SUCs, lawmakers push back vs proposed budget cut

September 28, 2022 - 7:51 PM
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The photo shows students at school (The STAR / Edd Gumban)

Twenty-two administrators from various state universities and colleges (SUC) and 30 lawmakers called for the restoration of the proposed budget cuts and an increase in funding to accommodate face-to-face classes.

“We call for the restoration of budget cuts to our SUCs as these cuts only add to the challenges that SUCs face,” the administrators said in a statement shared by the Kabataan Partylist on Twitter. 

Under the proposed national budget, SUCs will receive P93.08 billion, compared to this year’s P103.97 billion. 

This is a P10.89 billion difference, or 10.48% lower than the previous budget. 

Given this proposal, 81 of 116 SUCs in the country are expected to be affected, the administrators said. 

“Also 115 schools are set to sustain cuts in their operating budget, 83 schools are set to sustain cuts in their capital outlay, and 17 schools are set to sustain cuts in their personnel services,” the statement read. 

 The top SUCs with the largest budget cuts based on the Kabataan Partylist report are the following: 

  1. Marikina Polytechnic College– 80.92% decrease
  2. Marinduque State College -79.97 % decrease
  3. Romblon State University – 63.47% decrease
  4. Central Bicol State University of Agriculture – 51.23% decrease
  5. Mindanao State University – 23.27% decrease
  6. Bulacan Agricultural State College – 22.09% decrease
  7. Batangas State University – 21.80% decrease
  8. Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University – 17.99% decrease
  9. Basilan State College – 17.03% decrease
  10. University of Southern Mindanao – 14.09% decrease

“Cuts in operating costs will adversely impact the capacity of SUCs to safely implement face-to-face classes while COVID-19 still lingers,” administrators said. 

They also said they had been given a limited capital outlay or budget for expenditure, which they try to address with their revenue-generating sources. 

The administrators also underscored that several SUCs’ facilities were damaged by typhoons and earthquakes, which require additional funding for restoration. 

“For years, our constituents have called for greater state funding for education. Additional budget is needed for our learning institutions to regain their public character and provide ample support for student services and faculty development,” SUCs administrators said. 

“If our state universities and colleges are to be expected to do their duties, they must be funded accordingly,” they stressed. 

How House of Representatives reacted

The proposed slashing of SUCs funds prompted 30 members of the House of Representatives to file a resolution that seeks to reverse the budget cuts while urging Congress to allocate funds for the safe reopening of schools.

The Makabayan bloc, led by Rep. Raoul Manuel (Kabataan Partylist), filed House Resolution 403 seeking the restoration of the cuts.

“Di natin maintindihan na kahit na sinasbaing priorioty daw ang edukasyon pero tila ba ay lip service lang ang sinasagot sa atin pagdating sa pagtugon doon sa tunay na mga problema natin sa education sector,” Manuel was quoted in an ABS-CBN report.

“Pinapaubaya sa mga estudyante, sa mga guro at sa kaniya kaniyangmga paaralan yung paghahanap ng resources kung paano ba sila makakapag bukas at makakapag-conduct safely ng face to face classes,” he continued.

“At the minimum ay mabalik sa 2022 levels ang budget para sa SUC’s,” the lawmaker said.