Press Release
September 22, 2011

Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano
Kapihan sa Senado Transcipt

Re: A call for an increase in SUCs budget for 2012

Relevant Facts and Figures

In discussing the budget issue on State Universities and Colleges, let us first look at the bigger picture by analyzing key relevant facts and figures.

In a survey, the three top reasons for non-attendance in a university is: one, looking for employment or work. Two, high cost of education. And yung pangatlo, lack of personal interest.

It also reflects the state of our economy na 14 lang out of 100 ang gumagraduate at hindi pa rin makahanap ng trabaho. That means kakaunti ang trabaho out there or may mismatch yung dami ng graduate sa availability ng trabaho.

The next is just to emphasize that in international ratings by credible organizations, the quality of our tertiary education is faring very poorly. Out of 2,180 higher education institutions, only 4 made it to the Top 200 Asian Universities list.

Likewise, the QS ranked the country's top universities outside of the world's top 300 in its latest rankings for 2011 to 2012. UP dropped from 314 to 332. Ateneo dropped 53 notches to 360, meaning they were 307 before. Las Salle dropped to the 551-600 level. UST dropped out of the 600 top schools.

Under the Global Competitiveness Report for 2011-2012, the Philippines ranks 71 out of 142 countries in the 5th pillar of Higher Education and Training up from 73 out of 139 countries in 2010-2011.

These are some rankings and basis of the 5th pillar. The next slide is just to show you that as enrolment goes up, our budget allocation plateaus when it comes to higher education or SUCs.

In real terms, mas masama pa, if you factor in inflation, what we are really spending on education is going down. Average cost of education per student in nominal value as you see since 2009 have been going down.

Conflicting claims of DBM and Anti-SUC Budget cut groups: What's the real deal?

If you listen to the DBM, they're saying that there's a 10% actual increase. Dalawa ang basis nito, una may P2.039 B under the Miscellaneous Personal Benefit Fund (MPBF). Dinidispute ito ng mga SUCs dahil according to them kinuha ito sa mga vacant positions sa plantilla nila which ginagamit nila to pay for contractual dahil mas murang magbayad ng contractual.

So if they actually use it to hire professors they'll be able to hire less people pag nailipat ito sa MPBF.

Pangalawa, yung CHED allotment for universities and colleges. I'm happy that DBM has provided the funds. But since it is a lump sum, it has the possibility of being used as a pork barrel of maybe Malacanang, or maybe CHED. Bakit hindi nalang natin kunin yung P500M at ibigay directly sa mga SUCs? Why would they have to plead with CHED for them to implement programs na magaganda?

For example, wala tayong state university na hindi kailangan ng building or ng bagong facilities. So kung bigyan lang nila ng tig-P5M for Capital Outlay for buildings aabot na ng P500M yun.

Support for higher State Subsidy for SUCs

The bottomline is that I support the state universities' and the students' call for higher subsidy. We're doing a budget analysis now and we did note that there is a certain department na malaki naman ang tinaas.

Ang tanong ko lang bakit parang may discrimination o masama ang tingin o may some sort of hindi magandang impression ang gobyerno pagdating sa SUCs?

Madalas ko ring marinig sa CHED at sa iba na sobra kasi ang dami ng SUCs. But I'd like to correct that notion. The 100 plus SUCs caters only to P1M students and this is only the 20 or 15% percent na pumapasok.

If we are to consider the 80 plus percent na hindi pumapasok sa college, we will know that mas murang pumasok sa SUCs kaysa sa mga private schools. So paano mo sasabihin na masyadong marami ang SUCs natin and also the LGU colleges and universities if out of 2.5 or 2.6B going to college, P1.6M go to private schools and P1M go to public schools but you have another 77 percent who do not enter?

And of the 23 that enter, makikita niyo 9 out of 23 drop out. Meaning kahit mura yung SUCs kulang pa rin. And yung quality of education, bumabagsak din. Kasama dito yung faculty, yung facilities, yung modern equipment.

'Our future will depend on the quality of education today'

What should be the alarm bells for us is that our future will depend on the quality of education we have today. If you're going to look at employment four years from now, it would depend sa mga graduate natin today.

So kung hindi natin binubuhusan ng pera ang mga SUCs, yung mga college graduates ngayon, magmmaintain tayo na 14% lang ang naggraduate, ang mga colleges natin both private and public, HEIs natin bumabagsak, what can we expect in the future?

'There are sufficient funds to increase SUC budget'

I join the other legislators and I join the students in asking that mag-leave naman tayo ng pondo papunta sa SUCs. There are sufficient funds in the GAA or the NEP of 2012 to put at least P1 or P2 billion in the SUCs. I am hoping CHED will present to us and to the president a five-year plan on how to improve our SUCs.

Ang nakalagay sa budget last year is that dapat self-sustaining sila. This assumes kasi that looking at the Havard, Stanford, malalakas ang kanilang alumni associations kaya ang kanilang trust funds and donations malaki.

Number two, prime yung mga properties nila and may perang pangdevelop so may income generation yung mga universities. We should understand that it is almost just UP that has this potential na magkaroon ng income-generation sa mga lupa nila.

In other SUCs, they need more dormitories, CRs, laboratories. Wag mong sabihin na uunahin nilang magtayo ng malls kaysa sa itayo ang mga school buildings. Hindi mo pwedeng sabihing private sector kasi hindi marami sa mga universities na ito ang may location na conducive to commerce.

