Press Release
August 27, 2015


Sen. Grace Poe wants Congress to provide decent and sufficient budget for the 59 state universities and colleges (SUCs) whose funding was slashed in the proposed 2016 budget.

The senator, who has been making the rounds of universities across the country, said Congress should maintain, if not increase, the 2015 allocation for the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and capital outlay (CO) of SUCs, especially in the poorest regions.

"Sa pag-iikot ko at pakikipag-usap sa mga kabataan, alam kong ang pinakamatinding pangangailangan nila ay access to affordable and quality education. Huwag nating ipagkait ito," she said.

Poe said it would be a grave mistake for a country like the Philippines with a large youth population not to invest in their education.

"Wala namang lugi sa pag-iinvest sa kabataan. Our young population is our greatest resource, so it only makes sense to invest in them," Poe said.

She said the government should pay attention to three major points for the youth: making quality education affordable and accessible, increasing the youth's economic empowerment and ensuring their meaningful political participation.

Poe said a good education will ensure that young Filipinos will have a real voice on matters that affect them, as well as lay a good foundation to prepare them to lead the country in the future.

"Making quality education affordable and accessible is the government's responsibility. We should put our money where our mouth is," she said.

Government allocation for all 114 SUCs in 2015 amounted to P42.3 billion; the proposed budget seeks to increase this to P43.8 billion in 2016. However, despite the P1.5 billion increase, 59 SUCs will suffer cuts in their MOOE.

Of the 59 schools, those from the poorest regions would suffer the biggest budget cut: Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography, whose MOOE was halved, from P32.4 million in 2015 to P16.6 million, and Mindanao State University, whose MOOE went down from P418.8 million to P274.2 million.

SUCs in Western Visayas, such as the Iloilo State College of Fisheries, and those in Eastern Visayas, whose infrastructures were leveled by Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, had the biggest reductions in their budgets.

The total MOOE cut for the 59 state schools would amount to P477.8 million.

The University of the Philippines is set to suffer a P2.2-billion CO reduction, despite its need for dormitories to accommodate students from poor provinces who could not afford a place to stay in Metro Manila.

"Getting an education not only involves the payment of tuition. The government, in cooperation with the private sector, should also endeavor to provide safe, decent and affordable dormitories as well as efficient modes of transportation," Poe said.

The senator reminded the youth of their power to institute change by using social media to express their sentiments.

"Hingin ninyo sa gobyerno kung ano ang nararapat para sa inyo. Huwag kayong matakot sapagkat oras na matakot tayo ay mas lalo tayong matatalo at hindi natin makakamit ang magandang kinabukasan. At obligasyon ng gobyerno na ibigay sa inyo ang pinakamagandang edukasyon na kaya kaming ibigay," she said.

Poe is also pushing for a rationalized and expanded financial assistance program for students and teachers in private education.

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