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DepEd gets P10 billion more for key programs in 2020

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star
DepEd gets P10 billion more for key programs in 2020
The bicameral conference committee of the House and the Senate increased the budget of the DepEd for its government assistance subsidies (GAS) and the Last Mile Schools (LMS) program.
Ernie Peñaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) will get over P10 billion in additional funds next year for its key programs.

The bicameral conference committee of the House and the Senate increased the budget of the DepEd for its government assistance subsidies (GAS) and the Last Mile Schools (LMS) program.

In the 2020 national budget ratified by the House and the Senate, a copy of which was obtained by The STAR, the appropriation for GAS was increased from P31.18 billion to P36.7 billion or by about P5.5 billion.

By line item, the fund for Education Service Contracting Program for Private Junior High School was increased from P10.67 billion to P10.94 billion.

The budget for the Senior High School Voucher Program was increased from P18.75 billion to P23.93 billion. For non-DepEd public schools, the funds were raised from P592.39 million to P642.39 million.

The budget for LMS, on the other hand, was increased from P1.5 billion in the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) earlier passed by both chambers of Congress to P6.5 billion in the ratified version after the bicam conference, or by P5 billion. 

LMS aims to address the gaps in resources and facilities of schools that are located in geographically isolated and disadvantaged and conflict-affected areas (GIDCA).

This means a total increase of P10.5 billion for both GAS and LMS in the 2020 General Appropriations Act, which is now up for signature of President Duterte.

Apart from this, Congress also increased the budget for DepEd’s quick response fund by P100 million from P2 billion and likewise added a new item amounting to P100 million for learning resources for students with disabilities.

But while the appropriations for key programs of DepEd were increased in the ratified budget, the department’s budget for infrastructure projects under the item Basic Education Facilities for next year was cut by P6.5 billion.

Under the GAB, the item was allocated with P36,006,094,000. But in the ratified version of the budget, it became P29,506,094,000.

The funding for construction, replacement and completion of kindergarten, elementary and secondary school buildings and technical vocational laboratories and the construction of water and sanitation facilities was decreased from P19 billion to P12.935 billion.

The budget for engineering and administrative overhead expenses was also cut from P100 million to P65 million, while the budget released directly to the Department of Public Works and Highways for school buildings program was down from P50 million to P35 million.

The House had increased the proposed budget of DepEd by P800 million, from P550.89 billion to P551.69 billion during earlier budget deliberations.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano explained that they saw the insufficiency of funds of DepEd for the effective implementation of the K-12 program.

“We noticed that the purpose of K-12 to enable graduates to land in jobs has not been achieved because DepEd is still lacking in equipment, expertise and training of teachers. So if we want K-12 graduates to already get employment as electricians, automative, computer technician or in the arts or agriculture, the funds are not enough,” he stressed.

Deputy Speaker and 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero cited the need to sustain budgetary support for education programs of government.

“We need to build a better education system to be able to produce a highly competent workforce that will attract investors and will be beneficial to the country’s economy,” the economist-lawmaker pointed out. 

The DepEd had asked for P803.13 billion, but the Department of Budget and Management only recommended P550.89 billion for the department under the National Expenditure Program.

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION LMS
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