Apology sought for wrong SUCs budget info

NOBODY’s perfect, including the country’s top government officials. What they should do is say sorry for the mistake, according to a party-list lawmaker.

“Malacañang, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), as well as senators Franklin Drilon and Vicente Sotto, should apologize to the youth and the people for misinforming us about the SUCs budget cut, said Kabataan party-list Rep. Raymond Palatino, in reaction to the DBM’s admittance that there was indeed cuts in the budget of state universities and colleges.

If not for the wave of student protests, Palatino said lawmakers wouldn’t have increased the budget of state universities and colleges’ maintenance and other operating expenses by P146 million.

“The youth and the people emerged victorious with their steel-like solidarity despite the machinations of some quarters to deny the existence of education budget cuts,” Palatino said.

Palatino said that “P146 million peso additional allotment for the MOOE of SUCs was achieved through the vigilant and unrelenting protests of the youth and other sectors.”

But the increase isn’t enough. Under the Aquino administration’s proposed education budget for 2011, a total of P 1.1 billion would be slashed from the operations budget of SUCs nationwide. Capital outlay for SUCs would be zero, while the scholarship funds of the Commission on Higher Education would be reduced by P650 million.

“The increase is a good start for it shows that the youth and the people have a strong purchase on the issue of budgetary increase. But that amount won’t be able to substantially address the urgent needs of many SUCs. It won’t be even enough to cover the P300-million cut to the budget for indigent patients of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH),” Palatino said.

The budget of the PGH is included in the total budget of the University of the Philippines system which may suffer a P1.39-B deduction under the proposed 2011 budget.

Palatino said the fight for the full restoration of the SUCs budget would continue in the bicameral meeting where the proposed national budget will again be tackled. D’Jay Lazaro


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