Up­hold­ing the right to ed­u­ca­tion

Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -

Reme­dios S. Catap

It is the man­date of the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (DepEd) to up­hold the right of ev­ery Filipino to qual­ity ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion by pro­vid­ing ac­cess, whether through pub­lic pro­grams or through ar­range­ments based on the prin­ci­ples of pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship.

This is why the Depart­ment as­sures the pub­lic of its com­mit­ment to con­tinue with the Se­nior High School Voucher Pro­gram (SHS VP).

Con­sis­tent with Sec­tion 10 of Repub­lic Act (RA) No. 10533 (An Act En­hanc­ing the Philip­pine Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Sys­tem by Strength­en­ing its Cur­ricu­lum and In­creas­ing the Num­ber of Years for Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion, Ap­pro­pri­at­ing Funds There­for and for Other Pur­poses), DepEd will con­tinue to en­gage the ser­vices of pri­vate ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions and non-DepEd pub­lic schools of­fer­ing SHS through the voucher pro­gram un­der the Ex­panded Gov­ern­ment As­sis­tance to Stu­dents and Teach­ers in Pri­vate Ed­u­ca­tion (E-GASTPE).

Pend­ing the is­suance of the 2019 Gen­eral Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Act (GAA), the na­tional bud­get for Fis­cal Year (FY) 2018 is deemed reen­acted. The reen­acted bud­get shall re­main in force un­til such time that the GAA is passed into law by Congress. Sub­se­quently, the Depart­ment of Bud­get and Man­age­ment (DBM) has re­leased Cir­cu­lar Let­ter No. 2019-01 (Re­lease of Funds for the First Quar­ter of FY 2019) stat­ing that in the ab­sence of the 2019 GAA, the bud­getary sup­port to cover the op­er­a­tions of all na­tional agen­cies is equiv­a­lent to the ap­pro­pri­a­tions based on the FY 2018 GAA (R.A. No. 10964, or the “Gen­eral Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Act 2018,” as reen­acted) or on the FY 2019 Na­tional Ex­pen­di­ture Pro­gram (NEP)— which­ever is lower[4].

Un­der the FY 2018 GAA, the to­tal ap­pro­pri­a­tion for the SHS VP in pri­vate and nonDepEd schools is P14.4 bil­lion, while the 2019 NEP is P20.3 bil­lion. As a re­sult, the pro­gram is short of funds equiv­a­lent to P5.9 bil­lion. In view of this, the ap­pli­ca­tion for the SHS VP for SY 2019-2020 is yet to be opened pend­ing the is­suance of the FY 2019 GAA.

How­ever, Grade 10 com­pleters in SY 2018-2019 who fall un­der the fol­low­ing cat­e­gories are au­to­mat­i­cally el­i­gi­ble and do not need to ap­ply for vouch­ers: 1) all Grade 10 com­pleters in pub­lic schools op­er­ated by DepEd; 2) all Grade 10 com­pleters in state and lo­cal univer­si­ties and col­leges (SUCs and LUCs); and 3) all Grade 10 com­pleters in pri­vate schools who are ESC grantees. These au­to­matic voucher re­cip­i­ents shall be ac­com­mo­dated in the pro­gram upon en­roll­ment in any SHS VP-par­tic­i­pat­ing school.

The au­thor is Teacher III at Pampanga High School

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