DepEd’s approved 2022 budget still ‘lacks’ funds for safe school reopening, group says

The safe reopening of schools amid the pandemic might still not be possible with the approved budget for the education sector, a group of education workers said.

Photo taken on Dec. 6, 2021 during the first day of pilot face-to-face classes in Aurora A. Quezon Elementary School in Manila. (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

For the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines, the approved budget --- especially of the Department of Education (DepEd) --- is not enough to ensure the safe reopening of schools at the basic education level amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

ACT noted that DepEd’s “thankful mood” was unwarranted with the approval of the 2022 budget because it was “essentially unchanged” compared to the proposed version of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).


"DepEd, read the room,” ACT criticized ACT Secretary-General Raymond Basilio said.

“We—teachers, students, and even their parents—have been struggling with the costs of distance learning and the steep decline in the quality of education after nearly two years of school closure,” he added.

ACT alleged that the approved budget of DepEd “did not contain the required funds” to enable safe school reopening for the bigger part of the country.

“DepEd's school reopening program has only started to take off and we're still facing enormous challenges, especially with the Omicron-driven surge in infection,” Basilio said.

“These concerns should be amplified by DepEd, not stifled with empty praises that neither represent the voice of the sector nor benefit us in any way,” he added.

ACT said that the “negligible raise” was not even half of what DepEd asked for in 2022.


This, the group added, is also far from its estimated P118-billion requirement to fund safe school reopening in more areas.

ACT said that the 2022 budget is also not enough for the provision of laptops, gadgets, and internet allowances to teachers and students and the granting of health protection and just personnel benefits --- including overtime pay for the last school year, hazard pay, medical support, and overload pay.

In higher education, ACT said that the budget for State Colleges and Universities (SUCs) for safe school reopening, distance learning needs, and welfare protection for personnel is still not enough.

Given this, ACT maintained its call for a bigger budget for education and other social services, as well as the need to elect change in the upcoming 2022 national polls as a “step towards recovery from the dire impacts of state neglect” amid one of the worst health and socioeconomic crises in Philippine history.