TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Days before the start of the school year, the Department of Education (DepEd) Region 02 reiterated the agency’s policy and guidelines on collecting fees from learners enrolled in public schools.
DepEd 02 Assistant Regional Director Arnulfo Balane clarified that there will be no collection for the entire year for kindergarten to grade four pupils, while, there will be no collection during opening of classes for grade five pupils to senior high school students.
Balane said the policy is stated under DepEd order no. 41 series of 2012, adding that DepEd aims to uplift and provide quality and liberating education.
“Hindi puwedeng kung wala kang pera, hindi ka puwedeng mag-aral dahil yun ay constitutional mandate. Siyempre may mga magulang tayo na walang pera, akala nila, ‘hindi ko na lang i-eenroll ang aking anak dahil wala akong pambayad sa miscellaneous fees. Hindi totoo yun ngayon,” Balane said.
He added that the agency’s “constitutional mandate” is to promote and protect rights of citizens to quality basic education.
Yet, voluntary collections can already be made a month after opening of classes.
Under DO 41, voluntary collections and contributions cover P50 fees for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of the Philippines membership fees, P35 fee for Philippine Red Cross, P5 anti-TB fund, and student publication fees (P60 for every elementary pupil and P90 for every high school student).
Further, Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) may also collect contributions “only after presenting to their members and to the school head or principal” a report on the utilization of the previous school year’s collections and the current school year’s proposed budget with program of activities.
“Puwedeng magbayad pero hindi puwedeng i-impose. Hindi siya compulsary. Kung may pera ka, magbayad ka,” stressed Balane.
The official said schools cannot hold diplomas and credentials of learners who did not contribute.
Balane also told principals and PTAs to be “transparent” especially in the spending maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOEs).
Meanwhile, DepEd said they will allow late enrollees but they will be subjected to catch-up or remedial sessions.
Balane said DepEd will strictly implement the policy, noting that five teachers from a division in Southern Luzon have been suspended because of violating the said policy.
Despite the strict implementation of the policy, some parents in the region still voice complaints over collections.
DepEd 02 Regional Information Officer Ferdinand Narciso said complaints can be sent to the region’s hotline 0906-447-5983 or DepEd’s online help desk.
“With due process to law, ibabato po natin yang [complaint] sa mga schools division offices through the DIOs at yan ay magkakaroon ngayon ng investigating committee. Pupuntahan ang eskwelahan at magvavalidate [ang team],” Narciso said.
Depending on the case, the regional director is the only disciplining authority over complaints, Narciso said.
Further, Narciso told media to validate first complaints of such incidents.
RBC Cable Master System Manager Rodel “Bong” Ordillos urged DedEd to trace the root of the collection problem in schools.
“Teacher ba o sa estudyante o nasa parents yung problema natin tuwing nagkakaroon ng opening of school…Is it the information dissemination of this law or is it within the ambient of the teachers or the principals so that we can eliminate all these kinds of problems during or before he enrollment and during school days,” Ordillos said.
DepEd along with all information officers of various divisions in Cagayan Valley guested in Tipon-Tipan sa PIA [Philippine Information Agency] on Wednesday, May 30, to talk about Brigada Eskwela and other preparations for the upcoming school year. Northernforum.net