EDUCATION

1. Calling out duplicate projects:

“It is no secret I consistently fought to delete duplicative programs in every appropriations measure. One of these is Tulong Dunong. I am grateful in 2019, my call was finally heeded to transfer whatever amount there is under the Tulong Dunong program to the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education.”

“Of the P8.5-billion increase in the CHED’s P43.8-billion budget for the Universal Access to Quality Education, only P3.285B was allotted for TES. If the remaining P5.23B is a lump sum, “I will suspect sa Tulong Dunong na naman ito napunta.”

Sen. Lacson proposed an amendment where the amount be returned under TES. “I assume it will be acceptable to CHED for proper monitoring.”

2. Realigned P8.3 billion in the 2017 budget fund the Free Tuition of students from State Universities and Colleges (SUCs):

For the 2017 budget, Senator Lacson realigned the P8.3B originally intended for projects in ARMM to be implemented by the ARMM Government (ARGMM) but was taken out by our Congressmen and transferred to DPWH. The effect is that the P8.3B will still fund projects to be implemented in ARMM, but instead of the ARGMM as the implementing authority, it will now be the DPWH.

Senator Lacson believes that the autonomy of the Autonomous Region should be respected within the bounds of their Organic Act and as mandated by our Constitution. With the P8.3 Billion ARMM budget lodged under the DPWH, under the imprimatur of Congressmen, they easily circumvented the Autonomy granted to the people of the Autonomous Region by virtue of Republic Act No. 9054 or the Organic Act of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and as mandated by the Constitution.

3. Seeking the restoration of P4.8B in TESDA’s 2019 budget:

“In 2018 they received the budget from the Commission on Higher Education in September. So there was little time to obligate. That is the reason why they have a very low obligation rate in 2018, only 58 percent.”

“I suppose the low obligation rate is the justification for not giving them enough money because they could not absorb the money. But it’s not their own doing. Had they received their portion of the budget earlier, they could have obligated much larger portion of their budget.”

4. For 3.3M children with disabilities:

In 2019, Senator Lacson championed the P100 million budget for assistive devices and universal design materials for education of children with disabilities; P5 million for development of materials on sexuality education to combat teen and early pregnancy; and, P2 million for advocacy and campaign on Water and Sanitation and Health (WASH).

The proposed appropriations sought to benefit about 3.3 million children with disabilities in the Philippines, or about 8% of the population between ages 0 to 18 (UNICEF, 2016). For children with disabilities, schools were often physically inaccessible or unable to cater to their needs. In fact, only less than 3% of Filipino children with disabilities have access to education. For SY 2015-2016, DepEd has recorded around 250,000 enrollees with certain exceptionalities at the elementary level and around 100,000 at the high school level.

5. Supporting the increase of the budget of the Department of Education in the FY 2021 Budget for the following programs:

* Flexible Learning Options by the amount of P3,600,000,000. To support and give priority to the provision of self-learning modules to financially-challenged learners who have no access to internet and technology.

* Last Mile Schools Program by the amount of P5,000,000,000. The program seeks to reach out to far-flung communities and ultimately, to close the gap between students from Geographically Isolated, Disadvantaged, and Conflict-Affected (GIDCA) areas and their counterparts in urban centers.

6. Institutional amendments:

* In 2020 and 2021 budget amendments: Sen. Lacson has always pushed for additional budget to fund the Last Miles Schools Program. The program intends to improve the learning condition of the students from Geographically Isolated, Disadvantaged and Conflict-Affected (GIDCA) areas and their counterparts in urban centers. With insufficient funding, the goal of the Program will not be achieved and will prolong the hardship of our geographically challenged communities.

* In 2018 and 2020 budget amendments: Senator Lacson advocates funding for milk and food supplements for severely wasted and wasted learners under the School–based Feeding Program of the Department of Health.

7. Legislative output:

* Republic Act 11476: GMRC and Values Education Act (co-author; Senate Bill 1224) 18th Congress

* Republic Act 11053: The Anti-Hazing Law of 2018 (Senate Bill 1662) 17th Congress

* Republic Act 9163: National Service Training Program Act of 2001 (12th Congress)

* Senate Bill 1247: An Act Strengthening and Protecting the Land Ownership of DepEd School Sites View/Download the bill

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