/ 19 September 2020

KABATAAN Partylist  Rep. Sarah Jane Elago has called on the Department of Education to stop schools from collecting unnecessary fees.

“Ang mga estudyante po ay nagla-lobby para tanggalin na ‘yung mga fees kagaya nung internet at energy fee dahil sila naman po ay mag-study sa bahay, so sila rin po ay gumagastos para sa internet at koryente kaya marami po talagang nadi-discourage na mag-enroll dahil patuloy pa ring sinisingil ang internet at energy fee,” Elago said.

She asked DepEd to submit a list of fees being collected by private educational institutions.

“Education is a right and the government should ensure that everyone will be able to continue their studies especially amid the pandemic,” the lawmaker stressed.

She also called on DepEd to fast track the delivery of financial assistance to qualified students and displaced teaching and non-teaching personnel provided under Bayanihan 2.

She made the call after DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said that the department is waiting for the guidelines on the implementation of the law.

“May 865 schools na nagbigay na ng kanilang intent na tumigil pansamantala ng operations sa taong ito at nasa 4,000 plus ‘yung mga private school teachers na apektado at nasa 58,000 naman ang mga estudyante,” Elago said.

She also decried the reduction of the allocations for campus journalism organizations by 95 percent, and the grant of a zero budget to special education programs under the National Expenditure Program.

The Department of Budget and Management said that the budget cut was justified by recent events and realignments.

It added that the budget for Special Education has been incorporated in the maintenance and other operations expenses of schools.

However, Elago maintained that the promotion of campus journalism should continue and urged her colleagues in the House Committee on Appropriations to reconsider the budget for campus journalism.