Press Release
November 25, 2012


CEBU CITY -- Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, PDP Laban President, lauded today the 45 percent increase in the proposed 2013 budget for State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) while advocating "full transparency" in the use of the funds.

"After the horrendous cuts in the budgetary allocation of SUCs in 2012, the additional budget being proposed by the government for higher education next year is most welcome and is certain to be approved by Congress," said Pimentel.

"After all, a nation known globally for its highly skilled, professional and sought-after workers abroad can never have too much budget for education at all levels."

"But as in any utilization of taxpayers' money, there must always be transparency, a principle which SUCs should have no problem embracing and putting into practice as nurturers of our future leaders," added the senator.

Pimentel stressed that budget for all levels of education in the country should not only be sufficient but must also be used "wisely and judiciously" in order to elevate the quality of education and to make it accessible to more Filipinos.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has proposed a P37.1 billion budget for SUCs for 2013 which is about 45 percent higher than their P25.8 budget this year.

Himself a product of the state education system, being a graduate of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law, Pimentel urged DBM to clarify observations being made within the academic community that the proposed increase for 2013 would somehow be just "artificial".

"Some are of the opinion that not all of the increase would directly impact on improving higher education as provided by SUCs because chunks had been allocated for, among others, the so-called Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Funds (MPBF) and the automatic appropriations for pension of retired employees," the senator said.

The MPBF, which includes funds for unfilled positions, is said to be withheld by the DBM until SUCs request for the funds to fill up the positions and the SUCs are able to submit proper documentations.

"The concern by some in the academe is that the MPBF may be underutilized," said Pimentel.

"But there's nothing wrong per se in increasing the MPFB because we need to fill up all the necessary positions with qualified people," said the Mindanao solon.

"At the same time, we also have to take care of the retired employees of SUCs who had given so much of their lives in nurturing the so-called iskolar ng bayan into nation-builders themselves."

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