Plan to purchase supplies, books for Cebu schools canceled-A A +A
Monday, September 3, 2012
CEBU CITY – Mayor Michael Rama decided to cancel the purchase and distribution of school supplies for public elementary students, as well as books for public high school teachers, this year.
The mayor received no reply from the Office of the President to his request to allow the City Government to buy bags and notebooks for the students.
The letter was sent two months ago and asked Malacañang for an exemption from the Commission on Audit (COA) circular that prohibits the use of the Special Education Fund (SEF) for the purchase of school supplies.
“Apiki na kaayo, late na. Kung mamalit ta, kinahanglang mahatag sa mga tinun-an (If we’re going to buy school supplies, we should give these to them) at the opening of classes,” Rama said.
The mayor also called off his proposal to buy instructional materials for public high school teachers because of time constraints.
He said, though, that City Hall may purchase the school supplies for public elementary students and the books for public high school teachers next year. An ally in the City Council said the same thing.
It was learned that the Local School Board (LSB), which the mayor heads, allocted some P30 million for school supplies from the SEF and P20 million for instructional materials.
But under the law, there are only 11 items that can be funded by the SEF. These include the construction or repair of school buildings and the hiring of additional teaching personnel for extension classes.
Purchasing of school supplies is not on the list.
The SEF amounts to one percent of each local government’s real property tax collections.
We’ll do it earlier next time: Daluz
Despite the cancellation of the plan to buy bags and instructional materials, Rama said the funds will be used for other educational needs of public elementary and high school students in the city.
Councilor Joey Daluz, the mayor’s representative in the LSB, said they may include the budget for school supplies in the proposed 2013 annual budget.
“Amo lang siguro nga i-process ug sayo aron (We will process this early so that) by June of next year, mahatag gyud nato sa mga tinun-an ang mga (we can give the children their) bags and notebooks,” Daluz said.
He said that Rama also sent another letter to Malacañang, asking for an exemption to purchase two buses using the SEF, but the Office of the President has yet to act on it.
Daluz said they will continue the plan to buy the buses anytime this year, once Malacañang gives the go-signal.
The councilor added that the two buses, totaling P13 million, will be used by students in the north and south districts in the city.
He also said that the LSB has started to purchase 10,000 armchairs for public high schools in the city amounting to P14.5 million. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 03, 2012.