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NR # 3223
Inquiry into Special Education Fund (SEF) management & use sought
A House leader is seeking an inquiry into the utilization of the Special Education Fund (SEF) whose main purpose under the law is to finance the needs of the basic education sector. House Deputy Speaker and Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla sought a joint inquiry by the Committee on Basic Education and Culture and Committee on Local Government because of the lack of transparency in the budget preparation and use of the SEF collection by the local school boards. “Despite the government’s incessant campaign for greater transparency and accountability in dealing with the educational priority projects, there is a perceived lack of transparency in the budget preparation, allocation and utilization of SEF collection and balances of local school boards,” said Padilla. The lawmaker further said there is a need to look into the status and management of budget allocation and utilization of the SEF by the local school boards to also maximize the support for financing basic public education and avail of a complete, adequate and integrated system of basic education relevant to the goals of national development. Republic Act 5447 originally mandated the collection of additional real property tax to constitute the SEF to finance the construction and repair of elementary school buildings, payment and adjustment of salaries of public school teachers, among others. Meanwhile, Padilla said another law, RA 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, identified additional use of the SEF. He cited Section 272 of RA 7160 provides that the additional one percent levy on real property for the SEF shall be automatically released to the local school boards for the operation and maintenance of public elementary and secondary schools, construction and repair of school buildings, facilities and equipment, educational research, purchase of books and periodicals, and sports development. (30) rbb