UP receives P2.2 B cut from DBM budget in 2016

BY FELI RECTO


The University of the Philippines (UP) system is set to have P2.2 billion cut from its annual budget in 2016, the Department of Budget Management (DBM) said last August.

In their proposed National Expenditure Program for 2016, the DBM reduced the general appropriation amount for the UP system from P13.14 billion this year to P10.9 billion in 2016.

This reduction, however, is a result of a decrease in the capital outlay, or funding for infrastructures, specifically a removal of the funding for the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), which is included in the expenditures for the UP system.

This year, UP was appropriated around P4.52 billion for capital outlay, which included an appropriation of around P3.15 billion for PGH for the improvement of hospital equipment. The DBM decided to reduce the allocation for capital outlay to only P1.135 billion by removing the allocation for PGH.

In their proposed National Expenditure Program for 2016, the DBM reduced the general appropriation amount for the UP system from P13.14 billion this year to P10.9 billion in 2016.

UP President Alfredo Pascual said the equipment acquired this year has a lifespan of 25 years, so there is no need for additional funding in the coming years.

Even constituent UP units and colleges in Visayas may suffer from the budget cut. Two years after Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), a natural disaster which left their structures destroyed and their equipment flooded and rendered unusable, they are still struggling to recover.

Among those devastated by the typhoon were UP Visayas Tacloban College and the UP Manila School of Health Sciences in Palo, Leyte.

In order to aid with the rehabilitation of the campuses, the administration has built several bunkhouses and tents that serve not only as classrooms but also as dorms and laboratories for students’ use.

UP President Alfredo Pascual said the equipment acquired this year has a lifespan of 25 years, so there is no need for additional funding in the coming years.

However, the issue of rehabilitation is always an issue of funding. Since the disaster, the UP administration has repeatedly requested for a budget allocation for the rehabilitation of the destroyed campuses.

Several students from the Visayas units have permanently transferred to other UP units, while the others were left behind in the makeshift classrooms, dorms and laboratories.

As UP students migrate from one campus to another because of the devastation, it may become apparent that the campus itself will migrate to another location. UP Vice President for Public Affairs Prospero de Vera said the UP units in Tacloban may relocate to a safer place for the students.

In spite of the reduction in capital outlay, Pascual said there has been a P1 billion increase for the academic units in the UP system in next year’s proposed budget.

The issue of rehabilitation is always an issue of funding.

Several student movements within the UP system have protested the proposed budget cut. On August 27, several UP students gathered together on the National Day of Walkout to raise awareness on the state of education within the system, including the issue of budget cuts.

On November 24, some student and youth leaders attended the Senate budget deliberations to discuss with Senator JV Ejercito about the budget cut along with the reduction of the budget for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE’s) of 59 state universities and colleges. —with reports from Gino Lorenzo Estella ✒

Header image taken by Irvin Arenas

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