Press Release
December 2, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara strongly opposed slashing the allocation for State Universities and Colleges (SUC's), fighting instead for an increase of at least P322 million under the 2012 National Budget to go toward the research and development (R&D) funding of universities.

"Cutting the budget of SUC's is unwarranted in light of the fact that we already make the second lowest education investment in relation to GDP in the ASEAN," said Angara, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance.

This, he continued, has resulted in the declining quality of education. As an example, the country's best universities placed low in the QS University Ranking Lists. This year, the University of the Philippines ranked 332nd, followed by Ateneo de Manila University at 360th.

"We are also spending way below UNESCO's recommended budget for research and development which is 1 percent of GDP. Our government spends less than half a percent for this, and it is imperative that we counter this trend," Angara continued.

Angara restored the budget cut from the allocation of the SUC's through the realignment of P322 million toward five innovation clusters namely, Cloud Computing and Software as a Service (SaaS), Algae Research & Commercialization, Smart Agriculture and Precision Farming, Responsible Mining Technologies, Disaster Science and Management, and Natural Health and Nutritional Products.

Angara conceived of this collaborative linkage between academe, government and industry through the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), which he chairs.

The P322 million will be used for both maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and capital outlay (CO) of SUC's. The initiative is supported by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Department of Agriculture (DA). These departments will work closely in implementing these clusters.

A known advocate for teacher welfare, Angara also fought for funding of teacher educator scholarships, beginning with the country's 10 Normal Universities. Beneficiaries of this doctoral scholarships will be from the Philippine Normal University, State Universities of Mariano Marcos, West Visayas, Bukidnon, Palawan, Bicol, Western Mindanao, and Pangasinan, and the Normal Universities of Leyte and Cebu.

The said groups have in turn, committed to work closely with the Department of Education in training elementary and high school teachers for the upcoming K-to-12 shift in basic education.

Committing to further support for R&D, Angara also pushed for P12 million financial support to studies related to cultural preservation, environmental protection, and climate change adaptation. This will benefit the SUC's from the Cordilleras, namely Abra State Institute of Science and Technology (ASIST), Apayao State College (ASC), Benguet State University (BSU), Ifugao State University (IFSU), Kalinga-Apayao State College, (KASC) and Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC).

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, explained, "The P322 million is a small step in our efforts to increase government support for tertiary education, but it is also a good start. To make bigger strides, we must appeal to our leaders: the President and the members of Congress to give a larger allocation for education in the years to come."

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