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I’m planning to introduce an amendment in the proposed 2013 budget to reinstate the P54 billion budget originally requested by the 110 state-funded universities and colleges (SUCs) around the country.

This amount was slashed down by the Department of Budget and Management by 32%, to just P37.1 billion.

The sad part is that of the P37.1 billion budget, at least P27 billion will go to employees salaries and benefits alone. This leaves around P6 billion only for operations and a mere P3 billion as capital outlay for new facilities and equipment. This is ridiculously small considering it will be divided among 110 schools servicing more than two million students.

To counter what the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) did, I will introduce amendments to the budget to restore the amount that was reduced.

According to the Congressional Planning and Budget Research Department (CPBRD), the alarming trend now in the budget for SUCs is that:

a. The budget of State Universities and Colleges as a share of GDP has been drastically declining from 0.41% of GDP in 1991 to 0.29%at present. There were just 81 SUCs in 1991 but they got a bigger share as compared to the 110 SUCs today.

b. The share of higher education in total National Government education spending has declined from 15.3% in 1998 to 12.7% in 2007.

c. Our spending per student has decreased by half in real terms from P32,620 in 1997 to P16,416 in 2009.

The relatively substantial increase in the SUC budget for 2013 still can not compensate for the years of under spending we have done. Reinstating the original proposal of P54 billion will provide a significant increase in facilities, teacher items and operating costs that our SUCs desperately need.#

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