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Senator questions DepEd budget increase for voucher program

Senator questions DepEd budget increase for voucher program

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III questioned the proposed budget increase for the Department of Education’s voucher program.

“This voucher program being administered by the Department of Education has ballooned exponentially to a tune of P39.326 billion under the 2023 National Expenditures Program from only P16.534 billion this year,” Pimentel said.

The senator also asked how the Senior High School (SHS) Voucher Program had the biggest increase.

On the Commission on Audit 2021 report, the SHS Voucher Program only benefitted 1,107,083 students, whereas the DepEd’s target was to distribute the vouchers to 1,417,613 students.

He also asked the DepEd to explain why it is asking for a “subscription expense” amounting to P2.563 billion for 2023, whereas the budget for 2022 is only P24.68 million.

“I am not saying that I am against it or it is anomalous. But I wanted to be clarified because this is such a huge increase that should not skip scrutiny,” said Pimentel.

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte defended the proposed confidential funds saying that “the success of a project, activity or program really depends on very good intelligence and surveillance because you want to target specific issues and challenges.”