Q: Is it a proper observation that the budget for education is the same?

Let me be fair to the administration, binubuhusan talaga nila 'yung basic education, which is good. They're seeing the results in the conditional cash transfer, which is also good. In the mind of this administration, they're indirectly helping by having better graduates from elementary and high school and by putting money directly into the poor's hand with an indirect effect that when these young ones reach college, they will qualify and be able to pay.

'Tertiary Education is being discriminated under this administration'

But I can say without blinking that I also believe that the tertiary level of education or the SUCs are being discriminated under this administration. Meaning, hindi sabay 'yung strategy. Ang tingin nila, kung gusto mo mag-college, sagot dapat ng pamilya mo 'yon, rather than fully supporting them. Why? Because last year, they had cuts. Most were restored, but some were not.

This year, napaka-minimal o pakitang-tao lang ang increase. Even if you look at the scholarship funds of CHED, it's not sustainable. Ang concept kasi dapat ng scholarship fund natin ay simple: kapag pinanganak ka nang walang wala ka, kahit wala kang magulang, you're supposed to be able to go to college na sagot ng state.

'There's a policy flaw' Why? Even if you say that it's not an obligation under the constitution unlike primary and secondary education, we all know that if you are a college degree holder, you will be able to work. And, when you work, you pay taxes. Pero kung hindi ka college degree holder, limited 'yung option mo for work. Mas mababa din ang ibabayad mo na tax.

Kahit saan mo tingnan, whether human development o national development, lamang ang state kung mag-iinvest tayo sa tertiary education. That's why I cannot see why we cannot increase the funds of the SUCs, if we're also doing that in other departments.

What I'm seeing here is, really, a policy flaw, rather than a lack of funds. I think, right now, the thinking of policy-makers in Malacanang is that for college students, sagot na dapat ng pamilya. Bahala na kayo. This cannot be done in a country where 80 percent of the people are poor.

Q: May validation na ba na ang cash transfer ay napupunta sa education o sa food?

I think it's logical that the cash transfer will go to the most basic muna. Number one is food and housing and medicine. Assuming that they will have enough, o makabangon sila nang kaunti, susunod ang education na tertiary.

But there's no validation yet that it will go to tertiary education because the condition, really, is keeping your children in elementary school. And usually, kung may pang-tuition ka, hindi ka na qualified. Because that means you have a little bit of disposable income.

What I'm saying is that tuition fees in any amount in education should be considered by the government as a basic need of our people, and should be provided for.

Q: Do you think the Senate or Congress will still be able to increase the SUC budget?

My experience in this congress and last year, first of all, nakapag-lipat-lipat kami ng between P2 billion to P5 billion. Number two, it's really a process of negotiation. If the Senate will take a hard stand and will say that these are our priorities.

Ang nagiging problema, iba-iba ang priority ng 23 senators kaya ang nagiging compromise palagi, i-realign lang natin na small amount na kani-kaniya, rather than magkaroon ng concensus ang mga senador na let's say, there are two areas, halimbawa, health and education, or SUCs at isa pa, na pagtulungan natin na malagay ng additional.

Kasi ang nangyayari, kapag nabi-bring up namin 'yung pag-realign ng funds, 'yung mga environmentalists, they want some funds realigned for environment. 'Yung mga pro-infrastructure development, 'yung sa infra ang gusto nilang i-realign.

What I'm saying is that we have to decide as a family. Hindi ba, sa isang pamilya, magtatanong ang nanay at tatay at mga anak, ano ba ang priority natin?

Malaki ang chance kung may concensus ang mga senators. But if we keep pushing for our own advocacies, rather than what the priorities are, ang nangyayari, it's 98% Malacanang's budget. Baka nga more. Baka wala pang 1% ang nagagalaw ng Congress.

I can say that in the past few budgets, 99 percent, palagi, Malacanang budget. We're supposed to be partners�Congress and Malacanang. Congress is supposed to make the changes that they deem proper.

Q: Any success in 'convincing the family' to increase SUC budget?

Well, one by one, and then in the caucus, but there are also some who are actually advocates. For example, Senator Angara, because he's the chairman on the committee on education, he'll be a natural advocate for this. But even that, halimbawa, to his heart, very close ang science and mathematics, so he's also pushing for scholarships in the high school level of science and math, and in the college level.

It's a complicated task. Because while we're trying to convince them about SUCs, they're also trying to convince me about health, environment, etc. Kaya ang panawagan dito, talagang manindigan at marinig ang boses ng mga kabataan at ng mga campus.

'The youth groups are right for asking for an increase; the government is wrong for not accommodating their appeal'

I think its rally is in the hands of the lobby groups. Dapat loud and clear ang boses ng mga youth. 'Yung gusto nilang suportahan at 'yung mga susuporta din sa future nila.

Sila naman ang nagiging susi talaga. Even in the last budget hearing, they were present outside the Senate, except that the youth have been constrained to do protests in a more creative way, and, really, it's through the media na naipapahayag ang damdamin dahil ngayon, ang cost lang ng pagpunta sa Manila, o mag-rally dito, ay napakalaki na kaya nahihirapan talaga na maipakita ang damdamin ng mga estudyante at mga propesor.

Look at the statistics. They're right. We're wrong. Sila ang tama na dapat dagdagan ang pondo, at ang gobyerno ang mali na hindi dinadagdagan ang pondo.

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