Senate urged to redirect confidential funds to public universities after ‘pitiful’ House realignments

Cristina Chi – Philstar.com

November 15, 2023 | 4:05pm

MANILA, Philippines — Teachers and students in state universities and colleges (SUCs) on Wednesday urged the Senate to redirect a portion of the confidential and intelligence funds it removed from civilian agencies to the budget of SUCs.

Saying that SUCs were “neglected” by the House when the lower chamber adjusted the proposed 2024 budget, Alliance of Concerned Teachers State Colleges and Universities (ACT SUCs) President Carl Marc Ramota said that lawmakers “failed to see” the clamor of state scholars in schools with classroom shortages.

The P6 billion slash in the funding of SUCs is a “big blow” to the government-run schools, which “are already stretched beyond their limits,” he added.

“A large number of our SUCs could still not implement 100% face-to-face classes, not due to the dangers of the pandemic but because of sheer lack of ample classrooms and facilities, and this is weighing heavily on the quality of learning,” Ramota said.

Ramota said in an earlier statement that public universities did not benefit from the P194.5 billion realignments made by House lawmakers, who earmarked P1 million for the Philippine General Hospital under the University of the Philippines Manila and a “a mere P300 million” for SUCs.

This is “plainly pitiful, if not insignificant,” said Ramota, who is also faculty regent of the University of the Philippines.

“We set our sights now on the Senate, which purportedly agreed to get rid of CIFs in the 2024 budget,” he said.

With P9 billion in confidential and intelligence funds still intact in the proposed budget, Ramota said that the Senate should “make it up to our youth by redirecting the remaining CIF to our public universities.”

More than 30 heads of SUCs wrote to the House in September to seek the restoration of the P6.1 billion funding that was removed from SUCs in the proposed 2024 budget.

Budget documents show that funding for SUCs are set to decrease from P107 billion, as allocated in the General Appropriations Act for 2023, to P100 billion.


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