Local government units (LGUs) are constant partners of the Department of Education (DepEd) in continuously improving the welfare of teachers and enabling them to cope with the demands of their profession. The LGUs’ support is invaluable in ensuring the effective and efficient delivery of quality basic education for all. The DepEd, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) recently issued Joint Circular (JC) No. 1, series of 2017, on the Revised Guidelines on the Use of the Special Education Fund (SEF). This is to update the guidelines and policies on the use and purpose of the SEF as provided under Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991. READ Joint Circular No. 1 (DBM-DEPED-DILG)
Section 4 of the revised JC enumerates the expenditure items that are chargeable against the SEF. Included in the list is the payment of compensation/allowances of locally-hired teachers in elementary and secondary schools identified to have shortages per the teacher deployment analysis of DepEd. Although payment of allowances of nationally-hired teachers is not included, LGUs are not prohibited from granting such. These additional allowances may be sourced from the LGUs’ regular budget or General Fund, subject to existing budgeting rules and regulations. The revised JC aims to better support the supplementary budgetary needs of schools and learning centers, given the observed practices in the utilization of the SEF and the current developments in the implementation of the K to 12 and early childhood care and development (ECCD) programs. It also aims to ensure a more strategic and efficient utilization of resources for priority programs and projects that would complement and reinforce the budgeting priorities at different levels of decision-making.