REASONS FOR RESISTANCE: 10 reasons to intensify the fight for greater state subsidy
As the House of Representatives deliberated the proposed budget of state universities and colleges (SUCs) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in the plenary session last September 11, several students stood up from the gallery and shouted familiar chants.
The public may be wondering, “SUCs will receive a higher budget next year, why still protest?” Here are ten reasons why we should not only continue our call for greater state subsidy, but intensify the struggle of the youth sector:
1. The Aquino administration is saying that it increased the budget for state universities and colleges (SUCs) by almost 44 percent or P11.3 billion, to P37.1 billion from the current P25.8 billion. However, only P32.7 billion is directly allotted for SUCs, as the remaining P4.3 billion is allotted for (1) Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF), and (2) Retirement and Life Insurance Premiums (RLIP).
|Direct to SUCs||₱ 32,771,509,000|
|Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund||₱ 2,203,235,000|
|Retirement and Life Insurance Premiums||₱ 2,153,221,000|
If we remove the MPBF and the RLIP, SUCs will be receiving only P32.7 billion next year, which is 37 percent higher than the current P23.8 billion SUCs budget.
While there is a significant increase in the budget of SUCs, the P37.1 billion budget proposed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is still grossly insufficient if we consider the total proposal of SUCs for 2013, which adds up to P54.6 billion.
|Proposed by SUCs||Recommended by DBM||Percent approved|
|PS*||₱31.149 B||₱27.333 B||
|MOOE||₱ 8.506 B||₱6.429 B||
|CO||₱14.958 B||₱3.365 B||
|TOTAL||₱54.613 B||₱37.127 B||
*PS includes automatic appropriations for RLIP (Source: DBM)
As we see in the table above, the DBM-proposed budget for SUCs is only 67.98 percent of the total requirement of 110 SUCs. Also note the low percentage approved for CO (only 22.5 percent or P3.37 billion of the P14.96 billion originally proposed), despite the fact that DBM has not been giving CO to SUCs in the past two years.
2. The increase for personal services (PS) only corresponds to the automatic adjustment for the implementation of the fourth tranche of the Salary Standardization Law III. There are no additional teaching items, which mean that the proposed budget for next year will not reduce the staggering student-teacher ratio in state schools.
3. The P37.1 billion SUCs budget for 2013 is only 0.31 percent of the projected GDP of the Philippines for next year. This is low compared to the 16.8 percent of the GDP that will go to debt servicing.
4. According to the 2013 Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing, DBM expects the internal income of SUCs to increase by almost P1 billion, to P14 billion from the current P13.1 billion. Part of the projected increase will be coming from an almost P500 million increase in the income from tuition, to P6.76 billion from the current P6.26 billion. Also, DBM projects that the income from other fees would increase by almost P200 million, to P3.2 billion from the current P3 billion.
In the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) for example, DBM expects a net increase of P10 million in the university’s internal income, from P340 million this year to P350 million in 2013. A large portion of this projected increase will be shouldered by students, as the income from students is expected to rise from the current P203.3 million to P209.4 million next year.
5. According to the President’s 2013 Budget Message, CHED is set to receive P900 million for the projects Private Education Student Financial Assistance (PESFA) and the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), which aims to aid 97,821 students studying in private higher education institutions and taking up courses associated with tourism, business process outsourcing, semiconductor and electronics and agrifisheries. The said budget is, in effect, direct fund transfer to private schools, very much alike to the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) in basic education. This means that the government is transferring funds from government coffers to increase profit of private institutions.
6. For 2013, CHED was allocated P2 million for study grants under the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program of the national government. According to the NEP, the amount appropriated for PAMANA Program shall be “used exclusively to implement projects in conflict-afflicted areas” identified by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). CHED was also tasked to submit quarterly reports to OPAPP on the status of implementation of the PAMANA Program, meaning the government is utilizing scholarships and other education facilities for the dreaded Oplan Bayanihan.
7. Under CHED’s Roadmap for Public Higher Education Reform (RPHER), SUCs are clustered “based on excellence” as follows – 19 SUCs fall under the group “leading SUCs,” including UP, Philippine Normal University, and Mindanao State University; 37 SUCs are part of “Tier 1 developing SUCs,” a notch lower than the first group and includes such state schools as PUP, Technological University of the Philippines and Rizal Technological University; and 51 SUCs under “Tier 2 developing SUCs,” which is the lowest rank.
Such clustering is flawed in the sense that SUCs that are already considered as “leading” receive more funding (especially in the MOOE and CO components) than those in the lower tiers, leaving those with poor to average performance with even lower government subsidies.
To illustrate, in the proposed 2013 budget for CO, leading SUCs are set to receive P15 million to P1.4 million to fund infrastructure projects, while Tier 1 SUCs will only receive around P7 million each. Tier 2 SUCs, meanwhile, will only receive P4 million and below for CO next year.
8. Under RPHER, CHED targets to revise the Normative Funding Formula (NFF) this year, for it to be applid on 100 percent of SUCs MOOE and also on some part of the PS, with the end target of applying the NFF to both components fully by 2016. This means that the performance of SUCs, including enrolment and passing rates, would not only affect MOOE, but will now also affect staffing and salary components (i.e. loss of teaching items, retrenchment).
9. Under RPHER, CHED targets to implement “generic socialized tuition fee scheme,” similar to UP’s STFAP, for SUCs by 2013, to be piloted in 10 SUCs by 2014. This is despite the fact that UP’s STFAP scheme still has flaws and was initially seen as a “smokescreen” to tuition increases.
10. Under RPHER, CHED also expects that by 2016, 22 leading SUCs will be able to finance around 50 percent of their total budgetary requirement. At present, the government finances around 70 percent of the total internal operating budget of SUCs. Under such plan, we can conclude that the government is not sincere in increasing the budget for SUCs in succeeding years, and even plans to again reduce subsidies to SUCs that are able to generate their own income in the years to come.###