With just under two weeks left before the start of the school year 2022-2023, ACT-Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro wants the 19th Congress to hurry up and fast track the adoption of a House Resolution allocating a P32-billion budget for the safe reopening of schools.
Castro filed House Joint Resolution (HJR) 2 last July 4; it was read in the House on Aug. 2, and is currently pending with the House Committee on Appropriations.
“It is just two weeks before the school year 2022-2023 starts and there are still a lot to be done to ensure a safe reopening of classes. It is in this light that we are calling on the House leadership to set a hearing for the measure as soon as possible so that we can help in funding the needed facilities for the opening of classes even in the midst of the pandemic,” Deputy Minority Leader Castro said on Sunday, Aug. 7.
Under the HJR, P32-billion will be allocated to the Department of Education (DepED) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to augment and improve the facilities of public schools, state universities, and colleges (SUCs).
“The P32 billion proposed supplemental budget in HJR 4 will augment the already depleted school maintenance and other operating expenses [MOOE]. The DepEd itself said that for schools affected by the 7.3 magnitude earthquake would need P2.1 billion and another P16 billion more to repair schools damaged by Typhoons Odette and Agaton. Of course, all the other schools need these funds as well to improve their facilities,” Castro explained.
“We hope that the House leadership would heed our call and act soon because we do not want our teachers and students to be defenselessly exposed to the current increase in Covid cases,” the teacher-lawmaker concluded.
HJR 4 is formally titled “Joint Resolution Providing for a Supplemental Budget of Thirty Two Billion Pesos (₱32,000,000,000) to be Released to the DepEd, DOST, and Selected State Universities and Colleges and Directing Them to Exclusively Use the Amount as the Maintenance and other Operating Expenses of the Public Schools Under Their Jurisdiction to Enable Them to Sufficiently Prepare for the Resumption of Full Face-to-Face Classes”