30 SUCs suffer funding cuts in proposed 2024 budget

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 21) – Out of 117 state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the Philippines, 30 saw budget cuts in the 2024 National Expenditure Program (NEP) despite an increase in the number of students enrolled.

4PS Rep. Jonathan Abalos asked if it was true that 30 SUCs would see budget cuts at the House budget debates on Thursday.

“Tama po [That's right]. 30 SUCs yung may decrease in the range of 27% or in the amount of ₱11.45 billion,” revealed Surigao Del Norte Rep. Bingo Matugas, sponsor of the SUC budget.

The cut comes even though 1.85 million students enrolled into SUCs this school year, an increase of about 50,000 compared to last school year’s 1.8 million enrollees.

Asked why the Department of Budget and Management reduced SUC budget next year, Matugas said: “One of the reasons given by the DBM [Department of Budget and Management] is yung mga capital outlay last year ay natapos na [last year’s capital outlays have already ended] and those that have been submitted in 2024 ay hindi pa [are not yet] shovel ready or implementable kaagad [right away].”

Capital outlay refers to appropriations used for the purchase of goods and services.

“That’s why yung decrease na malaki sa SUCs budget ay makikita sa [most of the SUCs funding decrease is seen in] capital outlay," Matugas said. "More than 60%, from ₱14 billion ginawang [it was cut to] ₱5 billion."

In the 2024 NEP, the DBM allocated SUCs a ₱100.88 billion budget.

This is about ₱7 billion or 5% less than the ₱107.037 billion SUCs were given in the 2023 General Appropriations Act, and also less than a third of the ₱331.3 billion which these institutions first asked for in the 2024 NEP.