Press Release
October 2, 2023

Initial remarks on the proposed 2024 budget for higher education
By Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Senior Vice Chairperson, Senate Committee on Finance

PART 1: OPENING STATEMENT

Welcome to the hearing today of the Committee on Finance. This is the subcommittee to hear the budget of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), the University of the Philippines (UP) System, and the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP).

I won't be able to greet everyone, but let me just highlight the persons who will be speaking. And then, we will proceed with their presentations. So Chairman Popoy De Vera is online, this is a special accommodation because nagka-COVID siya. Sa lahat pa ng time... I have to say it because magtataka pa ang lahat ng tao kung bakit wala ka dito, Popoy. So anyway, we made that accommodation.

President Tirso Ronquillo is in front of me, happy birthday! Mamaya kakantahan ka ng lahat ng presidente. Our PASUC regional coordinators are also here, saan kayo? All around, spread out, I assume. University of the Philippines System, represented by its President Jijil Jimenez over there. Hi, Jijil. DAP President Atty. Engelbert Caronan, Jr. Hello, sir. Kumusta kayo? And the SUC presidents, other officials, and staff.

Dahil sa sobrang excited niyo, late tayo nag-umpisa kasi hindi tayo nagkasya sa kwarto, sa sobrang excited niyo lahat makapunta dito. So on that note, pwede bang patayuin ko lahat ng president ng SUCs para kayo po ay ma-acknowledge? Please stand up. Kumusta kayo lahat? Hello, hello, hello.

Si President Jijil hindi na tatayo dahil lagi nang andito yan. Nakailang punta na. Anyway, welcome all of you. Nagulat ang staff ko, nagulat din ang Secretariat, hindi nila akalain na paano niyo naman nakalimutan yun eh before COVID, ganyan naman mag-attend itong mga ito, di ba? Actually that's on us kasi ako naman, I really expected that they'll be here. Ako, hindi ako nagulat. Hindi n'yo ginamit ang kaunting futures thinking. Talagang dadating ang mga yan. Budget season pa naman, dadating talaga yang mga yan.

All right. So, for the Commission on Higher Education, the total new appropriation is 29,678,007,000. For the SUCs, including UP, it is a total new appropriation of 100,882,313,000. For the UP alone, the total new appropriations is 21,291,523,000. And for DAP, 556,353,000.

Okay. I will save my comments for later. So we will proceed with the presentation. The order is CHED, SUCs, UP, and the DAP. Questions will be asked after all the presentations. So as the other senators come in, Sen. Gatchalian is actually here, he just had to attend another meeting. As they come in, we will acknowledge their presence but officers will be first, and then in order of appearance.

Chair Popoy, the floor is yours... I hope you're feeling okay... Baka mabawasan ang tanong kung alam nila. Huwag ka mag-alala, pagdating ng mga senador, lahat yun ia-announce ko ulit na ikaw ay recovering pa lang.

PART 2: ACKNOWLEDGING SENATORS

Thank you very much, Chair Popoy. Let me now acknowledge the senators who have arrived. Sen. Hontiveros is here with us, Deputy Minority Floor Leader. Sen. Dela Rosa is also here. And our Senate President Pro Tempore, Sen. Loren Legarda.

So dear colleagues, as I mentioned earlier, we'll finish all the presentations before the questions will be asked para lang matapos lahat. Otherwise, mabibitin ang mga presentation. But if there are short opening statements by anyone? No? Okay. They are willing to listen. Thank you. So next to present is Pres. Tirso Ronquillo from PASUC. Sir, the floor is yours.

*

Sorry, maybe later on, I think it's also important to see the population that is serviced. Because when you say SUC, may maliit, may malaki. Iba-iba. So more details on that later or to be submitted. Thank you.

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PART 3: IF COMPARING NEP 2023 WITH NEP 2024, THE BUDGET FOR SUCs NEXT YEAR ACTUALLY INCREASED

Pres. Tirso, one more thing lang, and I always point this out in the other hearings that I chair. You need to also include the comparison of the NEP 2023, kasi yung NEP 2024 obviously does not have the congressional initiatives. The GAA 2023 has congressional initiatives, di ba? Tataas din naman yang mga NEP 2024 mo dahil ang mga advocates mo ay nandito na sa harap niyo. So para lang clear yung picture natin. Every year kasi, yan naman talaga ang situation. So include the NEP 2023 because I doubt highly if there is a significant decrease kapag NEP to NEP ang pinag-uusapan okay?

[Note: Pres Ronquillo acknowledged that the funding for SUCs increased when comparing the 2023 NEP with the 2024 NEP.]

*

In that case, congrats in advance, kasi usually hindi pinapakita yun. Parang naha-highlight ang decrease. Okay. Thank you.

Ang maganda doon ganito, sabihin mo something like sa capital, 10 projects were completed kaya po ready na kami for the funding of the next 10, ganun. Parang kasi kami, teka pinondohan namin yan, eh. Parang ang sama naman na bumaba pero kasi na-complete na and ready din kami to give more. Lahat kami dito, okay?

*

And what's critical there, I'll explain it now. There are congressional initiatives that have now been absorbed in the NEP, because naintindihan ng DBM na yung initiatives namin are really long-term initiatives. Katulad ng Doktor Para sa Bayan, hindi yan one-time. Tuloy-tuloy yun. Kapag natapos ang building, initiative ng pagpapatayo ng medical school, sa school mo, Dr Tirso, sa BATSU, iba namang university ang tutulungan, diba? Kaya yun ang sinasabi namin sa DBM na narinig na nila tyao. And ini-institutionalize na nila. That's the word. They institutionalize those changes so that you will find it in the NEP and that's our goal. That you don't need Congress to keep lobbying for you because you are handling your funding very well that it becomes institutionalized in the NEP. That's the goal.

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