Press Release
September 30, 2022

Realignment of funds sought to beef up DepEd's budget

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III urged Congress to consider a realignment of the Department of Education's P150- million confidential funds.

This as he questioned the necessity for such a huge funding for a civilian agency tasked to promote education, not security concerns which are the very purpose of confidential and intelligence funds.

"Hindi lang namin kukwenstyunin. Mag-attempt kaming i-amend. Siguro ilipat natin sa program or activity na directly related to education," Pimentel said in an interview at the sidelines of a budget hearing in the Senate on Friday.

Pimentel noted it's the first time that DepEd has requested for confidential funds.

The Senate chief said the DepEd, headed by Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio, may keep the P150 million but stressed "that it should be used to support basic education program."

This as he noted how the country's education system has deteriorated in recent years.

"If you want to retain the funds within the agency, then it should be transferred to programs directly related to basic education," he said in the interview.

But Pimentel said the minority, which includes Senator Risa Hontiveros, will determine whether to realign the funds within the agency or transfer it to other agencies in need of additional funding.

The Senate chief fiscalizer and chairman of the PDP Laban also sees the need to remove the CIFs lodged under the Office of the Vice President worth P500 million to free up some fiscal space for the government's much-needed social and health programs.

He cited as an example the request of the Ombudsman for more funding to bolster its anti-corruption campaign.

Pimentel said that confidential and intelligence funds are "prone to abuse and discretion."

"Generally speaking, we discourage the allocation for CIFs, primarily because these are lump-sum funds and, secondly, the auditing is very minimal," Pimentel said.

"Sa Medium-Term Fiscal Framework ng Marcos administration, sinabi nila ang goal nila ay 'growth inducing expenditures.' Is that a growth inducing expenditure? Let's be consistent with our public posturing," he stressed.

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