CHED’s P11.6-B budget cut may hurt 2020 free tuition, scholarship programs
MANILA, Philippines — The P11.6-billion budget cut from the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) proposed 2020 national budget will hurt the agency’s free tuition and scholarship programs for thousands of students, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto warned Friday.
In a statement, Recto bared that CHED’s proposed budget for 2020 was P40.78 billion, almost 23 percent or P11.65 billion lower compared to the agency’s P52.43 billion budget for 2019.
“Instead of diplomas, the government will be handing out dismissal slips. The budget cut for tertiary education is a ticket to a forced vacation for many public and private college students,” the senator said.
About 80 percent of the 2020 appropriations for CHED was earmarked for the implementation of the program mandates of Republic Act 10931, or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education (UAQTE).
For the current year, Recto said the UAQTE budget is P42.5 billion. A huge part of this is the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES), which would be used to fund 708,993 beneficiaries in five major assistance programs. But for 2020, the proposed UAQTE budget is only P35.36 billion, a deep P7.12 billion cut. On top of this reduction is the obliteration of P2.6 billion for the Tulong Dunong Program.
Thus, CHED is appealing for the restoration of the P10.35 billion cut in its UAQTE budget, according to Recto.
If not restored by Congress, the lawmaker said the budget cuts would jeopardize the schooling of 175,260 students under the Student Financial Assistance Program, 1,932 medical scholars, and between 115,352 to 199,920 students who benefit from the TES.
“There are no easy solutions to this problem of underfunding. Congress is not a mint that can just print money,” Recto admitted.
“But by raising this issue, I hope that both houses will find ways on how to maintain the funding status quo,” he added. /muf
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