/ 16 September 2022

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers questioned the P150 million confidential funds in the Department of Education’s proposed 2023 budget saying that the department should use the allocation to fill the gaps in learning needs.

“P150 million can already procure 150,000 armchairs, or about three million textbooks, or 4,286 laptops for teachers at P35,000 per unit. It can go a long way in providing for the lacking learning and teaching materials that hamper education recovery,” Vladimer Quetua, the group’s chairperson, said.

“At a time of a grave learning crisis, apportioning such amount for dubious activities purportedly to ward off the entry of supposed enemies of the State in the education sector is highly unjustified,” he added.

If the DepEd is really concerned with the safety and security in schools, it could have allotted the amount to hire security, which most public schools lack, he said

“It could have allocated the amount to DepEd’s child protection program which now has zero budget. It should have been earmarked for above board items which benefits to education can be concretely seen,” Quetua added.

The group is concerned that the money will be used to fund red-tagging seminars that attack legitimate unions or subject the teachers, employees and students to profiling and surveillance.

“Iimbestigahan n’yo na rin ba kami kung may kamag-anak kaming miyembro ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan gaya nang itinutulak ni Sen. Francis Tolentino?” Quetua asked.

“If any, these confidential funds can only accomplish one thing: trample on our basic rights to privacy, to organization, and free expression. Our schools are not battle grounds. They are supposed to be safe spaces for learning which are now embattled with deep crisis,” he said.