BLIND SPOT: Collection and Allocation


I’ll be graduating this March. I’ll be paying my tuition fee and miscellaneous fee. I’ll be paying my graduation fee. Where does that go anyway? The toga, program venue and decoration, diploma and all related stuff. We’ll have to contribute for the class memorial. There’s also a batch project (which makes me wonder between the difference of the two; aren’t they identical twins with different names?); and why do final projects become more expensive and more demanding at this time of the year? Had I known that my teachers would be asking for such in short notice, I would have started with it since June. Just like your town fiesta, Papa and Mama might consider selling the carabao, so we could have a grand celebration after the graduation ceremonies; and invite all my cousins to the fifth degree, all neighbors of all zones, my playmates from way back, my brother’s friends, my brother’s friends’ friends, my sister’s friends, my sisters’ friends’ friends, my father’s drinking buddies, my mother’s marketmates; and if we’re lucky enough, we’ll be able to rent that videoke set and cause nuisance in the neighborhood for a few days. Oh, graduation, what a beautiful time of life! Wait, I failed to mention that I have to get me a new suit, a new pair of slacks, and a pair of shiny ebony black leather shoes. Which would be acquired because of a school imposed code of clothing, or my family is just being pressured by some code of tradition and culture; and what’s interesting is my classmate’s mother is even more concerned and excited with her graduation garb than the graduate himself. Amazing! Now, the education department and the local government sings in chorus to the tune of ‘No Collection”. National and local education leaders have reiterated the implementation of the ‘no collection’ policy. It emphasizes “on simple and non-political graduation rites” which ” should “be simple, solemn and meaningful events”. “Rites should be conducted without excessive spending, extravagant attire, or extraordinary venue.” Non-academic projects such as attendance to field trips, film showing, junior-senior promenade and other school events should not be imposed as requirements for graduation or completion. In public schools, graduation expenses should be charged to the school Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses”. (www.deped.gov.ph ) You get it? No collection. To add icing on the cake, local government agency administrators have relayed the fund allocations for public school graduation and recognition expenses. Every graduating pupil/student would have a few hundred pesos allotment for him or her from materials to memorials; executed in coordination between agencies, with documents passing through the tables of administrators of both offices. “The school board helps assure funding support for the miscellaneous school fees that have to be paid by all students attending public schools”. “all public elementary and high schools receive an annual allocation from the School Empowerment Fund to support locally identified school-level development initiatives” (which includes graduation and recognition rites) (pcij.org) The support comes in the form of paper, medals, ribbons, tarpaulin, or even a printer. No collection and New allocation – with these two combined, Papa and Mama don’t need to shell out any cash. However, when expenditures and their amounts are placed on table on the board in a parents meeting, the operating expenses never seems to be sufficient. Budget allocations could be modified and mangled, turned inside out and upside down to the point of ridiculous austerity, but it would always fall into its destined place according to the deities of economy, on parents’ contribution fee, which violates the policy, then takes on the guise of a compliant budget proposal, with the contribution not appearing on the tables, just to get the signature of approval of the higher-ups. I don’t know what really happens. Is the monthly budget unrealistically set? Or do commodities really get expensive that quickly? Or are there too many unnecessary expenses for rites which are ordered to be simple? Yeah, right. Local government support sounds like music to parents ears, however, the allocation does not cover all expenses. The funding agency reserves the right to exclude some expenditures which they deem unacceptable to policies which may change from time to time. So, what happens when a particular material doesn’t get cover by the empowerment fund? Well, you can’t collect because of the ‘no collection’ thing, right? Well, maybe you could. Furthermore, the requested materials for graduation and recognition rites could be claimed just in time… just in time for the opening of the nest school year. Yes. It looks good on the posters, but not as good once you actually get inside and watch the movie. So, at the end of the day, you have to pay. “Put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting” 1 Corinthians 16:2