The Department of Education (DepEd) has provided an explanation regarding its ₱150 million confidential fund in question.
In a statement on Monday, September 19, DepEd said that civilian offices, including DepEd, are allowed to have a confidential fund.
According to DepEd, this has a solid legal basis in accordance with Joint Circular 2015-01 of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
“Confidential expenses are allowed for all civilian offices, including the Department of Education. This has solid legal basis as provided under [Department of Budget and Management] Joint Circular 2015-01,” according to the DepEd.
“The threats to the learning environment, safety, and security of DepEd personnel are interlocking with the mandate of support to the national security of civilian offices,” the agency added.
It can be remembered that Vice President Sara Duterte, who is also DepEd secretary, first defended such funds.
She said it could be used to address the problem of violence, including sexual abuse, graft, corruption, illegal drugs, insurgency, terrorism, child labor, and others.
DepEd explains the ₱150M confidential funds
According to the DepEd, such issues are just some of the unlawful acts that require the support of surveillance and intelligence gathering to ensure that the department’s projects are target-specific and will result in greater protection of their personnel and student.
“We hope that this will enlighten our stakeholders that DepEd does not only face problems with access, equity, and quality education but also has to contend with pressing issues on safety and security,” he said.
For the first time, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) called on DepEd to rechannel their ₱150-million confidential funds to address learning shortages such as laptops, books, and the hiring of school security personnel.
Meanwhile, DepEd’s Special Education (SPED) receives zero budget from the NEP.
The education department stated in a statement on Monday (September 19) that they have recommended P532 million for SPED in the 2019 fiscal year.
“Unfortunately, despite our earnest efforts to advocate for our learners with special needs, it was not considered in the National Expenditure Program (NEP). This is true for two other programs that were excluded from the NEP,” they said.