Youth group protests Ched’s P6-B ‘pork’-A A +A
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
WHY the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) is allocated its own "pork barrel" despite cuts in the 2014 budget of state universities and colleges (SUCs) puzzle Kabataan party-list Representative Terry Ridon.
The House committee on appropriations on Tuesday held a hearing on the proposed budget of the government for Ched and the 110 state SUCs.
Ridon said Ched will enjoy a P6.047 billion in discretionary lump-sum funds in 2014. Of the amount, P5 billion will be integrated in the budget for SUCs while over P1 billion will go to the Higher Education Development Fund (HEDF).
In a text message, Ridon clarified that their party-list group is not questioning the additional budget to be allocated for educational institutions but as to how these funds will be distributed.
"We are questioning the discretionary pork but we are not opposed to fighting for higher budget. Of course the budget would benefit them but it should still be subject to congressional scrutiny," Ridon said.
House Deputy Speaker and Nueva Vizcaya Representative Carlos Padilla called for transparency in the use of the P5-billion fund. Under the National Expenditure Program, the said fund will be used for "capital outlays and scholarship programs of SUCs."
"I smell pork in the budget. It's like pork because it's only released when you're able to identify the programs you are going to implement," he said.
Ridon meanwhile noted that 79 of the 110 SUCs will suffer cuts in the 2014 budget due to lower allotment for maintenance and other operating expenses, and zero capital outlay.
According to Kabataan party-list, the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (Pasuc) proposes at least P50 billion yearly to be appropriated for SUCs.
For this year, however, only P34.6 billion has been approved by the Department of Budget and Management, about seven percent lower than the previous year's appropriation.
In 2013, SUCs received P37.1 billion, 44 percent higher than their P25.8 billion fund in 2012.
The group said the University of the Philippines will suffer the highest budget cut with P1.4 billion. The budget of the Mindanao State University will be slashed by P829 million while the MSU-Ilagan Institute of Technology’s funds will be reduced by P116 million.
Other SUCs to suffer budget cuts are the Isabela State University, MSU- Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography, Palawan State University, Negros Oriental State University, Western Visayas College of Science and Technology, Leyte Normal University, and the Benguet State University. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)