A SENATOR has proposed to raise the 2023 budget for learning centers for persons with disabilities to P160 million from P96 million.
“This representation sincerely recommends that we increase the budget of capital outlay from P96 million to P160 million just to convert SPED (Special Education) centers in all regions, and we will have one model ILRC (Inclusive Learning Resource Centers) per region,” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Basic Education Committee, said in a statement on Wednesday.
The budget increase is intended for the conversion of 16 SPED ILRC nationwide.
These centers are mandated to provide free support services to learners with disabilities such as language and speech therapy, physical and physiotherapy, and qualified sign language interpreters, among other components that facilitate the learning process.
Mr. Gatchalian noted the need to ensure support for learners with disabilities, especially since they are among the most affected by restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citing data from the Department of Education (DepEd), he said only 126,598 learners with disabilities enrolled in school year 2021-2022, 65% lower than the 360,879 recorded in 2019-2020.
The senator said he will soon submit his proposals on potential funding sources to the Senate Finance Committee.
The proposed 2023 budget for the DepEd and its attached agencies is currently at P678.1 billion. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan