The Department of Education initially requested for a P532-million special education (SPED) program budget but failed to provide proper documentation, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Monday.

“While the (DepEd) proposed the retention of the line item for the purpose under the Fiscal Year 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP), no sufficient documentation was provided to support the same,” the DBM said in a statement.

In a separate statement, the DepEd said it was “not at a loss” despite the zero budget for the SPED program, saying it was a “recurring circumstance every year.”

“This is a recurring circumstance every year, and DepEd is not at a loss, because we always work with members of Congress to find other ways to fund DepEd programs,” it said.

“In the past years, DepEd has likewise made efforts within the organization to ensure that programs are supported,” it added.

The DepEd is seeking a P666.25-billion budget, including P150 million in “confidential funds.”

In explaining the confidential funds, the agency claimed there were “threats to the learning environment, safety, and security of DepEd personnel” that had to be addressed, including violence, graft, corruption and illegal drugs, among many others. John Ezekiel J. Hirro