P562-M for ALS included in 2023 nat'l budget bicam report —Gatchalian

The P5.268-trillion national budget ratified by Congess will include support for the Alternative Learning System (ALS) that will benefit thousands of Filipino learners.

(This photo was taken in Quezon City by the DepEd in September 2021.)

Senator Win Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, gave this assurance following the Dec. 5 ratification of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), also known as proposed national budget for next year.

His proposal to allocate P562 million of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) budget for the implementation of ALS programs and the provision of ALS learning resources is contained in the Bicameral Conference Committee report on the 2023 national budget.

The allocated budget, which falls under Flexible Learning Options, covers the provision of transportation and teaching aid allowances to ALS teachers and implementors.

During the DepEd budget deliberations, Gatchalian emphasized the need to secure funding for ALS.

The senator pointed out how the Covid-19 pandemic and the prolonged lack of face-to-face classes in the Philippines have affected the ALS.

Data culled from DepEd showed that there were 472,869 ALS enrollees for School Year 2021-2022 as of March 14. This was 38 percent lower than the figure recorded before the onset of the virus outbreak.

“Nang tumama ang pandemya, nakaranas ng matinding dagok ang mga programa ng ALS, kaya naman sa ilalim ng 2023 national budget, tiniyak nating mabibigyan ng suporta ang mga mag-aaral sa ALS upang hindi sila mapag-iwanan sa muling pagbangon ng bansa (When the pandemic struck, the ALS had suffered blows, that’s why under the 2023 national budget, we ensured the ALS students will be given support so they will not be left out in the country’s recovery),” said Gatchalian in a statement on Saturday, Dec. 10.

Gatchalian is the principal author and sponsor of the Republic Act (RA) No. 11510 (ALS Act) which institutionalizes, strengthens, and expands the ALS program to provide increased opportunities for out-of-school children in special cases and adult learners, including indigenous peoples, to develop basic and functional literacy and life skills towards complete basic education.