ACT said that more teachers are expected to personally lobby among legislators for their budgetary demands for education in the coming days.