MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines (UP), the country's premier state university, is set to get the biggest drop in its budget under the Aquino administration in 2016 – a proposed P2-billion decrease from its current allocation.
The Department of Budget and Management is proposing P10.9 billion for the UP system next year, from the P13.14 billion in 2015, while the total proposed budget for all state colleges and universities (SUCs) increases.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, in his "True State of the Nation Address" on August 3, cited UP as one of the SUCs that had suffered budget decreases under the presidency of Benigno Aquino III.
A check with national expenditure programs over the years shows that from 2010 to 2016, UP has experienced a decrease in its budget 4 times: in 2011, 2012, 2014, and in 2016, as proposed.
The biggest was in 2011 – the first budget crafted under Aquino – when UP was allocated P5.75 billion. This was a P1.16-billion drop from the 2010 budget of P6.92 billion.
See UP's budget allocations through the years, from 2010 to the proposed 2016:
From 2010 to 2015, UP's budget decreased 3 times (2011, 2012, 2014) and increased only twice (2013, 2015).
The premier state university has consistently received the biggest budget among all SUCs in the Philippines because, aside from funding its 8 constituent units, UP also gets the budget for the operation of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
UP president Alfredo Pascual explained to Rappler that the P2-billion decrease in UP's 2016 budget is because they had completed the modernization of the PGH.
In a phone interview with Rappler on Friday, August 7, Pascual said a P3.2-billion allocation was given to PGH in 2015 for the modernization of its equipment.
Rappler checked with the 2015 General Appropriations Act (GAA), and an item under UP's locally-funded projects is labeled as "Acquisition and upgrading of various hospital equipment, UP-PGH" with an allocation of P3.15 billion.
"PGH will experience decrease. [Ang] requirement, 25 years ang life [span ng equipment], [so] for the next 25 years 'di mo na kailangang bumili ng equipment [for PGH],” he explained, adding that capital outlay is "an expense which is not recurring."
(PGH will experience decrease. The requirement for an equipment is to have a life span of 25 years, so for the next 25 years, we won't have to buy equipment for PGH.)
In fact, considering that PGH's allocation is P3.2 billion and the overall decrease is over P2 billion, Pascual said there's actually a P1-billion increase for UP's academic units in the proposed 2016 budget.
*Data from UP
"In Congress, we'll continue to pursue additional budget. [We were] successful last year in getting an additional P500 million," he said. (READ: UP education: Burden of students or the state?)
The 2015 NEP shows UP asked for a budget of P12.61 billion, but the 2015 GAA allocated P13.14 billion to the university.
"'Yung request natin, palaging malaki. Every year, we ask a lot. Titingnan natin kung anong naisama sa budget, at kung anong critical need sa UP, ihahabol natin," he added.
(We always ask a lot. Every year, we ask a lot. We will look at what has been included in the budget, and whatever critical need UP has, we will try to include it later.)
Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.