Senate eyeing realignment of confidential fund to add'l free college education funds

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian was a guest speaker at the Education Summit in Victorias City on Thursday, October 5,
[KIKO BENITEZ FB PHOTO]
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian was a guest speaker at the Education Summit in Victorias City on Thursday, October 5, [KIKO BENITEZ FB PHOTO]

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Thursday, October 5, that the Senate Committee on Education is “seriously considering” the realignment of the controversial Confidential Intelligence Fund for additional free college education fund.

Gatchalian, who was a guest speaker at the Education Summit marking the World Teachers Day celebration in Victorias City on Thursday, October 5, said the confidential fund will cover the budget cuts of state universities and colleges.

He said the Senate will deliberate on the proposed budget in the second week of November in plenary.

"I will try to look for funds to restore the budget. This will be used to make college education in SUCs free," the senator pointed out.

Under the government's proposed national budget for 2024, SUCs would be allotted a total of P100.8 billion, a reduction of 5.75 percent compared to their funding this year of P107 billion, or a decrease of P6.2 billion.

Thirty out of 117 state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the Philippines are set to receive less funding in 2024.

Most of the budget cuts were focused on the SUCs' funding for capital outlay, which includes facilities, equipment, and other investments, that would serve them for periods longer than the next fiscal year.

Gatchalian said his fellow senators are discussing realigning some of the CIFs to boost the budget of the country's law enforcement agencies like the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

The PCG is currently at the forefront of guarding the West Philippine Sea, he added.

Gatchalian also said that if needed, the budget should be specified, or "line item."

"The intelligence funds should be limited to intelligence gathering. We will also look if the activities of the different law enforcement agencies are legitimate," he said.

About 10 government agencies, including the Office of the Vice President and Department of Education, are expected to be affected by the House of Representatives’ plan to realign confidential funds to national security agencies amid China’s continued aggressive acts in Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.*

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