SCUs operate on budgetary crumbs (First of 2 parts)

Published by rudy Date posted on April 1, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – Pity the country’s state colleges and universities (SCUs) — they operate on “budgetary crumbs”.

But, ironically, they are mandated — and expected — to be of great service to the Filipino people, particularly those in the countryside.

In 2010, the 113 SCUs, many of which have multiple campuses strewn across the length and breadth of the archipelago, were allocated only a measly aggregate budget of P22.4 billion, or P427 million less than that in 2009.

The situation becomes more distressing when one considers that this “pittance budget” is unevenly distributed among the state-owned institutions of higher learning, as reflected in the 2010 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Consider: The University of the Philippines System (UPS) allocation this year is P6.9 billion, or almost one-third of the total budget of the SCUs.

At first glance, the UP System’s funding support may look big, until one realized that it is distributed among its seven campuses in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The UP System’s flagship campus is UP Diliman in Quezon City, which is recognized in the fields of law, public and business administration, marine and social sciences, urban and regional planning, and humanities.

UP Manila (including the Philippine General Hospital or PGH) is the country’s premier academic institution in medical and health sciences.

UP Los Baños specializes mainly in agriculture and forestry.

UP Open University (UPOU), also in Los Baños, is the national “center of excellence” in distance education and open learning.

UP Baguio is in the highland city of Baguio.

UP Visayas is the center for fisheries and marine science education and research. It has four campuses: the main in Miag-ao, Iloilo; another in Iloilo City; in Cebu City (UP Cebu); and in Tacloban City (Leyte) (UP Tacloban).

UP Mindanao (Davao City) emphasizes Mindanao’s comparative advantage, natural endowments, and development goals.

Mindanao State University (Marawi City, Lanao del Sur), as shown in GAA 2010, got the second biggest budget among the SCUs — P1.2 billion. Separately, the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology received P350.8 million while MSU-Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography was allotted P220.27 million.

The school with the third biggest appropriation in 2010 is the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Manila, which was in the news recently when its student activists went on a property destruction rampage to oppose the school’s proposed plan to increase tuition.

As gathered from newspaper accounts, PUP charges a per unit tuition rate that is so small it is good only for a bus fare.

PUP has a budget of P640.44 million in 2010, down from P665.59 million in 2009.

Completing the list of the top 10 universities that received the highest appropriations in 2010 are Bicol State University (BSU), P471,864,000; Philippine Normal University, (PNU, Manila), P387,233,000; Technological University of the Philippines (TUP, Manila), P376,700,000; Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU, La Union), P376,268,000; Isabela State University (ISU), P367,264,000; West Visayas State University (WCSU, Iloilo City), P318,067,000; and Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU, Ilocos Norte), P285,785,000.

In sum, the budgets of the top 10 SCUs are more than half of the total allocations of the 113 government tertiary institutions. The rest are distributed among the 103 universities and colleges.

It is no wonder, therefore, that the other SCUs getting “petty cash” budgets understandably are not performing well as providers of higher education, as, at times, shown by results of licensure examinations given by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). One can count on some exceptions, though.

Now, read this and weep: The school (in Mindanao) with the least budget in 2010 got only P15.27 million, perhaps only a little more than the salary and perks of a basketball superstar.

The four colleges with the least budgets received an aggregate allocation of P68 million, or less than the annual Project Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel” of only one congressman (P70 million).

The combined budgets (P192.38 million) of the nine least endowed colleges, on the other hand, are less than the yearly PDAF of one senator (P200 million).

Read on: Of the government-funded 52 universities and 61 colleges, 87 have individual budgets less than the “pork barrel” of one senator. (To be continued) –Rudy A. Fernandez (The Philippine Star)

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