MANILA – To provide further support to field offices and schools nationwide, the Department of Education (DepEd) maintained its 96 percent budget utilization rate (BUR) for 2021 despite the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“For 2021, we are aiming to maintain 96 percent or even surpass 97 percent for BUR. And I would like to congratulate and thank everyone despite Covid, ‘yung iba pong department nag-stop, or talagang na-suspend but DepEd continues to operate despite 2020 is a Covid year and [in] 2020, we were able to actually implement 96 percent of our total funds,” DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla said during the Department’s General Assembly 2021.

Recording an 8 percent increase in BUR from 88 percent in 2015 to 96 percent in 2020, Sevilla attributed the achievement to the simplification of public financial management processes and decentralization of fund management, which promotes accountability, transparency, and competency as funds are being downloaded to the regional, division, and implementing schools.

“Maraming salamat sa mga accountants, budget officers, and of course to our admin and cash officers, tuloy-tuloy po ang ating sweldo, allowances, benefits. At yan po ay kahit ECQ [enhanced community quarantine), MECQ [modified ECQ] ay nakuha po natin. Lahat po tayo yung sweldo naprocess natin. In fact, yung iba na-advance pa nating na-process (Thank you to our accountants, budget officers, and of course our admin and cash officers, we were able to get salaries, allowances, benefits despite ECQ and MECQ. In fact, we were able to advance the process),” she added.

In addition, Lower house and Senate have extended the implementation period of the 2021 Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) and capital outlay budget until December 2022.

The General Appropriation Act 2022 also increased the MOOE capitalization threshold from PHP15,000 to PHP50,000 which will redefine the use of school-MOOE, and benefit the schools as these can now procure higher quality gadgets or equipment needed for the limited face-to-face classes

Sevilla also noted the following gains: establishment of technical working groups, the institutionalization of the delivery unit Education Program Management Office (EPMO), partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the National Quincentennial Committee (NQC), the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), recommendation of new employee uniform, submission of PBB 2020, enhancement of automatic payroll deduction system program, improvements on GSIS Financial Assistance Loan, and waiver of interest rates. (PR)