The House of Representatives’ recent plenary budget deliberation has exposed some shortcomings in the Philippine educational sector, its members lamented.
Among the shortcomings were the zero appropriation for four state universities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) as well as massive budget cuts in other state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the country.
These were exposed by Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro and Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago during their respective interpellations.
“The absence of funds for these state universities and colleges in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is like robbing thousands of Moro students their chances to better their lives and those of their families. The absence of funds for these institutions is like crushing thousands of dreams of our youth in achieving something for themselves,” said Hataman, the lone district congressman of Basilan.
Elago, meanwhile, has already filed a House resolution 2255 calling for the Committee on Appropriations to restore the P2.02 billion budget cut made by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in the maintenance and other operating expenses of 102 SUCs and personnel services of 14 SUCs, and substantially augment budget for capital outlay and public tertiary education system.
The Makabayan bloc lawmaker also pushed for the release of allowances and funds allocated for some SUCs.
Another glaring shortcoming is the failure of the Department of Education (DepED) to provide the benefits of public school teachers, they said.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) has even called out the DepEd for the delayed performance-based bonus that should be given to public school teachers.
ACT has even given a list of the government’s ‘debts’ to teachers such as the grant of the P1,500 monthly internet allowance, 77 days service credit and 25 percent overtime pay for the excessive workdays in the current school year, and five-year long ‘overdue promise’ of President Duterte for a justifiable salaries upgrade.
There is also a pending resolution made by Castro in the Lower House directing the DBM and DepEd to properly implement the grant of special hardship allowance for public school teachers as provided by Republic Act 4670 or the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers.
A total budget of P773.6 billion was given to the Department of Education (DepED), the highest budgetary allocation for the proposed 2022 national budget passed by the Lower House last September 30.
The said budget includes the allocations for the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), SUCs, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) next year.
DepEd’s spending priorities for 2022 will also go to the following: Education Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education (P49.7 billion), Education Assistance and Subsidies (P30.1 billion), and Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan (P15.1 billion). (Melvin Sarangay)