June 23, 2022 – The Department of Education (DepEd) Finance Strand underscored on Wednesday the formation of a Public Financial Management (PFM) reform program and the installation of the Education Program Management Office in its term-end accomplishment report.

Under the guidance of Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla shared that DepEd is the only agency to create its first-ever financial management reform program and a program management office.

“Ito yung gusto nating gawin at ito ang [ilan] sa [magagandang] itatransition [natin]. [Since] the Department has the highest number of programs, kailangan [iyan] i-manage [nang epektibo so] DBM approved the creation of Education Program Management Office,” Undersecretary Sevilla said.

Among the other remarkable accomplishments of the Finance Service Strand under the leadership of Secretary Briones are decentralized fund management, uninterrupted processing of salaries, allowances, and benefits amid lockdowns, provided incentives, and the increased Budget Utilization Rate from 88% in 2016 to 96% in 2020.

In addition, Usec. Sevilla stressed the approval for the increased capitalization threshold of the Maintenance and Other Operation Expenses (MOOE) and Capital Outlay from Php 15,000 to Php 50,000 not only for DepEd but also for the whole government including Local Government Units (LGUs).

“The effectivity of the increase in MOOE is not just for DepEd, this is [for] the whole of government including LGUs, kaya ang mga initiatives natin hindi pang DepEd lang [kundi] para sa lahat,” Usec. Sevilla mentioned.

With COA Circular No. 2022-004, field offices and schools are allowed more flexibility to procure equipment and other items essential in daily operations and the conduct of classes not exceeding Php 50,000.

Furthermore, Usec. Sevilla emphasized that a new Provident Fund (PF) should be established by DepEd to cater to personal contributions and grant various employee-member benefits.

Currently, the PF provides teaching and non-teaching personnel benefits and loans for hospitalization, educational loans, minor but immediately needed repair of the house, and other emergencies specified by the loan applicant.

“What we are looking for is a Provident Fund na may employee-employer share at sariling health insurance policy aside than Philhealth. That is one proposal and recommendation we are already seeking approval from the Office of the President,” Usec. Sevilla said.

“Iba ang AO na nagcreate ng provident fund natin. Pang service fee lang. Kasi kung may employee contribution, [may] dibidendo [na] matatanggap kada end of the year, and that is the design of the new provident fund that we will transition to the next administration,” Usec. Sevilla explained.

Briones reiterated that DepEd is determined to implement necessary financial policies to help all DepEd personnel fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.