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Re Abad on SUC budget “increase”: Cutting through the lies


Like last year, Sec. Butch Abad resorts to deception, lies and half-truths to cover up the cuts in SUC spending for this year.

Last year, Abad claimed that there were no budget cuts for SUCs. However, his spins which attempted but failed to undermine the broad movement against budget cuts last year were exposed when Senators later on relented to “restore” some of the funds intended for SUCs. The CHED likewise issued statements acknowledging that there were indeed cuts in MOOE. No less than President Aquino in his budget statement last year stated that there were indeed cuts in SUC spending:

“We allocated P23.4 billion to 112 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in 2011. This is 1.7 percent lower than the P23.8 billion budget for 2010. We are gradually reducing the subsidy to SUCs to push them toward becoming self-sufficient and financially independent..”

True enough, this year’s fresh round of cuts is consistent with the objective to “gradually reduce” subsidy for SUCs.

Abad is once again engaging in technocrat doublespeak to cover-up the fact that government allocation for SUCs, education and social services is grossly insufficient, have been declining alarmingly during the past years, and continues to do so under the current Aquino administration.

In the National Expenditure Program (NEP), MOOE funds for 45 SUCs is slashed by a total of P250.9 M. Abad tries to cover this up by pointing to the budget allotted to CHED. However, according to the 2012 budget highlights, and as admitted by Abad, the P500 million allotted for CHED is “to make sure that the curricula of SUCs are focused on the priority areas for economic development.” This means that CHED funds are conditional — to say that these will compensate for cuts in the MOOE for schools is grossly misleading. Abad also uses the same tactic to cover up the zero allotment for capital outlay of SUCs.
Furthermore, it is lamentable that SUCs now have to grovel for funds under the MPBF which the DBM has the sole discretion to disburse. The MPBF, which is supposedly allocated for personal services, technically and practically removes from SUCs the prerogative to allot the meager funds to where they are truly needed. This puts SUCs at the mercy of the DBMs bureaucratic whims. The 2012 NEP in fact reflects a cut of P403.3 M in personal services of 58 SUCs.

In any case, the total budget allotted for SUCs, P21.8 billion (P23.6 billion if with automatic appropriations) is far from the P45 B needed by SUCs as submitted by the Philippine Association of State Universities (proposal excludes UP). Humingi sila ng isang basong tubig, ang binigay sa kanila gapatak lang sa labi. Budget to be directly allotted to SUCs is down from P22.03 billion to P21.8 billion in total, wherein 50 schools will experience decreases in their allocation P569.8 million combined. The numbers in the NEP submitted to congress is clearly shows this decrease, which anyone can compare and scan online. Government should increase the budget directly alloted for SUCs, which should reflect in the NEP. Otherwise, any claim of a budget increase would be deceptive and misleading. We cannot just take DBM’s word for it, especially when funds which congress approved to be allotted to SUCS during past years have been withheld.

We call on DBM and congress to restore the direct cuts for 2012 and 2011, and increase the funds for SUCs substantially. Numbers-gimmickry and technocrat jargon cannot belie the fact that budget allocation for SUCs is unjustly insufficient while funds for debt servicing, military, corruption, privatization and dole-outs enjoy the biggest chunks of the pie.

The DBM secretary is “Abad liar”.

Photo: September 7, students trooped to Congress and held a “die-in” protest against cuts in education spending.

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