Binay SONA fact check: Total budgets of SUCs increase under Aquino
MANILA, Philippines – In his "True State of the Nation Address" on Monday, August 3, Vice President Jejomar Binay cited as example of the Aquino administration's callousness was the cuts in the budgets of state universities and colleges (SUCs).
The Vice President said the following 4 schools particularly suffered:
- Cavite State University (CvSU) - he didn't cite a figure, but said this was among top 20 SUCs with a budget decrease
- University of the Philippines (UP) - decreased by P1 billion
- Mindanao State University (MSU) - decreased by more than P800 million
- Isabela State University (ISU) - decreased by P77 million
"Noong 2014, humiling ang mga state colleges and universities ng P59 billion mula sa DBM. Ang ibinigay sa kanila: P809 million. Nagtanong ang mga estudyante, 'Saan kukunin ang kulang na pondo?' Ang sagot ng administrasyon, 'Mag-fund raising kayo. Ibig sabihin, bahala kayo sa buhay ninyo," Binay said.
(In 2014, state colleges and universities asked for P59 billion from the Department of Budget and Management. What they received: P809 million. Students asked, 'Where do we get the rest of the fund?' The administration answered, 'Conduct a fund-raising.' Which means, fend for yourself.)
His counter-SONA was held at the Cavite State University in Indang, Cavite. (READ: Binay camp hits Palace 'scare tactics' vs Cavite school)
A check with national expenditure programs over the years show, however, that the total budget of SUCs have increased yearly since 2012. The trend continues with the proposed 2016 budget.
The Aquino administration started in 2010 with a P22.4 billion budget for SUCs, an allocation it inherited from the Arroyo administration.
Aquino decreased that to P22 billion under the 2011 budget, the first that his government crafted and approved.
Starting 2012, however, the total SUC budget increased every year (see the table).
"Contrary to the claim of Vice President Binay, the total budgetary allocation for state colleges and universities has more than doubled (100.4%) during the term of President Aquino," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said in a statement Tuesday, August 4.
However, a check on the budgets of the 4 schools that Binay mentioned in his speech shows that the Vice President got it right about decreases on certain years.
From 2010 to 2016, each school experienced a budget decrease at least once:
- Cavite State University: 2012
- University of the Philippines: 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016
- Mindanao State University: 2014, 2016
- Isabela State University: 2014
Below are the budget allocations of SUCs and the 4 universities mentioned by Binay through the years, based on available data from DBM's website:
New appropriations (in million pesos) from 2010 to 2016
|State Universities and Colleges||▼||▲||▲||▲||▲||▲|
|University of the Philippines||▼||▼||▲||▼||▲||▼|
|Isabela State University||▲||▲||▲||▼||▲||▲|
|Cavite State University||▲||▼||▲||▲||▲||▲|
|Mindanao State University||▲||▲||▲||▼||▲||▼|
But for most years, their budget has gone up, notably for years 2013 and 2015.
Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Patricia Licuanan earlier said "2013 is truly an unusual situation" since SUCs that year got a significant budgetary increase of almost 50% from the 2012 totals.
Roadmap for education reform
But these increases are "nominal increases as against real hike in budgets," vice presidential spokesman Joey Salgado shot back at Malacañang in a statement Wednesday, August 5.
Salgado did not mention where Binay got the figures he mentioned in his SONA, but he claimed that the budget secretary himself, Florencio Abad, revealed there were budget cuts for SUCs in 2013.
"We would like to remind the Palace that it was one of the President's most trusted advisers, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad, who confirmed the budget cuts for [SUCs] in a budget briefing at the House of Representatives in 2013," Salgado said.
Abad supposedly said that presidents of SUCs signed the Aquino administration's Roadmap for Public Higher Education Reform, which aims to rationalize resource utilization and to maximize resource generation by SUCs, among other objectives.
"Using this framework, what [SUCs] propose, the national government cuts. This is the True State of Higher Public Education: fend for yourself," Salgado said in a mix of Filipino and English. – Rappler.com