PUBLIC school teachers on Wednesday marched to the House of Representatives, calling for an increase in the education budget for 2023.
“A significant increase to as much as two times the current education budget is central to enabling a 100% safe school reopening and recovering education from the learning crisis,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines Chairman Vladimer Quetua said in a statement.
“With the projected gross domestic product of P23.73 trillion in 2023, the government should spend about P1.42 trillion on education,” he added.
The House heard Education officials on the agency’s proposed budget for next year. Vice-President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio said they had initially proposed P810.41 billion but the budget department only gave them P666.25 billion, which is 12.7% higher than this year.
Ms. Carpio said the Budget department had allotted P5.9 billion for the construction of 2,739 classrooms, lower than the original proposal of P86.4 billion for 34,468 new classrooms.
DepEd had proposed P7.6 billion for the repair of 11,700 classrooms, but the budget department only allotted P1.5 billion covering 2,358 classrooms, she added.
The state should prioritize education, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez said at the hearing, citing the Constitution.
Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, Baguio City Rep. Mark O. Go and Misamis Oriental Rep. Yevgeny Vincente B. Emano supported an increase in DepEd’s budget.
Meanwhile, Party-list Rep. France L. Castro asked Ms. Carpio about overpriced laptops bought by the agency, which the Senate is investigating.
The vice-president said they had requested fraud audits from the Commission on Audit and ordered the agency’s chief of staff to explain the purchase. — Kyanna Angela Bulan