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August 1, 2017

At start of 2018 national budget delibs, youth solon asks:


Duterte admin willing to spend over a trillion for
infrastructure but zero for free public college?

As the Development Budget Coordination Committee jump starts the marathon proceedings for the
P3.767 trillion proposed national budget for 2018, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago questioned the
fact that the national government proposes to spend over P1 trillion in infrastructure projects, but zero for
free public college, a move that abruptly discontinues the introduction of free tuition in state universities
and colleges (SUCs) that is set to only begin this year.

The 2018 fiscal program indicates a target 3-percent of GDP deficit amounting to P523.6 billion. To
finance this, the national government intends to borrow an additional P888.2 billion in both domestic and
foreign sources. Perusing through the list of program loans in the budget books, it is notable that many
of the items that will be funded by loans are infrastructure projects, as part of President Dutertes call to
build, build, build.

The president also said in his budget message that his government intends to spend a total of P8.1
trillion trillion for infrastructure from 2017 to 2022. Hindi naman po kaila sa atin na maraming anomalya
sa gobyerno, kabilang na ang kickbacks, overpricing o patong, at pork barrel ay nagmumula sa
infrastructure projects. With the national government intending to spend over a trillion pesos in 2018 and
up to P8.1 trillion from 2017 to 2022 for infrastructure, wala pong kasiguruhan ang mamamayan na hindi
lang basta maibubulsa, pagkakakakitaan, o kung anumang himala pa ang puntahan ng badyet para sa
infrastructure. Elago stressed.

The youth solon noted how this fact stands in stark contrast to the exclusion of any allocation to sustain
the free tuition for SUCs in the 2018 budget, despite the fact that Congress has already transmitted a
consolidated bill about it for the presidents signature.

Worse, the budget books show that DBM expects SUCs to increase tuition collection from the estimated
P7.8 billion in 2017 to P9.1 billion in 2018, a whopping 16.2 percent increase. Di na nga popondohan ang
free tuition ulit, mukhang nagbibigay pa ng signal ang DBM na magtaas ng singil sa matrikula ang ating
mga pampublikong pamantasan sa susunod na taon.

This representation is deeply appalled by the manner in which this national government is willing to
borrow billions to fund various infrastructure projects, without any assurance that no peso will go to the
pockets of the unscrupulous, while the administration abruptly defunds the free tuition policy, Elago
pointed out.###
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