THE Department of Education (DepEd) Central Visayas admitted that there are minimal cases of drug involvement and abuse among some of its personnel in the region.

DepEd 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez said on Friday, September 30, 2022, that some of these cases are under investigation, but he said he could not divulge further information at the moment.

Jimenez said some of the personnel were teachers.

"I could not give an estimated number, although it is very minimal, like less than 10," said Salustiano.

On Thursday, September 29, Vice President Sara Duterte told the Senate committee on finance, which is hearing DepEd’s “confidential fund” of P150 million, that among the issues the education department is currently facing and trying to address are drug involvement of students and personnel, terrorism, violent extremism, scam, insurgency, and abuses.

She assured the Senate panel that DepEd’s fund will only be used to support activities that are permitted under the rules of the government.

“We’d like to put it on record that we reassure the Congress and the public that these funds will be used in relation to what is allowed in the joint circular of those agencies mentioned earlier 2015-01,” she said.

Jimenez said Friday, September 30, that DepEd 7 has a team to investigate these cases and to impose sanctions, including suspension and dismissal from service if necessary.

In terms of abuse, Jimenez advised teachers to reprimand unruly students by words and to minimize implementing corporal punishments.

The regional director urged the public to report cases of abuse and drugs among DepEd personnel to the DepEd Help Desk Region 7, DepEd 7 Facebook page, and their website.

He also assured that the region is free of terrorism cases.

Duterte, during the Senate committee hearing, also admitted that there is a "crisis situation" in Philippine education, citing the country's educational system that is “too theoretical” in addressing learning loss rather than being practical and looking at the competent side of it.

She said they have already laid out solutions to solving these problems. These include creating a learning recovery and continuity plan, such as profiling and clustering learners based on academic needs, expanding learning time, conducting end of the school year or summer learning remediation intervention program, and engaging parents or legal guardians in facilitating learning.

Duterte added the agency also plans to intensify the implementation of reading intervention programs and the English language for subjects taught in English, conduct regular home visitation and follow-ups, and strengthen instructional supervision, among others.

DepEd is proposing a total P710.6 billion budget for 2023, higher than its current appropriation of P633.3 billion.

Duterte asked Congress to give the agency an additional P100 billion on top of the P710 billion allocation to perform the agency’s plans. (HIC)