Pia Cayetano assures CHED, SUCs of P11-B funding for scholarships
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Pia Cayetano has vowed to find a source for the P11 billion needed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and state universities and colleges (SUCs) for scholarship grants of students.
“The biggest concern of CHED and the SUCs is that they have at least P11 billion that is meant to finance yung education – kumbaga, sa madaling salita, parang scholarships ng mga bata – na na-cut, na nabawasan,” Cayetano said Thursday in an ambush interview after the Senate hearing on CHED and SUCs 2020 budget.
“So, P11 billion yung hahanapan natin ng pondo. These are students who have previously been awarded scholarships and then may incoming din na mga graduates na mag-aavail, and may shortage tayo diyan,” she added.
CHED’s budget decreased to P40.78 billion in the 2020 National Expenditure Program (NEP) from last year’s P52.43 billion, while SUCs decreased to P64.86 billion from last year’s P64.71 billion.
“We need to address this because we consider our human resource the most important resource that we have. So their education is very important,” Cayetano said.
Despite the country giving the education sector the biggest chunk of the budget, Cayetano pointed out it is still lagging compared to neighboring countries.
“And let me put on record that if you compare our spending with other countries, medyo talo tayo. Our Constitution requires that we prioritize education. Totoo naman, nasusunod naman natin na biggest agency that receives funding is education,” Cayetano said.
“However, the recommendation of the UN [United Nations] is 6 percent. And we are only spending 3.9, almost 4 percent. Mas mataas ang spending sa atin ng Laos at ng Vietnam…So dapat tayo, huwag lang din tayong kampante. Kailangan mag-invest pa rin tayo sa education sector,” she continued.
Cayetano then expressed hope her fellow senators would support her move to put more funding to the education sector.
“I am happy that I had 5 or 6 other colleagues who all support education. So I am hoping that they will support my initiative to put in more funding for education in general, capital outlays of the SUCs, and the funding of the education itself through scholarships and grants,” she said. /muf
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