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‘Very disappointing:’ Pia Cayetano flags ‘significant decreases’ in budget for SUCs

/ 07:27 PM October 21, 2021
'Very disappointing:' Pia Cayetano flags 'significant decreases' in budget for SUCs

Sen. Pia Cayetano  (Screen grab/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Pia Cayetano on Thursday flagged “significant decreases” in the 2022 budgets of state universities and colleges (SUCs), including those offering medical courses.

During the Senate budget hearing for the Commission and Higher Education (CHEd) and SUCs, Cayetano highlighted the reduction in funding for higher education institutions under the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2022.

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The NEP contains the proposed budget and is submitted by the Department of Budget and Management to Congress.

Cayetano, who was leading the hearing, noted that the total budget of the SUCs had fallen to P71.199 billion from P85.956 billion in 2021.

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Meanwhile, Cayetano noted that 40 SUCs have “zero” capital outlay under the 2022 NEP.

These SUCs also include those offering medical courses.

Meanwhile, 75 SUCs have seen “significant decreases” in capital outlay, according to Cayetano.

“Seventy-five SUCs have significant decreases in capital outlay, including the following medical SUCs, whose budgets [were] specifically augmented…because of the dire need for doctors and pursuant to the Doktor Para sa Bayan law,” she said.

“This is the University of the Philippines, including UP Manila and UP School of Health Sciences, Mariano Marcos State University, Cagayan State University, Cebu Normal University, Bicol University, West Visayas State University, and Western Mindanao State University,” she added.

The University of the Philippines, the senator added, specifically suffered a decrease of P1.326 billion.

“For UP-PGH (Philippine General Hospital) in particular, the budget decreased from P6.872 billion in 2021 to P5.666B…Alarming is the fact that there is no provision for capital outlay or equipment outlay for PGH in the NEP. In 2021, P1.204 billion was granted, for the record,” Cayetano said.

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“Needless to say, we are dismayed, we are distraught that at a time like this, we are not supporting our higher education systems,” she added.

“We had hoped that this would be a good time to invest in higher education so that when COVID is over, we hope that there will be a new normal that we can go back to [when] the schools are ready. So these kinds of numbers are very disappointing,” she further lamented.

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