THE Senate version of the 2018 national budget will include a P10-million across-the-board increase in capital outlay for every state university and college (SUC) in the country to allow the schools to upgrade their infrastructure and equipment, an official said.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said this will make sure that the SUCs will have enough budget once the Republic Act 10931, also known as Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, is implemented during the next school year.
Under the Senate version of the proposed P3.767-trillion budget for 2018, the Commission on Higher Education has been allocated a fund of P12.067 billion for capital outlay, P1.354 billion more than the budget allocated by the House of Representatives in the 2018 General Appropriations Bill.
The budget includes the P10-million across-the-board increase in capital outlay of 110 SUCs, plus satellite campuses Marawi State University (MSU)-Iligan Institute of Technology and MSU-Tawi-Tawi, and 11 campuses within the University of the Philippines system.
“We want to make sure that SUCs will not only have enough budget to implement the free tuition, but also funds to implement priority infrastructure projects and equipment upgrades to boost their capacity to provide quality higher education. This is what we mean by truly increasing the government investment in pro-poor and pro-quality higher education,” said Angara, vice-chair of the Senate committee on finance who is in charge of defending the budget of SUCs.
Angara is hopeful that the additional funds will be retained even after the period of amendment scheduled in November, because no less than Senator Loren Legarda, finance committee chair, has expressed her full support to it.
The proposed appropriations for SUCs in 2018 is P59.779 billion or 1.81 percent higher than the 2017 appropriations of P58.718 billion.
The bulk, or 63.85 percent, of SUCs budget will be used for personal services.
Maintenance and other operating expenses accounts for 15.97 percent, while capital outlay will make up for 20.19 percent mainly to construct or rehabilitate the school buildings and facilities and acquire necessary equipment outlay. (PS Jun M. Sarmiento/SunStar Philippines)