September 22, 2017PASIG CITY, September 22, 2017 – Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones emphasized on Monday that the Department of Education (DepEd) has made significant strides in arresting, albeit not completely, the decline in its budget utilization.
In enumerating the Department’s continuous efforts in reforming its internal procedures to judiciously allocate and spend its annual fund, the Secretary admitted to the Senate Committee on Finance (Subcommittee D) that while improvement is underway, DepEd still has its share of underspending.
“We are now recovering from the decline in utilization in 2015. It will be recalled that in 2015, we reported a decline in the utilization of budget. We have arrested it but not completely. We have to be honest about it,” the Education chief pointed out.
In the last five years, DepEd recorded the following budget utilization performance (BUR): 92% in 2012, 94% in 2013, 90% in 2014, and 88% in 2015. In 2016, half of which the current administration is accountable for, saw an increase at 90% as of August 31, 2017. This is 5% higher than the 85% BUR target for the year.
By definition of DepEd’s Office of the Undersecretary for Finance – Budget and Monitoring, “underspending refers to a government agency’s spending less than what was appropriated for its use as provided in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).” It further stated that “for the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), underspending is the sum of ‘unreleased appropriations’ and ‘unobligated allotments’. However, both components do not connote to underspending yet, as most of unreleased appropriations were released in the following year and some of the unobligated allotments were eventually obligated due to the two-year validity of appropriations.”
Cognizant of the massive challenge in budget utilization, plaguing not just DepEd but other agencies as well, Secretary Briones initiated interventions to improve fund utilization and delivery upon her assumption of office in 2016. To improve DepEd’s absorptive capacity, the following financial reforms are being implemented:
Interventions to improve BUR
Moving toward a more effective utilization of the proposed 2018 budget, DepEd has placed the following interventions:
Secretary Briones also welcomed the support expressed by legislators to help DepEd curb roadblocks in operation and catch up with budget spending through the possible amendment of several laws.
“Gusto naming pag 2018 dere-derecho na. We will not repeat the three-month delay, which we underwent in 2017. Ayaw na naming ulitin yan. . . I have directed our Legal office to look at laws and existing policies which inhibit efficient implementation of planned programs and projects because we have a huge accumulation of laws, policies, procedures which may not necessarily be facilitative anymore. We make laws to speed up implementation, to give services to the people. But sometimes the procedures, or the IRRs, have the impact of delaying delivery,” Secretary Briones expounded during the Senate hearing.
Among the legislations that may need to be revisited are the Government Procurement Reform Act; Book Publishing Industry Development Act; Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines; Magna Carta for Public School Teachers; Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001; Guidance and Counselling Act of 2004; Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education Act; and Granting Priority to Residents of the Barangay, Municipality or City Where the School is Located, in the Appointment or Assignment of Classroom Public School Teachers.
Source: Deped Website
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