Additional P428 million in 2019 budget sought for SUCs after Ompong

MANILA, Philippines – A lawmaker is seeking an additional P428 million in the proposed 2019 budget to help fund the rehabilitation of state universities and colleges (SUCs) damaged by Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut).

Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago filed House Resolution (HR) No. 2189 on Wednesday, September 19, asking the House committee on appropriations to authorize the additional funds for SUCs.

"It is imperative that the state promote and protect the right to free, accessible, and quality education," said Elago.

"Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the House committee on appropriations allot P428 million additional allocation in the proposed 2019 budget for the rehabilitation of facilities in state universities and colleges damaged by [Typhoon] Ompong," she added.

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Elago cited several news reports about Ompong's damage in her resolution to justify her request for additional funds.

Commission on Higher Education Officer-in-Charge Prospero de Vera III said the initial cost of damage to SUCs after the onslaught of Ompong is at P428.87 million.

He said most of the structural damage was seen in universities in the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, and Cordillera Administrative Region. These include broken windows, collapsed roofs, and fallen walls, among others.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council also estimated that at least 1.4 million people have been affected by the typhoon. The police said at least 81 were killed in several regions. 

Local officials placed several areas under a state of calamity following the destruction brought by Ompong.

If adopted by the House plenary, HR 2189 will merely express the "sense" of lawmakers supporting the call for the additional funds. It will not have the full force and effect of the law.

Still, members of the House committee on appropriations are free to accept Elago's suggestion should they deem it necessary to allot additional funds for SUCs.

Plenary deliberations on the proposed P3.757-trillion budget for 2019 are ongoing at the House. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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