Additional P4B given to DepEd for health measures in schools

Additional P4B given to DepEd for health measures in schools

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has given the Department of Education (DepEd) an additional P4 billion under the proposed budget for 2021 for health-related measures in schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

During the hearing of the House committee on appropriations on DepEd’s proposed budget for next year, ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro asked if the government agency has allocations for health measures, health screening, sanitation, and disinfection of schools. 

DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said the DBM has granted them P4 billion for such. 

“In terms of allocation for the health, sanitation, and another minimum health standard, the DBM gave us additional funding for that in the amount of P4 billion and this will be allocated to all our division and schools,” Sevilla said. 

Castro likewise asked if DepEd has an allocation for internet allowance and medical assistance for teachers. 

“Internet allowance and medical treatment are actually not part of the budget because there is a health agency which is in charge of that, the DOH (Department of Health) and PhilHealth,” Sevilla said.

“Nevertheless, our Department has communicated with the DBM and the Commission on Audit to clarify and give us authorization just in case that there will be financial assistance that will be needed. We are not authorized under the budget, because there is no budget item that is for the testing, for the medical and for the treatment, that is for 2020, and for 2021,” she added. 

Higher budget proposal

Sevilla added that they initially requested for a P1.1 trillion budget from the DBM for 2021. However, the budget department only granted them P605 billion. 

Castro lamented the lower budget granted to DepEd. 

“Parang unprecedented ito na number two among the agencies ang Department of Education. Traditionally number one and DepEd,” said Castro. 

“Nakikita natin dito ang priority ng gobyerno,” she added. 

DepEd has the second-highest for next year among the different government agencies, just behind the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).