SEN. Pilar Juliana “Pia” Cayetano on Friday said the Senate finance committee has approved the proposed 2020 budget of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and 111 state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the country.
Cayetano is the chairman of a subcommittee that scrutinized and recommended for approval CHEd’s budget for 2020.zzz
With the approval, the senator said CHEd’s P40.78-billion proposed allocation would be submitted for plenary deliberations, along with the P49.46-billion proposed budget for the 111 SUCs.
The committee, on the other hand, deferred the approval of the proposed P15.40-billion funding for the University of the Philippines, pending the institution’s submission of required documents for review.
Cayetano has expressed her commitment to review the major cuts in the higher education sector’s proposed funding, with the goal of finding a way to bridge the gap, which CHEd officials pegged at P11 billion.
“The biggest concern of CHEd and SUCs is that they have at least P11-billion [budget cut] that is meant to finance [various education programs]. Ito ang hahanapan natin ng pondo (This is where we have to look for funds),” the senator said in an interview after the hearing.
“These are [for] students who have previously been awarded scholarships, and then may incoming graduates din na mag-aavail [of scholarships], so may shortage tayo diyan (and then, we have also incoming graduates who will avail [of scholarships]),” she explained.
Cayetano said she was already looking into possible sources for the additional funding, among which are unobligated funds from the agencies’ 2019 budget.
“Ang ine-expect kong makuha doon sa mga hindi nagamit, mga unobligated [funds] nila is around P8 billion (What I am expecting to get from their unused, the unobligated [funds] is around P8 billion),” she said, clarifying that the amount was still subject to verification.
“We consider our human resources as the most important resource that we have. So, their education is very important. I already have the source for funding. We just have to rationalize and prioritize projects,” she added.