By Rainier Allan Ronda, July 14, 2020; The Philippine Star

Manila, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) has given assurance that it has funding strategies for the implementation of its learning continuity program amid the coronavirus 2019 or COVID-19 pandemic.

DepEd’s learning continuity program features the blended education or distance learning scheme for school year 2020-2021, which will open on Aug. 24.

The agency said its funding strategies would not put all the pressure on local government units and their special education fund (SEF).

Aside from tapping the SEF of LGUs, DepEd can realign funds allotted for other projects and programs, or use the available balance of the school’s maintenance and other operating expenses or MOOE budget, according to Anne Sevilla, DepEd’s undersecretary for finance.

Sevilla said the agency could also enter into agreements with development partners and tap official development assistance or ODA as well as the support of community and private sector.

DepEd said it could also use the donations to the National Schools Maintenance Week or Brigada Eskwela program or request a supplemental budget from the national government.

The agency gave the assurance after Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla expressed doubts on the provincial government’s capability to raise P5 billion needed for the implementation of the distance learning scheme.

The province has 600,000 schoolchildren.

In a letter to DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, Remulla said the P5-billion fund was a daunting amount to raise, noting that his province’s budget for 2020 is only P4.7 billion.