Salinlahi Hits Duterte Gov’t for Slashing Budget for Education

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The child rights group, Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns, scored the huge slash in the education budget next year. The Department of Education (DepEd) proposed budget is P803.13 billion, but the Department of Budget and Management only approved P550 billion under the 2020 national budget.

“How come the Duterte government will allocate budget that will cater to 8,000 classrooms only when 106,081 classrooms are needed? Instead of increasing the budget to make education free, accessible and of quality, the DBM even deducted a significant amount. This only proved that the Duterte government’s free and quality education remains mere rhetorics,” stated Eule Rico Bonganay, Salinlahi secretary-general.

One of the items slashed from the education budget was the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) for the year 2020. There are 766,995 GASTPE beneficiaries next year compared to 1,225,688 this year.

“While Salinlahi believes that the GASTPE has been a milking cow of the private sector, the fact is that the amount slashed was not reallocated to build new classrooms to accommodate all the students and provide free education,” Bonganay said. Citing the data of Save the Children, Salinlahi noted that there are 1.3 million out of school children in 2019.

“Under the K to 12 programs, senior high school students are forced to transfer to private schools. The government’s failure to comply with basic education facilities such as classrooms and equipment, continues to be a problem ever since the implementation of K to 12 started. We see that it gets worse every year as the poor families become poorer due to high prices of basic goods and commodities”, Bonganay added.

Salinlahi urges Congress to question the DBM’s move and resolve to increase the budget for education to fully realize the Filipino children’s basic right to free accessible and quality education and not become another promise unfulfilled. ###