Press Release
June 16, 2006


Saying that the opening of classes last week validated the Senate's position to accord education the highest budgetary priority, Senator Mar Roxas yesterday said Congress should enact a supplemental education budget if the impasse between the Senate and the House of Representatives over the 2006 proposed General Appropriations Act is not resolved before the opening of the 14th Congress on July 24.

"The nation woke up at the opening day of classes for SY 2006-2007 with the usual perennial problems such as classroom, teacher, seats, and textbook shortages. I hate to use the phrase `we told you so' but that's the reality. It justifies our concern at the Senate that we should put more money to education," Roxas said.

"Now, rather than dwell on what could have been because of the deadlock in the bicameral conference committee over the 2006 budget, Congress must exercise its resolve and pass a supplemental budget for education when it opens next month, " he added.

Roxas, who is a member of the Senate panel to the bicameral conference committee, noted this may not be difficult to do since the members of the panel have already reached a consensus that the 2006 budget must zero in on problems of the education sector.

He urged his fellow lawmakers at the House of Representatives to capitalize on the consensus and initiate the enactment of the supplemental budget, noting that all appropriations, revenue or tariff bills shall originate exclusively in the Lower House as mandated by the Constitution.

"We are ready to propose or concur with amendments to such a supplemental budget," he said.

He suggested that funding for the supplemental education budget be sourced from portion of the 12 percent value added tax (VAT) collections of the government.

The Senator from Capiz said a supplemental education budget would not be too late but instead show boldness toward alleviating the problems which he said raised everyone's hackles, including the President's, before the opening of classes.

He reiterated his proposal to increase by P9.18 billion more the P110 billion budget proposed for the Department of Education for 2006. The amount, he said, would go to basic educational resources, teacher training, and private school subsidy.

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