Press Release
May 11, 2023

Pia: education budget must take full consideration of the entirety of the sector's needs, including teachers' welfare

Highlights of the interpellation of Senator Pia S Cayetano on SBN 1964, the Teaching Supplies Allowance Bill (Senate session, May 10, 2023)
Note: Senator Cayetano is the Senior Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee that handles education and health, and one of the commissioners of the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM II)

Thank you, Mr President. I told the sponsor (Senator Ramon 'Bong' Revilla Jr.) that I would be very brief. My concerns, with the permission of the sponsor, if I may mention it now, are basically related to the fact that I defend the budget of the Department of Education.

I don't think there is anyone in this entire chamber who would object to supporting the measure in terms of the objective that it has. But my line of questioning, and I told his honor that we can discuss this during the period of amendment for simplicity's sake, is really just to put on record these concerns. What is the total budget that we are looking at to fulfill the mandate of this bill? How many teachers are we referring to, and how many teachers are going to be covered? We have had a budget in the past few years, but this is going to be bigger. So those are the numbers that I just need clarity on, your honors, because when the time for the budget debate happens, we will take it up anyway. * This is more of a statement rather than a question. I am fully supportive of the need to support our teachers, but I also want to put on record that there is, as we all know, an EDCOM II, which is chaired by our Basic Education Committee Chairman, Sen. Win Gatchalian.

And we are reviewing many things that need to be funded for the education sector. Top of mind of course is the welfare of our teachers, but also the need for us to provide them with better education, whether it is during their preparatory stage, which is when they are still students, and then even later on.

So since I handle the budget of DepEd, it will be my fifth year this coming budget season, mindful lang po ako na napakalaki ang kailangan talagang gastusin for the entire DepEd sector. So it is my fervent hope that we will be able to find sufficient funding for all of this. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Mr sponsor.

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