8 December 2013
Sen. Pia lambasts ‘zero allocation’ for UP’s capital outlay in 2014 budget
Senator Pia S. Cayetano today slammed the ‘zero allocation’ given to the University of the Philippines (UP) as capital outlay under the proposed P2.264-trillion national budget for 2014, saying it would be a ‘gross disservice’ for the government to underspend in higher education, particularly for the premier state university.
“Do we want to build a great nation? Then we should be willing to invest in higher education to develop formidable leaders for the future. It’s inexcusable and a gross disservice to our youth that the government has been underspending in higher education,” said Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.
The senator vowed to fight for higher funding for UP when members of the Senate and House of Representatives convene the bicameral conference committee next week to craft the final version of next year’s budget.
She said that in previous years, CHED (Commission on Higher Education) lumped together in one item the capital outlay for UP and other SUCs. But it was later agreed by CHED and DBM to itemize the lumpsum item so each SUC would get a substantial capital outlay separate from UP’s.
“The result however was that UP ended up with nothing. Then in the period of amendments, I submitted proposals to include a capital outlay for UP’s various campuses and programs amounting to almost P1-billion,” she recounted. In the Senate’s final version, UP’s capital outlay was raised to P400 million from zero, which was the amount indicated in the House version.
“Although I am grateful that the Senate increased the zero allocation to P400 million, this is still a pittance and negligible compared to the enormous requirements to continue developing UP’s facilities to international standards and improve the quality of education,” she explained.
“My task now is to lobby with the members of the bicameral committee in the hope that they would support my proposal to augment government funding for UP.”
“It is unacceptable and unfair that UP will be getting a negligible capital outlay next year, even while it is expected to continue to produce top-notch graduates from its various campuses. UP’s standing continues to suffer in the world university rankings, and yet we continue to allow its budget to be slashed every year. Thus UP has been forced to generate income of its own, or survive on the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) of lawmakers, which was struck down recently as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court,” she pointed out.
She noted that UP’s ranking dropped from 345 in 2012 to 380 in 2013 under the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, while UP’s overall budget has seen marginal increases in past years.
“This is inconsistent with Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s Public Higher Education Roadmap, which seeks to upgrade leading SUCs to international standards as one of its main thrusts,” she stressed. #
Sen. Pia Cayetano: Underspending in higher education a gross disservice to the youth [File photo]