Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday slammed the Aquino administration yet again for not releasing funds for education last year.
Binay said the lack of housing facilities for students of the University of the Philippines (UP) is one of the ill-effects of the administration’s policy to cut funding for state colleges and universities (SCUs).
He said the government did not release P2.2 billion for the education sector in 2014.
“As a UP graduate, I am both saddened and outraged by the dormitory crisis. I am sad that incoming freshmen had to go through this ordeal and outraged by the fact that the administration had P2.2 billion in unreleased budget for education,” the Vice President said.
He noted that the “under¬spending” in education showed once again the administration’s lack of efficiency and competence.
It also highlights the impact of the administration’s policy of slashing funds for SCUs as part of its so-called reform program, he added.
“Ang balita ko, hindi na makayanang tumanggap ng mga estudyante ang dormitoryo dahil sa dami ng nanganga¬ilangang may matirahan. Kaya naman hindi makapagdagdag ng dormitory ay dahil kulang ang budget nila [(I learned that the dormitories can no longer accept students because there are a lot of students who need a place to stay. The reason the school can not build more dormitories is because their budget is not enough],” Binay said.
The Vice President scored how the administration failed to put priority on social services, especially education.
“Kulang sa priority ang ating service sector, at kasama na riyan ang education. Kasi sa education sector, malawakang investment ang kailangan dyan (The service sector, including education, has not been given priority. We need bigger investments for education),” he said.
While few SCUs were given small increases, most of them had to make do with a small budget, Binay lamented.
He said UP’s budget was slashed three times under the Aquino administration—in 2011, 2012 and 2014. Another budget cut had been proposed for 2016.
In 2013, UP submitted a budget proposal of P18,411,006 but received only P9,529,497.
In 2014, it requested for a P17,098,213 budget but got P9,373,382.
It experienced the same huge cut in 2015 when it asked for P25,496,983 but only got P13,143,000.
The country’s premier university will have the biggest budget cut in 2016 because the Budget department only proposed P10.9 billion for UP.
“Pag kulang ang budget, hindi magagampanan ang mga pa¬ngangailangan ng unibersidad, gaya ng mga pasilidad at tamang pasahod para sa mga guro at kawani (If the budget is not enough, the university will not be able to meet its needs. It will not be able to build facilities),” Binay said.