/ 17 September 2020

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago denounced the budget slashes for several State Universities and Colleges as well as student financial assistance programs for 2021.

Elago reported that 19 SUCs suffered total budget cuts, 18 had their maintenance expenses slashed while 56 others had their capital outlay budget reduced.

“Imbes na kaltasan ang mga SUCs na ito, nag-propose naman po sila ng kailangan nila na pondo, dapat po nating ibigay para sa mga SUCs na ito na kinakailangan nila para sa transition sa new normal at pagpapalakas ng inclusive learning modalitites sa ating State Universities and Colleges,” Elago said.

Meanwhile, student financial assistance programs suffered a 60% budget cut while the assistance for medical students had zero budget.

“Hindi po natin puwedeng pabayaan ang ating mga scholar, lalo na po sa gitna ng isang pandemya,” Elago asserted.

Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero De Vera 3rd explained that it had always been the initiative of Congress to realign funds for scholarship programs.

In line with this, Elago urged the House Committee on Appropriations to restore the budget cuts.

“The call of this youth representation for the Honorable Members of both chambers of Congress is to first, restore huge cuts to the budgets of our nation’s State Universities and Colleges, immediately release and prevent delays on the budget for free tuition and other school fees and tertiary education subsidy, as mandated by RA 10931, extend the eligibility of academic scholars for the academic year 2021-2022,” she said.

The lawmaker also called for the adjustment of application requirements of student financial assistance programs and to provide communication and connectivity allowances for faculty and students.