The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Sunday slammed the Aquino administration for claiming that budgets for state universities and colleges (SUCs) had not been slashed.
The truth will eventually come out, Joey Salgado, media affairs chief of the Office of the Vice President, said in a statement.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) earlier denied cutting the budget of SUCs after the Vice President, in his True State of the Nation Address in Cavite, criticized the administration for scrimping on education.
A hearing led by Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab of the House appropriations committee revealed that the administration will cut the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and capital outlay (CO) of 59 SUCs by P477.8 million.
Salgado said the congressional hearing only confirmed Binay’s statement.
He said students should brace themselves for tuition and other fee increases next year because the Aquino administration’s Roadmap for Public Higher Education Reform (RPHER) aims to “rationalize state funding” to SUCs by asking them to generate more income and lessen their reliance on government funding.
“Give less than what is needed or proposed is the working mantra of this education blueprint. Ito na ang sinasabi sa True State of the Nation Address na bahala kayo sa buhay ninyo [This was what the True State of the Nation said that the SUCs have to fend for themselves],” Salgado said.
He also slammed the administration for treating funds for education as its own pork barrel.
“Ang masakit pa, pinulitika ang programa ng pagbibigay ng scholarship. Ang mga mambabatas na ngayon ang mamimili ng CHED scholars [What is worse is that there is politics in the giving of scholarships. Now lawmakers are the ones who choose CHED scholars],” Salgado said.
He added that the CHED’s “Tulong Dunong” program was made the “hiding place of congressional pork barrel funds.”
“Ito ang pabaon na iiwan ng papaalis na administrasyon sa mamamayan sa sektor ng edukasyon. Kahindik-hindik [This is the going-away present of this administration. It’s detestable],” Salgado said.