Complaints swamp DepEd Action center

June 14, 2010 8:35 pm 

MANILA, June 14 -– Education Secretary Mona Valisno on Monday said the Department of Education (DepEd) action center in Pasig City continues to receive complaints and queries about illegal collection of school fees.

As of 3 p.m. Monday, the action center received 150 complaints, some sent via text message through the OBE SMS number 0919-4560027, while others were walk-in complaints.

DepEd Public Information Office chief Kenneth Tirado said Region III and Region IV-A topped the regions with the highest number of complaints as of Sunday afternoon with eight complaints each, followed by Region VI and the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with two each.

The National Capital Region (NCR), comprising six cities and a single town registered only one complaint though majority of the complaints and queries made since the OBE action center opened last week came from the metropolis.

Tirado reiterated the strict compliance of school officials to the “no collection” policy, adding that the action center had already received at least 86 complaints about the illegal collection of school fees of the 284 complaints regarding the school opening.

Earlier, the DepEd said it was investigating 13 schools, 10 in NCR and three in the provinces for violating the “no collection” policy.

Tirado said the public could reach the action center at the following phone numbers (02) 6361663 and at (02) 6387529.

Queries may also be emailed to action@deped.gov.ph while those in Metro Manila can walk in at the OBE action center located at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan at the DepEd main office along Meralco Avenue in Pasig City.

He said any complaint will be treated with utmost confidentiality.

DepEd Assistant Secretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya said they have fielded Quick Response Team (QRT) in every regional and division offices to investigate the alleged illegal collection of fees.

"We will ask these schools to explain why there are persistent and numerous reports from the public that collections are going on," he said.

Malaya also clarified anew that the schools could only collect authorized contributions from those in Grade 5 up to 4th year high school but only on the second month of classes and only on a voluntary basis. The authorized voluntary contributions are P50 for Girl/Boy Scouts of the Philippines; P5 for the anti-TB Fund; and P60 (elementary) and P90 (high school) for the school publication.

He said that the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) fee may only be collected after the PTA presented a report of the previous year’s collection to its members and the school administration.

Any school official found violating the policy would be administratively sanctioned, DepEd said. (PNA) RMA/HCT

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