Budget Watch

Hontiveros on DepEd confidential funds: Leave intelligence operations to experts

Bonz Magsambol

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Hontiveros on DepEd confidential funds: Leave intelligence operations to experts

HONTIVEROS. Senator Risa Hontiveros updates the Senate media on the near expiration and expired COVID-19 vaccines on August 3, 2022.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

Senator Risa Hontiveros says that she will make the 'proper motion' to realign the controversial funds 'at the proper time'

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros has this advice for Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte: leave intelligence operations that need confidential funds to experts.

Ang sa akin po, iwan po natin sa mga eksperto ang anumang confidential o kahit intelligence operation na maikokondukta ng DepEd ay magiging redundant. Eh bakit? Mayroon na po tayong mga existing national security, defense, law enforcement, pati women’s and children protection, na governmental bodies and programs,” Hontiveros said in her Radyo Singko interview on Tuesday, November 15.

(For me, let’s leave to experts whatever confidential or whatever intelligence operation that would be conducted by the Department of Education [DepEd] would be redundant. Why? We already have existing [programs on] national security, defense, law enforcement, even women’s and children protection.)

On Monday night, November 14, the DepEd’s P710-billion budget for 2023 and its P150-million confidential funds, were approved by the Senate.

Despite this, Hontiveros said that she would do the “proper motion” to realign the controversial funds “at the proper time.”

“Gagawin ko po ‘yung proper motion para i-realign ‘yung DepEd confidential fund na iyan, dahil mas magagamit po natin ‘yan sa mas mahalagang prayoridad para sa mga batang mag-aaral natin,” the Senator said.

(I will make the proper motion to realign the DepEd confidential funds, because these can be used for more important things that would benefit students.)

The inclusion of confidential funds in the DepEd budget was unprecedented. In the past, the DepEd budget was itemized solely for educational programs in the country.

Kaya nga nakakagulat. Sa gitna pa ng ating education crisis na tinatawag, ‘yung recent na findings sa ASEAN, tayo ang pinaka-apektado ng learning poverty, kaya lalong common sense i-realign na lang itong confidential fund,” Hontiveros said.

(That’s why it’s surprising. In the middle of an education crisis, the recent findings in the ASEAN, we are the most affected by learning poverty, that’s why it’s really common sense to just realign these confidential funds.)

Duterte earlier defended the inclusion of confidential funds in the DepEd budget, saying that these will be used for security and surveillance of personnel involved in “sexual grooming of learners, recruitment in terrorism and violent extremism, drug use of DepEd staff.”

On Monday, the Senate also approved the Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) P2.92-billion budget, which is a three-fold increase from its 2022 allocation. The OVP budget for 2023 included the hefty P500-million confidential funds. – Rappler.com

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  1. ET

    The Senate Minority Group is fighting a losing battle here. But, at least for the record, there are two Senators who oppose this wasteful use of the People’s Money.

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.