‘VERY ALARMING’ | DBM cuts CHED’s 2019 budget for gov’t scholarship grants

7 months ago

AUGUST 10, 2018 – Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Officer-in-Charge Prospero de Vera III has expressed concern over the budget cut for scholars of the government.

During the budget hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations, the CHED has a proposed budget of P83.02 billion for 2019, but under the cash-based budget system that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is pushing, only P50.44-billion will be allocated to the commission. This is a 39.24% reduction from the proposed budget of CHED.

The DBM has instead increased the budget for the Free Tertiary Education among state universities and colleges to up to 10%, or P43.98-billion, from its current P40-billion budget.

But at least 50% was deducted from the allotted budget for scholarship grants, leaving zero allocation for the tuition fee of medical students in eight state colleges.

The student financial assistance program will also experience a budget cut from P4.73 billion to P1.17 billion.

Also affected in the budget cut is the PAMANA program intended for the rebel returnees and their families.

“That means the commitment of the President to provide scholarships to the children of rebel returnees, we have no money to give. If they are enrolled in SUCs, hindi masyadong tatamaan, kasi libre na ang tuition saka miscellaneous, but they will not get any additional stipend,” De Vera said.

“But for those enrolled in private universities, because they will not get any continuing, they will not have money to offset the tuition that they have,” he added.

Meanwhile, from P4.19-billion, the budget for the Tulong Dunong Program, which grants chosen students P6,000 per semester, was reduced to P1.19-billion.

“We don’t have any funds for the continuing scholars under the Tulong Dunong program.
I know that CHED has committed to Congress that we will ensure that they graduate. We cannot keep that commitment anymore,” De Vera said.

House Committee on Appropriations Chairperson Rep. Karlo Nograles said the budget cuts were “very alarming.”

But DBM Director Tessie Gregorio said that their department has discovered low utilization rates for some of the funds. In fact, according to their records, in 2017, only 39% was used for the Tulong-Dunong program.