Ridon seeks budget amendment: Transfer Cafgu funds to SUCs

Rappler.com
The House of Representatives have approved an increase in the pay of paramilitary groups while cutting the budget of state colleges and universities

LAST PUSH. Congressman Terry Ridon filed an amendment of the 2016 national budget before the House Committee of Appropriations.

MANILA, Philippines – Kabataan Representative Terry Ridon urged the House of Representatives to reinstate the P400 million worth of deduction from the proposed budgets of state universities and colleges (SUCs) for4 2016.

On Wednesday morning, October 14, Ridon, joined by student leaders, filed with the House committee of appropriations a letter requesting for an amendment of the P3-trillion proposed national budget, which the House approved on October 9. It was addressed to committee chairperson Isidro Ungab.

In the 17-page letter, the youth representative proposed that the P3.4 billion funding for the separation benefits of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs) be channeled to SUCs.

This is to cover the the P477.8 million cut from the schools’ maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE).

It was earlier reported that 59 SUCs are set to face heavy cuts in their MOOEs, where schools get their daily operational expenses. 

Kuhanan ng budget ang CAFGU. Dapat ang pondo ng bayan ay manatili sa serbisyong panlipunan gaya ng pondo para sa edukasyon,” the youth representative told reporters in a press conference. (Get budget from CAFGU. National fund must remain for public service, like funding for education.)

Ridon also noted President Benigno Aquino III’s veto message telling the Armed Forces of the Philippines to ease funding for CAFGU benefits.

“The AFP shall ensure that no new CAFGUs shall be recruited for training and the costs attendant to the training of existing CAFGUs shall be gradually scaled down in anticipation of its eventual demobilization,” Aquino said in a veto message last December 2014.

Thus, “there can be no justification for the CAFGU budget’s increase to P3.4 billion in 2016,” Ridon argued. In 2015, CAFGU compensation was only given P2 billion.

The 2016 national government budget, which amounted P 3.002 trillion, is the highest proposed budget to date, with a 15.2 percent increase from this year’s P2.6 billion allocation. It is also the first time a proposed budget summed to a trillion peso. 

Despite the million-peso increase in the national budget, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) only approved P43.8 billion from the P82.58 billion 114 SUCs requested.

Currently, a house resolution authored by 27 solons is pending before the appropriations committee, asking lawmakers to “study options to further increase the budget for public tertiary education.” – Rappler.com

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