SOME members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) held a protest action Tuesday, September 15, 2020, as the House of Representatives committee on appropriations discussed the proposed 2021 budget of the Department of Education (DepEd).
DepEd is seeking a budget of P606.5 billion for 2021, the biggest allocation in the proposed 2021 National Expenditures Program.
Of this amount, 93.8 percent or P568.7 billion are new appropriations while the remaining 6.2 percent or P37.8 billion are automatic appropriations.
By expense class, personal services (PS) continues to get the majority share with P475.4 billion or 78.4 percent, followed by maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) with P98.7 billion or 6.3 percent, and capital outlay with P32.4 billion or 5.3 percent.
DepEd Undescretary Annalyn Sevilla said that the agency has no allocation for para-teachers assigned to far-flung areas where there is a shortage or absence of a professional teacher.
"The question on whether there is 2021 budget line item for hiring of para-teachers, there is none," Sevilla said.
"What we have is the creation of the regular teaching position and that is what we are planning to do next year. It is usually chargeable to PS savings given by DBM (Department of Budget and Management). There is no budget," she added.
DepEd Undersecretary for Planning and Field Operations Jesus Mateo assured the committee that they were finalizing the agency's draft policy governing the hiring of para-teachers.
Mateo said the source of funding for hiring para-teachers are the schools' MOOE and the Special Education Fund SEF.
“The source of funding on the draft policy will be the school MOEE if there is still school MOEE left and the other is Special Education Fund,” Mateo said.
Outside Congress, members of ACT renewed their call on the House of Representatives to "substantially increase" the agency's budget for 2021.
The group demanded that the House provide the following funding for the education sector: