/ 17 November 2022

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian wants to increase the Department of Education’s capital outlay budget for Special Education from P96 million to P160 million to ensure that every region will have a model Inclusive Learning Resource Center for Learners with Disabilities.

The P96 million allocation was intended for the conversion of 16 SPED Centers to ILRCs, which will 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.

These centers are also mandated to implement inclusive education programs.

The minimum funding requirement for the conversion of SPED centers ranges from P8 million to P10 million.

“This representation sincerely recommends that we increase the budget of capital outlay from P96 million to P160 million just to convert SPED centers in all regions, and we will have one model ILRC per region,” Gatchalian said.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education plans to submit his proposals on potential funding sources to the Senate Committee on Finance.

He said that ensuring funds for SPED is aligned with Republic Act 11650 or Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act, which he sponsored during the 18th Congress.

The law mandates the Department of Education, in collaboration with local government units, to initially establish and maintain at least one ILRC in all cities and municipalities.

As of March 14, 2022, there were 126,598 learners with disabilities enrolled in DepEd schools.