Sindangan Pilot Demonstration School, Zamboanga del Norte (Courtesy of DepEd Tayo - Sindangan Pilot Demonstration School 124770 Facebook)

MANILA – The budget granted the Department of Education (DepEd) will be enough to convert Special Education (SPED) centers into Inclusive Learning Resource Centers for Learners with Disabilities (ILRC).

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said in a news release on Friday that the bicameral conference committee report on the 2023 national budget carried his proposal to add PHP64 million to DepEd’s PHP96-million budget for such purpose.

The bicam report also carried Gatchalian’s proposal to allocate PHP100 million for instructional materials for learners with disabilities and PHP562 million for the Alternative Learning System programs under the Flexible Learning Options.

It will cover learners enrolled in both the formal system and the Alternative Learning System and includes multiple platforms using electronic and online modes of delivery.

Magandang balita para sa ating mga learner with disabilities na nakapaglaan tayo ng pondo para sa mga programang sumusuporta sa kanila. Patuloy nating titiyakin na pagdating sa dekalidad na edukasyon at sa patuloy na pagbangon ng ating bansa mula sa pandemya ng Covid-19, hindi mapag-iiwanan ang mga learner with disabilities (This is a welcome news for our learners with disabilities. We were able to raise funds to support them. We will ensure them quality education and make sure that learners with disabilities will not be left behind as we continue to recover from the Covid-19)” Gatchalian said in a statement.

Gatchalian said funding for learners with disabilities aligns with the government’s mandate to implement Republic Act No. 11650 or Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act, which was signed into law this year.

Under the law, DepEd and local government units shall initially establish and maintain at least one ILRC in every city and municipality.

The law also mandates that all existing SPED Centers shall be converted to and renamed as ILRCs.

ILRCs implement inclusive education programs and deliver free support services to learners with disabilities, including language and speech therapy; occupational therapy; physical and physiotherapy; provision of qualified sign language interpreters; and other similar services, aids, and actions that facilitate the learning process.

DepEd ensures that learners have access to the K to 12 basic education program through curriculum contextualization, adaptations, and modifications depending on abilities and needs.

DepEd will get PHP678.317 billion from the PHP5.268-trillion national budget for next year. (With a report from Leonel Abasola/PNA)