Gov’t “deliberately” cuts SUC budgets – Anakbayan

by Dean Lozarie

Student Regent Kristina Conti challenges students to take part in the fight against the budget cut. ELLE CABILING

The Aquino administration’s dwindling support for state universities and colleges (SUCs) is a deliberate government policy and not a result of mismanaged funds or misplaced
priorities, said Kabataan partylist Secretary-General Vencer Crisostomo last Friday.

President Benigno Aquino III admitted to gradually decreasing funding for SUCs to push them towards self-sufficiency in his message on the 2011 budget, the Anakbayan member said in a forum on the 2012 budget at the University of the Philippines College of Engineering Theater.

“It is not as if they are telling us ‘We would have wanted to give you funds but we don’t have anywhere to get them from,’” Crisostomo said.

A briefer on the 2011 education budget published in the Official Gazette, the government news website, stated that the president’s objective for SUCs is to make them self-reliant.

“SUCs may earn extra income through different ventures, including partnerships with the private sector, and utilizing resources, such as land, that are available to them. The institutions are free to manage and allocate these resources as they see fit to augment their budget,” the briefer said.

The funds allocated for UP in the 2012 budget were cut by P800 million by the Department of Budget and Management – a smaller reduction compared to the previous year’s P1.39 billion budget cut. However, this year’s allocation for UP is also P200 million less than last year’s.

The 2012 budget passed without changes at the committee level of the House of
Representatives and is scheduled for scrutiny in the plenary this month, Crisostomo said.

However, Student Regent Kristina Conti said UP President Alfredo Pascual is intent on keeping his promise not to increase tuition fees during his term despite the proposed budget cuts. But she also warned that the administration may still use other fundraising mechanisms.

Conti added that the zero allocation for capital outlay (CO) – someone explain *flails* – applies only to SUCs and not to the entire government.

COs were given to offices of the executive branch, as well as the Justice, Interior and Local Government and Social Welfare departments, and the military, the student regent said.