DepEd Synchronized Instructions, Procedures and Guidelines (SIPAG) for 2019 Regional Clustered Conference on Administration, Procurement, Finance and Operations launches in Subic
The Office of the Undersecretary for Finance - Budget and Performance Monitoring conducted the first Regional Clustered Conference
on Finance as part of the DepEd Synchronized Instructions, Procedures and Guidelines (SIPAG) for 2019 at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center from February 6 to 8, 2019. The conference, which focused on the finance strand of the Department, was attended by regional Chief Administrative Officers, regional and division Budget Officers, regional and division Accountants, and selected Finance Officers from Implementing Units (IUs), representing Regions IV-A, IV-B, XI and the National Capital Region (NCR).
On the first day, Undersecretary for Finance - Budget and Performance Monitoring Annalyn M. Sevilla welcomed the participants and provided an overview of budget and finance matters for Fiscal Year 2019. She provided detailed presentations on the policies on reenacted budget for the first quarter of FY 2019, the continuing appropriations for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) and Capital Outlay (CO), and the latest overall budget utilization report for FY 2019.
Presenting the latest data obtained from flash reports as of December 31, 2018, Usec. Sevilla reported that out of Php 494.49B total adjusted allotment, the tentative total obligation rate of the whole Department for FY 2018 was 93.37%, while the total disbursement rate was 93.13%. Although the tentative data shows that the obligation rate decreased by 3.78% from the 97.15% obligation rate in FY 2017, she said, "In DepEd, even though cash-based has not yet been effected, most obligations were disbursed/paid."
Usec. Sevilla concluded, "We have to arm ourselves by knowing the rules and guidelines, otherwise our efforts will go in different directions. In 2019, let us aim for 97% utilization even though our budget is increasing ¬– not because we want to impress Congress, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) or the Commission on Audit (COA), but because we want to serve our learners and schools."
Assistant Secretary for Finance - Budget and Performance Monitoring Ramon Fiel G. Abcede presented the overall budget utilization status of the regions and corresponding division offices of their respective budget utilization reports. He introduced as well two (2) proposed and newly issued policies and guidelines. Joint Circular No. 2019-1, entitled "Management of Cash Advances to DepEd Non-Implementing Units for School Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses and Program Funds", directs school heads of non-IUs to open and maintain bank accounts under the name of the school for depositing cash advances for the School's MOOE. He also presented the proposed Revised Guidelines on School Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses, which aims to strengthen reporting, monitoring, and evaluation mechanisms for school MOOE, ease the process of downloading of funds to non-IUs, and include additional provisions on the use of school MOOE.
The second day was dedicated to the workshop proper, the presentation of workshop outputs, and relevant updates from the Executive Committee (ExeCom) Members.
To commence the workshop activities, the participants were divided into four (4) groups to discuss Bottlenecks, Challenges and Constraints (BCCs) of assigned major Programs, Activities and Projects (PAPs) and recommend corresponding solutions to the program teams and the ExeCom. Group 1 addressed BCCs and recommendations on the Creation of New Positions and Human Resource Development. Group 2 presented on Textbooks & Instructional Materials, School-Based Feeding Program, and School MOOE. Group 3 focused on the Basic Education Facilities Fund and DepEd Computerization Program. Lastly, Group 4 highlighted issues related to Learning Tools & Equipment, Government Assistance and Subsidies, and the Alternative Learning System.
PASIG CITY, January 9, 2019 – Following the onslaught of tropical depression “Usman,”
Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones underscored that it is high time for the government and the public to transform the country’s approach to the reduction and management of disaster risks in the face of a continuously changing climate.
“In previous years, DepEd schools were damaged by strong winds brought about by tropical cyclones [and] we have been busy preparing for the perfect storm. In Metro Manila, we are bracing for the perfect earthquake. We better prepare for the perfect flood,” Briones stated.
Presenting the emerging challenges in disaster risk reduction and mitigation before fellow members of the Cabinet during a situation briefing last January 4 in Pili, Camarines Sur, the Education chief remarked that although “Usman” was technically described as a tropical depression, its resulting floods and landslides left extensive damage to school buildings and facilities in affected areas.
Repair and replacement of damaged facilities due to “Usman,” typhoon “Ompong,” and typhoon “Rosita” are estimated to use up DepEd’s entire P2-billion Quick Response Fund (QRF) for 2019. She further emphasized that such damage demands enormous budget for slope protection, higher elevation, or transfer of building sites. However, DepEd has funds for site titling but none for site acquisition.
As floods and landslides happen with greater frequency and inflict severe damage to property, facilities, and equipment even without strong winds as measured by warning system, the Secretary also called on the Cabinet to consider the policy implication of this irreversible trend and make the necessary recommendations to the President.
“We have seen this in Guinsaugon [Southern Leyte], Biliran, Leyte, Quezon, Los Baños [Laguna], Cagayan de Oro, and Iligan, as well as in Lanao del Norte,” she noted.
The Secretary further proposed the review of protocols for government action before, during, and after natural disasters – case in point is the public mindset of relying on typhoon signals as basis for assessing potential danger to life and property, which needs to be corrected through sustained public communication and education. She also highlighted the need to revisit the progress on the proposed creation of a separate department on natural disaster.
“The financial, organizational, and administrative requirements for dealing with natural disasters cannot be managed by the government alone. All sectors of society have to be mobilized and activated to help ensure the safety of lives and the continuity of education,” the Secretary concluded.