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Teachers’ group wants higher 2021 budget for DepEd

A teachers’ group on Tuesday asked Congress on Tuesday to “substantially increase” the Department of Education’s (DepEd) budget for 2021 so that the country could provide quality education for all.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), trooped to the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City, said DepEd deserves a higher budget so that it could ensure the safety of learners and education workers.

This, despite the fact that the education sector receives the lion’s share of the national budget annually as mandated by law.

“Despite claims of pushing for a new normal, Duterte’s budget for education reflected more of the same insufficiency,” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said in a statement.

“Considering that the same state neglect we suffered for years mainly caused our inability to efficiently shift to remote learning and to safely and timely reopen schools this year, it’s appalling to see how little funds had been allocated to DepEd,” he added.

The group demands the following for the 2021 national budget:

• P16.9 billion to warrant a 1:1 nurse-to-school ratio

• P3.5 billion to provide at least 1,000 personal protective equipment to every school district

• P9.7 billion for minimum safety requirements such as alcohol, disposable masks, face shields, and foot baths

• P7 billion for RT-PCR tests of 10 percent of education workers every 14 days

• P10 billion for the medical treatment of DepEd employees who may get COVID-19

• P27 billion to provide laptops to every teacher

• P15 billion to grant a P1,500 internet allowance per month to all educators

• P33.8 billion to provide gadgets to the poorest 5 percent of learners in basic education

The government has allocated P606.5 billion of its proposed P4.5 trillion 2021 budget for DepEd as the Philippine education system shifts to distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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