Senate Questioned Unspent P21.5B DepEd Budget in 2016

Due to the issue about unspent budget from the Department of Education (DepEd) in 2016 amounting to 21.5 billion pesos, the Senate Committee on Finance grilled the officials who attend the hearing on Monday.

The department needs to explain things further before the next budget.

From the latest news reports online, the officials of the Department of Education needed to give their sides in front of the Senate Committee on Finance because of the issue about the unspent 2016 budget of the department. According to the shared information, the committee wants DepEd to explain about the non-spent P21.5 billion budget.

The hearing on Monday focused on weighing in the capacity of the department in spending the allocated budget because the submitted proposal for the 2018 budget is bigger that is amounting to P613.1 billion.

Senator Loren Legarda instructed the education agency to complete and submit their list of infrastructures and programs affected when they returned the money to different unsuitable surplus of the general fund from the government. In addition to this, the lady senator wants them to specify the exact reasons on why they incurred the P21.5 billion budget last year.

“Before we even talk about giving you a new budget, we want to know why you returned P21.5 billion. Last week, we were very disappointed, saddened by the Department of Transportation returning P11.5 billion. Now we see DepEd returning P21.5 billion,” Senator Legarda as detailed by the Inquirer news.

“When we return funds to the Treasury, that means there are people unserved, there are classrooms not rehabilitated, there are books not printed and there are children not helped,” she continued.

The lady senator is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance.

Based on the explanation of the department, they utilized about 12 billion pesos for the teacher positions, 1.3 billion pesos for provision and maintenance of basic education facilities, 5 billion pesos for Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (Gastpe), 3.6 billion pesos for provision of textbooks and instructional materials and 1 billion pesos for the technical vocational supplies, as detailed by the news reports.

DepEd is supposedly to use such budget from its allocations in 2015. However, they just carried the money over the 2016 budget.

Current Education Secretary Leonor Briones attended the hearing and answered the questions in front of the panel on Monday.

DepEd to Train School Officials, Involves Tobacco Control Policy

The Department of Education (DepEd) revealed that public school officials need to undergo proper training to assure that the comprehensive policy on tobacco control will be strictly implemented.

From the released statement of the department few days ago, it prepared the necessary program to train public school teachers about the importance of adhering to the tobacco control policy. The in-charge health officers, writers from the DepEd offices in Central Luzon, Calabarzon and NCR, as well as the program specialists drafted the training manual on month, according from the news online.

Part of the training involves the Child Protection Committee (CPC) members and principals in all public schools in the Philippines to make sure they strictly impose the DepEd Order No. 48, which they issued in 2016.

All school teachers and officials must follow the comprehensive tobacco policy and must enforce the necessary actions for those who will not follow the guidelines.

The Department of Education want to make sure that it does not permit any illegal action or interference by the tobacco industry, which usually create their own strategies in terms of not following the policies for tobacco control.

Recently, there are news reports that some tobacco manufacturers are breaking the rules and so the government needed to file legal charges against them.