The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has granted an additional P4 billion to the Department of Education (DepEd) for the implementation of health measures in schools to protect teachers, non-teaching personnel, and the students in its proposed 2021 budget.
DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla bared this during the House Committee on Appropriations’ deliberations on the agency’s proposed budget for next year.
“In terms of allocation for the health, sanitation, and other 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 schools,” she told the lawmakers.
ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro asked the DepEd officials, led by Secretary Leonor Briones if there is budget allocation for health measures, health screening, sanitation, and disinfection of schools, functional clinics, and even Internet allowance for public school 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 for the testing, for the medical and treatment, that is for 2020, and for 2021,” she said.
The DepEd official said what they gave the teachers and other teaching-related and non-teaching personnel is the medical package under PhilHealth.
“We have facilitated our personnel to avail of this package, the usual medical treatment that is given especially by LGUs. I think LGUs are really very concerned in taking care of our teachers in the localities,” she said.
She added that for 2020 and 2021, they have “no authority” to grant allowances like Internet allowance.
“We can have expenses for communication but not as entitlement or allowance that will be given to them,” she said.
She said they originally proposed a P1.1 trillion budget for next year.
“Our proposal to the Department of Budget and Management is bigger than the NEP, which is as usual and we have provided them a proposal of P1.1 trillion actually, and P500 billion of this is for capital outlay, but in NEP 2021 we were given P605 billion out of that,” Sevilla said.
During the deliberations, Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Gabriel Bordado has proposed that public school teachers be given P3,000 monthly allowance to assist them in conducting their online classes.
Several bills granting monthly Internet allowance for public school teachers have been filed at the House of Representatives.