Education-- from basic to higher education-- remains a priority of the Aquino administration. It understands the concerns of teachers, students, and their parents, and has proposed the 2011 Reform Budget precisely to ensure that the education sector will receive the funds they need. The bottom line: 1. The proposed budget for the whole education sector actually increased by P31 billion. The proposed budget for basic education in particular increased by 18.5%, the highest increase in a decade. 2. The 2011 Budget proposes a larger amount for SUC’s than what they actually received for 2010.

2010 actual SUC budget released vs 2011 Proposed NEP of PNoy
Left: The first bar in toto represents the 2010 appropriated budget for SUCs, including the Congressional Insertions subjected to a conditional veto by former President Arroyo -- and were never released. The second bar represents the proposed SUC budget for 2011. The graph illustrates that the proposed 2011 budget is P2.373 billion higher than that of the 2010 proposed budget, which was the only amount not subject to the former President’s conditional veto.

Right: A graph illustrating the difference between the overall education budget for 2010 (left) and 2011 (right).

Q & A on the Education budget for Fiscal Year 2011
Was the Education Budget cut? The education budget was actually increased from 15.6% (P240.59 billion) of the National Budget to 16.5% (P271.67 billion). Was the budget for State Universities and Colleges (SUC) cut? The proposed SUC budget for 2011 is P23.407 billion, or 11.3% of the total National Budget: higher than the P21.034 billion proposed in 2010. The increase is allotted for Personal Services (PS) to support the requirements of the Salary Standardization Law. The P23.845 billion 2010 appropriation for SUCs in the 2010 General Appropriations Act was not the actual budget released for 2010. At the least, P2.8 billion worth of congressional insertions was subjected to a conditional veto by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and was never released. The actual SUC budget released for 2010 only amounted to the 2010 proposed budget of P21.034 billion.

Why do people say the budget was cut? As stated, the nominal figures for 2010 include congressional insertions which made the 2010 figures seem higher, but which were never disbursed as per the conditional veto of former President Arroyo. Another reason may have been the relatively larger basic education funding increase to P207.3 billion, 18.5% of the 2011 budget—the highest increase in a decade. This move was made to aid the sector of basic education, which the administration deems most in need of public assistance. Furthermore, it is in accordance with Section 2, Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution, which encourages the Government to focus on basic education. What is a Conditional Veto? It is defined as a veto in which the President objects to parts of a Bill and proposes amendments and conditions to make it acceptable. The insertions could only have been released if the 14 Congress enacted new revenue measures. This condition was not met. What does this mean for teachers in SUCs? What does this mean for SUCs? SUCs may earn extra income through different ventures, including partnerships with the private sector, and utilizing resources, such as land, that are available to them. The institutions are free to manage and allocate these resources as they see fit to augment their budget. As stated in Higher Education Modernization Act of 1997 (Republic Act 8292), SUCs are authorized to retain and utilize their own income. At the end of 2009, SUCs had a total amount of P19.1 billion in cash balances. These institutions, as proposed, should use their cash balances to fund academic programs. This is in line with the President’s objective to make SUCs more self-reliant. The salaries and benefits of teachers are fully covered. What does this mean for students in SUCs? The general concern is that this might lead to tuition hikes in SUCs. The 2010 budget was proposed as such to prevent unnecessary tuition fee increases. The whole amount allotted to SUCs will be released unconditionally. Students should nonetheless encourage the administrations of their respective schools to come up with creative ways to maximize income from their existing resources to develop their respective universities or colleges.

Prepared by: Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office

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