The Department of Education (DepEd) highlighted the creation of financial management reform and the establishment of the Education Program Management Office as among its accomplishments under the outgoing administration.
DepEd, particularly its Finance Strand, underscored the formation of a Public Financial Management (PFM) reform program and the installation of the Education Program Management Office in its term-end accomplishment report.
Under the guidance of Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla shared that DepEd is the “only agency” to create its first-ever financial management reform program and a program management office.
Among the other remarkable accomplishments of the Finance Service Strand under the leadership of Briones are decentralized fund management, uninterrupted processing of salaries, allowances, and benefits amid lockdowns, provided incentives, and the increased Budget Utilization Rate from 88 percent in 2016 to 96 percent in 2020.
Sevilla also highlighted the approval for the increased capitalization threshold of the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) and Capital Outlay from P15,000 to P50,000 not only for DepEd but also for the whole government including Local Government Units (LGUs).
“The effectivity of the increase in MOOE is not just for DepEd, this is [for] the whole of government including LGUs, kaya ang mga (that’s why the) initiatives natin hindi pang DepEd lang [kundi] para sa lahat (are not just for DepEd but for all),” Sevilla said.
DepEd also noted that with COA Circular No. 2022-004, field offices and schools are “allowed more flexibility to procure equipment and other items essential in daily operations and the conduct of classes” not exceeding P50,000.
Moreover, Sevilla emphasized that a new Provident Fund (PF) should be established by DepEd to cater to personal contributions and grant various employee-member benefits.
DepEd said that currently, the PF provides teaching and non-teaching personnel benefits and loans for hospitalization, educational loans, minor but immediately needed repair of the house, and other emergencies specified by the loan applicant.
“What we are looking for is a Provident Fund na may (that has) employee-employer share at sariling (own) health insurance policy aside from Philhealth. That is one proposal and recommendation we are already seeking approval from the Office of the President,” Sevilla said.
Sevilla explained that the DepEd has also come up with a design of the new provident fund that “we will transition to the next administration.”
Meanwhile, Briones reiterated that DepEd continues to be determined in implementing the “necessary financial policies” to help all DepEd personnel fully recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.