/ 10 December 2022

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday gave assurances that the government will provide funding support for learners with disabilities in the 2023 national budget.

“Magandang balita para sa ating mga learners with disabilities na nakapaglaan tayo ng pondo para sa mga programang sumusuporta sa kanila. Patuloy nating titiyakin na pagdating sa dekalidad na edukasyon at sa patuloy na pagbangon ng ating bansa mula sa pandemya ng Covid-19, hindi mapag-iiwanan ang mga learners with disabilities,” the chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education said.

Gatchalian reiterated that ensuring funding support for learners with disabilities aligns with the government’s mandate to implement Republic Act 11650 or Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act which was signed into law this year.

Under the law, the Department of Education, in collaboration with local government units, shall initially establish and maintain at least one Inclusive Learning Resource Center for learners with disabilities in every city and municipality.

The law also mandates that all existing Special Education centers shall be converted into ILRCs.

ILRCs are mandated to implement inclusive education programs and deliver free support services to learners with disabilities, including language and speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical and physiotherapy, provision of qualified sign language interpreters, and other similar services, aids, and actions that facilitate the learning process.

Gatchalian said that his proposal to add P64 million to DepEd’s P96 million budget for the conversion of SPEDs was carried in the bicameral conference committee report on the 2023 national budget.

The P160 million budget will allow each region to convert at least one SPED center into a model ILRC.

The bicam report also carried Gatchalian’s proposal to allocate P100 million for instructional materials for learners with disabilities.