From zero to P1-billion: UP gets budget from bicam

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 11 2013 06:31 PM | Updated as of Dec 12 2013 02:31 AM

But PGH gets mere P275 million

MANILA - The approved version of the P2.264 trillion national budget now includes a P1 billion capital outlay for the University of the Philippines.

"This is a welcome development for the UP community. With its capital outlay raised to P1 billion from zero, UP would have a fund to work with next year to support the completion and rehabilitation of classrooms, buildings and laboratories, and to establish research centers and other facilities in its various campuses in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao," said Senator Pia Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.

She said the approved budget also includes the P275-million capital outlay for the Philippine General Hospital, which is under the jurisdiction of UP.

She said, however, that this is not enough.

"The additional P275 million makes up barely a third of the P900 million that PGH originally requested for its budget next year. This wouldn't be enough, considering that the poor depend on the PGH for medical care and hospitalization. I am disappointed, but I remain hopeful that we could find other sources of funding to support the operations of the PGH and public health care in general, such as the incremental revenues from the Sin Tax Reform Law,” she said.

She said she will file a resolution to look into the status of these funds, which was earlier earmarked to improve public health services and facilities."

"It should be noted that the sin tax is not meant to take the place of funding for health care, but to augment existing funding provided in the General Appropriations Act,” she said.

Meanwhile, the 2014 budget approved for the Commission on Higher Education included a P2.5-billion capital outlay fund that has been itemized for several State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) across the country, and a separate P2.5 billion fund to support scholars.