2013 SUC Budget Boosted 44%

MANILA, Philippines - Budget for state universities and colleges (SUCs) will increase by 44 percent next year to boost public tertiary education across the country, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Friday.

In a statement, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad said that the national government is proposing to congress a P37.127 billion budget for SUCs, higher compared with P25.853 this year.

Abad said the increase is aimed to strengthen SUC performance and improve student welfare through better infrastructure, in line with the Aquino administration's higher education roadmap.

"This way, the delivery of higher education will be more efficient and accessible. Following the roadmap will also allow SUCs to develop their students' capabilities so they're well-prepared to join the work force," Abad said.

Of the proposed P37.1 billion, P27.3 billion will support Personal Services, which went up by 20.6 percent for the implementation of the fourth tranche of the Salary Standardization Law III to raise the salaries of SUC teachers and staff. The amount includes allocations for unfilled positions of SUCs.

Another P6.4 billion of the 2013 budget for SUCs will cover Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE), 114 percent higher than the previous year's MOOE budget. The increase will help bolster institutional improvements, research initiatives, extension services, and the quality of instruction across all SUCs.

"Improvements in teaching quality and the establishment of quality assurance systems in SUCs are attainable not just through better compensation for our teachers. To support these initiatives, MOOE will also receive normative funding," Abad said.

"Fund support will therefore be based on a set criteria to bolster our rationalization efforts in SUCs, so that more programs and courses respond directly to growing industry demands," he added.

The rationalization of SUCs entail the mapping out of leading universities in all regions, centers of excellence, as well as centers of development. Besides developing high-level professional disciplines or courses demanded by the market, the rationalization plan will also align college academic programs according to SUCs' leading regional industries.

Meanwhile, P3.36 billion of the total budget will be used for Capital Outlay (CO) to support the infrastructure needs of state-supported colleges and universities, bringing up the total CO budget for 2013 by more than sixteen times.

"The Aquino administration recognizes the severe need for capital outlay support in SUCs, which will receive their CO allocations directly. This will jumpstart developments in infrastructure and enable SUCs to acquire laboratory equipment and other necessary facilities to boost their competitiveness and academic capacities," Abad said.

The budget chief further noted that the University of the Philippines (UP) is set to receive a P3.9-billion increase in their budget, raising their total 2013 allocation to P10.0 billion. Under the 2013 budget for all UP campuses, CO support rose from P190 million in 2012 to P1.45 billion, while the allocation for Personal Services was pegged at P6.5 billion, up by P1.2 billion from this year (note: PS does not include unfilled positions).

Finally, MOOE activities under UP will receive a 188.2-percent boost amounting to P2 billion, which will cover research and other related activities for the university's nationwide campuses. The remaining amount will be devoted to retirement and life insurance premium support for faculty and staff.

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