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ESCUDERO: RELEASE FUNDS FOR IN-PERSON CLASSES

Sorsogon Governor Chiz Escudero said the Department of Education (DepEd) should immediately release the funds to its field offices to prepare public schools across the country for face-to-face classes.

Escudero made the call following reports that teachers were spending their own money and taking out loans to retrofit their classrooms for the progressive expansion of in-person learning.

“I don’t understand why teachers are getting into debt to fix their own classrooms when the DepEd has received a significant increase in its annual budget.”

“I don’t understand why teachers are getting into debt to fix their own classrooms when the DepEd has received a significant increase in its annual budget. Where is the P1 billion DepEd said will be distributed to public schools to support blended learning?” the governor said.

“Para sa isang ahensya na taon-taon ay pinakamalaki ang pondo, ayon sa Konstitusyon, nakakahiya naman yatang mga guro pa ang papagastusin natin sa pag-aayos ng mga classrooms nila,” he said.

In the 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA), education was given a budget of P788.5 billion, of which Php631.77 billion would go to the DepEd.

This represents a 6.34% increase from the agency’s P594.11 billion allocation in the 2021 GAA.

The bigger budget allowed the DepEd to increase its Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) threshold from P15,000 to P50,000 for its field offices.

On top of this, the agency allotted P1 billion for public schools to acquire television, speakers, laptops and other things needed to support blended learning in the expansion phase.

“Kung may budget naman, bakit kailangang ang mga guro muna ang gumastos pagkatapos ay ire-reimburse ng DepEd regional offices?”

“Kung may budget naman, bakit kailangang ang mga guro muna ang gumastos pagkatapos ay ire-reimburse ng DepEd regional offices? Dapat mayroong maayos at mabilis na mekanismo ang DepEd para siguraduhing ang inilaan para sa pag-aayos ng mga silid-aralan ay magagamit agad,” said Escudero, who is seeking a return to the Senate.

According to the DepEd, 17,254 public and private schools have started doing face-to-face classes as of April 5.

This is nearly thrice the number of schools nationwide that passed the School Safety Assessment Test in February and were allowed to conduct face-to-face learning.

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