CHED not worried over budget cuts for 21 colleges

Published by rudy Date posted on December 30, 2008

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman Dr. Emmanuel Angeles III is not worrying over the reported cut on the budget of some 21 state universities and colleges (SUCs) made by the Senate, saying any such move would still be decided in the bicameral budget committee.

According to Angeles, he had not yet received any official word of a big cut in the budget of certain SUCs.

“I am not aware of it, nasa bicam pa yan (it’s still in the bicam),” Angeles told The STAR in a phone interview.

He, however, admitted that any large cut made in the budget of SUCs would work to the disadvantage of the educational institutions, especially in their capacity to improve their faculty and facilities.

“If they have expansion programs to accommodate more poor but deserving students, or if they have plans to improve their facilities to raise the quality of instruction, these will need more funding,” Angeles said, adding if their budget was reduced, the SUCs “cannot expand.”

CHED, he said, cannot step in to help since it has a separate budget with its own allocations.

“CHED has its own mandate to fulfill,” Angeles said.

Guarded optimism

Meanwhile, Malacañang appealed yesterday to the senators to reconsider their move slashing the budgets of some educational institutions.

“We hope the Commission on Higher Education or the SUCs themselves can be given a chance to appeal or argue for the restoration of the slashed amount in the bicameral conference committee,” said Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs Gabriel Claudio, referring to the body composed of representatives from the Senate and the House of Representatives that would reconcile their respective versions of the P1.415-trillion national budget for next year.

He expressed optimism that the matter would be resolved as soon as the bicameral body meets.

“This (cuts) after all, is a move of the Senate and not yet in the bicam. Let’s see whether the House would disagree or agree with this move. At any rate, this can easily be threshed out, that’s why we have the bicam,” he said.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita last week expressed optimism that the proposed outlay would be ratified in Congress within January to allow the government to immediately undertake pump-priming activities to insulate the country from the global economic crisis.

Senators, however, increased the subsidies for next year of most government-owned tertiary level schools.

The increases range from a low of P634,000 to a high of P362 million. A large number of these schools received an additional P1 million.

The University of the Philippines, the country’s premier state university, received the biggest increase of P362 million from the Senate after its 2009 budget was raised to P6.8 billion or equivalent to the combined budgets of 47 state colleges and universities from the Ilocos Region, the Cordilleras, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, all the way down to Southern Tagalog and the Bicol Region.   –-Rainier Allan Ronda, Paolo Romero, Philippine Star

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