Press Release
November 26, 2010


There was no actual cut in the budget of the country's 112 state universities and colleges (SUCs), Senator Franklin Drilon clarified Friday, amid moves to protest the budget cuts and continuing charges that the present administration has abandoned its promise to prioritize tertiary education.

Drilon, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee currently deliberating the proposed P1.645 trillion national outlay, said the budget for SUCs in the 2010 budget "was loaded with congressional insertions" which were not actually released due to the widening budget gap expected to reach P325 billion by yearend.

"There was no way by which these additional amounts could have been released because there were no additional revenues," Drilon said during Friday's marathon hearings on the money measure.

He said that then President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had issued a "conditional veto" indicating that the "release of the increased items of appropriations is subject to the identification by Congress of new revenue measures..."

"For the record, we did not remove anything. What happened is that in the 2010 budget, embedded in that budget are congressional insertions... to the amount of over P2.8 billion," he said, adding that the congressional initiatives came from realignments from debt service interest payments due to "disagreements" in the peso-dollar exchange rate.

In fact, Drilon said, subsidies to SUCs have been increased in next year's budget to P21.7 billion, from only P19.6 billion submitted by Arroyo for congressional approval. When the 2010 budget was approved, a total of P2.8 billion has been padded as congressional insertions by lawmakers, bringing the total budget of SUCs to P22.4 billion.

In the 2011 budget, President Benigno Aquino III submitted to Congress P21.7 billion for SUC subsidies.

"These are insertions which could not be possibly sustained. President Aquino's budget for 2011, in fact, increased Arroyo's budget by P2.125 billion for SUCs except that the congressional insertions were not continued," Drilon explained.

News Latest News Feed