The Department of Education (DepEd) has been cited by former Senator Panfilo Lacson as one of the agencies with the highest lumpsum or discretionary budgets under the 2015 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
While the Honorable Senator did not enumerate the details of the PhP80.7 billion lumpsum budget attributed to DepEd, he may have been referring to aggregate amounts that are not discretionary in nature, but are intended for specific expenditures. Such funds include the construction of classrooms for the Senior High School (SHS) program, school repairs and other infrastructure needs (PhP36.9 billion), the budget for salaries of new teachers to be hired and other personnel requirements of the Department (PhP25.6 billion), the conduct of a school based feeding program for undernourished children (PhP2.4 billion), and the training of teachers on the enhanced K to 12 curriculum (PhP2.0 billion).
These budgets have been derived based on actual need and plans prepared by schools and DepEd’s field offices, especially in relation to the implementation of the SHS program. In the case of the SHS construction budget, the schools have already been identified and construction programs for these schools have been defined. The list of SHS schools with programmed classroom construction is available on the DepEd website.
The DepEd maintains that these budgets are not discretionary and shall be used only for these intended purposes and actual need.