NAWALANG P560-M BUDGET PARA SA LEARNERS WITH DISABILITIES (LWDs), PINARERESOLBA SA KAMARA

ILANG kongresista ang umaapela na masigurong mabibigyan ng kaukulang pondo sa susunod na taon ang Special Education (SpEd) Program ng Department of Education (DepEd), na ang layuning ay matugunan ang pangangailangan ng special children o learners with disabilities (LWDs) para sila ay makapag-aral.

Nang isalang sa plenaryo ng Kamara ang panukalang P710.6 billion na badget ng DepEd para sa susunod na taon, muling natalakay ang ‘zero budget’ ng SPED program sa ilalim ng isinumite ng Department of Budget and Management (DBM) na kabuuang P5.68 trillion na 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP).

Paggigiit ni House Committee on Appropriations Vice Chairperson at Davao de Oro 1st. Dist. Rep. Maria Carmen Zamora, hindi naman nagkulang ang DepEd, na ay mayroon request sa DBM na P560-M bilang pondo para sa SpEd sa susunod na taon, subalit hindi ito naaprubahan.

Bunsod nito, hiniling ng ilang mambabatas, kabilang si neophyte Ako llocano Ako party-list Rep. Richelle Singson na kapwa hanapan ng solusyon ng Lower House at DepEd ang kinakaharap na problema sa implementasyon ng SpEd pagsapit ng 2023.

“It is surprising that there is zero budget allocation for LWDs in the proposed 2023 DepEd budget, considering that there has been a continuing appropriation in the DepEd budget in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA) since 2019 until 2022,” pagbibigay-diin ng lady party-list lawmaker.

“To agree to the zero budget would be tantamount to accepting that all the compulsory laws, which Congress painstakingly passed, are ‘dead letter laws’. I empathize with our special children, not only for the sake of being a mother myself, but because, as Representatives of the people, it is our moral and legal duties to help and care for them because they need more attention compared with other children,” tahasang sabi pa ni Singson.

Paalaala ng Ako llocano Ako party-list congresswoman, noon lamang Marso 11, 2022 ay nilagdaan ni dating Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte ang Republic Act No. 11650, o ang “Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act,” na naglalayong mabigyan ang lahat ng LWDs ng “free and appropriate public early and basic education and support” at iba pa pangangailangan nila sa kanilang pag-aaral upang matulungan sila na magkaroon ng maayos at mabuting pamumuhay at estado sa lipunan.

Samantala, bilang tugon, sinabi ni Zamora na hinahanapan na ng DepEd, mula sa internal budget nito, ang pondo na maaaring mai-realign, kabilang na ang panukalang P150 million confidential fund ng ahensiya, para ilaan na lamang sa SpEd program. ROMER R. BUTUYAN