/ 2 July 2021

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers slammed the Department of Education’s failure to use some P1.744 billion Bayanihan 2 allotment for distance learning needs.

The funds can no longer be used because the Bayanihan 2 law lapsed on June 30.

The group demanded that DepEd list the items and programs that will be affected since the funds allotted to education will revert to the national treasury. It said the department should bare what it plans to do now that the budget is no longer available.

Reports said that as of June 15, 2021, the DepEd failed to obligate about 40 percent of the P4.3 billion allocation for distance learning needs, thereby topping the list of agencies with the biggest unspent money provided by the law.

“Matinding kapalpakan at kamanhidan ng DepEd na sa gitna ng kakapusan sa badyet at malaking gastos ng mga guro, estudyante at magulang sa distance learning ay pinabayaan pa nitong mawala ang kulang na ngang pondo. We demand accountability from the highest officials who have been remiss of their duties, and solutions on how to make up for the lost funds,” Raymond Basilio, the group’s secretary general, said.

The DepEd announced in May that it has utilized the P4.3 billion Bayanihan 2 funds, with P2.4 billion allotted for the procurement of 68,500 laptops for teachers; P1.2 billion for 100GB per teacher internet data provision, which will be valid for three to six months; P300 million for student subsidies and allowances; P150 million for modules; and P200 million for DepEd TV.

“Isang linggo na lang ang pasukan pero hanggang ngayon, wala pa ang mga laptop at data provision para sa mga guro. Niloloko lang ba tayo ng DepEd?” Basilio asked.

He deplored the department’s “fiscal irresponsibility.”

“The biggest deterrent to our efforts to surmount these crises is the top officials’ total apathy to the people’s sufferings. In other words, walang pakialam ang gobyernong ito sa atin, sa pangunguna na mismo ni Pangulong Duterte. But as they are public officials, this indifference is tantamount to criminal neglect for which they shall be held accountable,” Basilio said.