DepEd defends P150-million confidential fund, cites illegal recruitment in schools


The Department of Education (DepEd) on Sunday defended the proposed P150-million budget for confidential expenses in 2024, explaining that this would be used to address illegal recruitment activities in schools across the nation.

According to DepEd Undersecretary and spokesperson Michael Poa, the P150 million will be used to collect information on illegal recruitment in academic institutions and put a stop to such activities.

“Recently, talaga namang kailangan nating aminin na maraming mga intel activities, recruitment, na nangyayari sa ating mga paaralan, pati na rin ang seguridad ng ating mga learners and mga teachers and that is why kailangan natin ng pondo para po makakuha tayo ng kaukulang information,” he said in an interview on Super Radyo DZBB.

“Itong information na ‘to ay gagamitin natin para po makapag-formulate tayo at makapag-implement ng mga targeted projects, activities, and programs laban sa mga ganitong mga bagay that poses as a risk, that poses a risk to our learners and teachers,” he added.

(We must admit that recently, there have been a lot of intel activities, recruitment happening inside our schools, along with the security of our learners and teachers. That is why we need funds to collect the necessary information.

The information will be used to formulate and implement targeted projects, activities, and programs against these things that pose a risk to our learners and teachers.)

Asked whether such supposed activities were occuring at such an alarming rate that it warranted such funds, Poa said that these things were happening.

“Talaga pong may ganyang activities po kasi, and that’s why I think unang una sa lahat, kailangan natin aminin din talaga na there’s a need to protect our learners sa mga ganyang bagay,” he said.

(There really are those kinds of activities, and that’s why I think, first of all, we really need to acknowledge that there’s a need to protect our learners from those kinds of things.)

A total of P10.142 billion has been allocated for confidential and intelligence funds across all government agencies in 2024, with the biggest share going to the Office of the President with P4.51 billion — P2.31 billion for intelligence expenses and P2.25 billion for confidential expenses.

The proposed funds also included P500 million for the Office of Vice President Sara Duterte, along with P150 million for the DepEd which she also leads as Secretary.

“Basically, itong pondo na ito ay gagamitin natin (we will use these funds) really for the welfare of our learners and teachers ‘pag dating sa seguridad nila (when it comes to their security), and peace and order in our schools,” Poa said.

Asked why such intelligence collection should not be taken up by other agencies, such as the Philippine National Police (PNP), Poa said these agencies already have a big scope.

“Unang una sa lahat, hand in hand naman po tayo nakikipag-coordinate sa mga national authorities natin ‘pag dating sa mga bagay na ito. Pangalawa, siyempre po ‘yung ating mga national authorities, napakalawak na ng scope nila, nationwide na talaga ‘yan in all aspects,” he said.


“Part naman ng mandato ng DepEd na pangalagaan ang ating mga guro at ang ating mga learners, that is why tayo naman ay nararapat na magkaroon ng ganyang pondo para rin po mas matulungan natin ang mga national authorities natin pag dating sa mga bagay that poses threats against our learners and teachers,” he added.

(Firstly, we are coordinating hand in hand on this. Second, of course, our national authorities already have a wide scope which is really nationwide in all aspects.

It is part of the DepEd mandate to protect our teachers and our learners that is why we deserve that fund to help national authorities further when it comes to things that pose threats against our learners and teachers)

Under its mandate, the DepEd formulates, implements, and coordinates policies, plans, programs, and projects in areas of formal and non-formal basic education.

It supervises all public and private elementary and secondary education institutions, including alternative learning systems. It is also in charge of providing the establishment and maintenance of a “complete, adequate, and integrated” education system.

In the same interview, Poa also responded to groups saying that the proposed confidential funds could instead be used for other programs of the DepEd, such as additional classrooms, schools, and teachers across the country.

“Kailangan din natin sigurong ma-emphasize na while we have also allocated malalaking budget for school infrastructure, for technology, for teachers’ training, lahat po ‘yan may budget, kasama rin talaga sa mandato ng DepEd ang pangalagaan din ang ating mga learners,” he said.

“Kailangan po kasi holistic talaga ang approach natin sa education kung gusto nating maganda hindi lang ang quality of education pero pati ‘yung buhay ng mga Pilipino natin na nag-aaral at pati ‘yung mga teachers natin na nagtuturo, and that is why we really have to allot resources for all aspects of our mandate,” he added.

(Maybe we also have to emphasize that we allocated a big budget for school infrastructure, for technology, for teachers’ training, all of those have a budget. It is also really included in the DepEd budget to protect our learners.

Our approach to education needs to be holistic if we want the quality of education to be good, along with the lives of Filipinos who are studying and our teachers, and that is why we really have to allot resources for all aspects of our mandate.)

Based on the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Finance (BESF), the DepEd was allocated P758.595 billion in 2024. Broken down, P567.542 billion will be for personnel services, P142.513 billion for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), and P48.539 billion for capital outlays.

In terms of capital outlays for 2024, the proposed budget includes P65 million for land outlays, P41.923 billion for buildings and other structures, and P6.550 billion for machinery and equipment outlays.

“We really have to address all issues. Hindi po tayo pwedeng naka-blinders na isa lang ‘yung ginagawa natin, isinasantabi na natin lahat ng issues, kasi lahat po ‘yan ay importante, lahat po ‘yan ay priority, so lahat po ‘yan ay gagawin natin,” Poa said.

(We really have to address all issues. We cannot have blinders on, work on one thing, and set the other issues aside. All of these are important, all of these are priorities, so we do all of that.) — DVM, GMA Integrated News