MANILA - The Department of Education defended Monday over P300 million in expenses on out of town trainings after the Commission on Audit flagged the amount as "extravagant."
State auditors pointed out in its annual assessment P316.62 million spent on DepEd trainings in "lavish resorts and tourist spot locations."
Education Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla explained that while the amount seems "alarming," it is less than 1 percent of DepEd's P4 billion annual budget for training. The agency currently has more than 900,000 personnel.
"Hindi ho maiiwasan na the minimal part of it, although million po kung lumalabas, sa laki ng aming structure, looks like a very alarming finding," she told radio dzMM in an interview.
(We cannot avoid that the minimal part of it, although the figure is in millions but considering how big our structure is, looks like a very alarming figure.)
Sevilla explained that trainings conducted by the DepEd are done "everywhere" to cater to education personnel across the country and emphasized that a daily training budget for each person should not exceed P2,000.
"Hindi po pupuwede na mabigyan ng budget ang ating training na more than P2,000 a day per person so imposible po na may mga hotel tayo na makukuha na lagpas P2,000 per head ang ibibigay," she said.
(We cannot give a training budget of more than P2,000 per person a day so it's impossible for us to pay for a hotel that costs more than P2,000 per day.)
DepEd's P4 billion training budget per year covers 47,000 schools, 223 school divisions, and 16 regions in the country, Sevilla said.
While meetings of high-level officials from different regions can be reduced, Sevilla said training and seminars of teachers should be continued.
"Itong training na ginagawa natin is everywhere and hindi po ito ginagawa in one place (this is not done in just one place)," she said.
"Ang 'di natin maiiwasan ay 'yung (what we can't avoid is the) training ng teachers because they need that. They really need to be trained," she said.