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Lugi ang Pinoy! Cash-based budgeting to hamper free college tuition – CHED

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The House Committee on Appropriations warned that the “cash-based” budgeting scheme being proposed in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2019 will affect the full implementation of the Free Tertiary Education Act for students in state colleges and universities (SUCs).

Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, panel chair stressed DBM’s new cash-based budgeting system, which have resulted in across-the-board cuts in the budgets of critical agencies like the the Department of Education, the Department of Health,the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

“From “Build, Build, Build” to “Slash, Slash, Slash.” Dito sa cash-based budget ng DBM, lugi ang Pilipino, lalo na ang mga probinsyano,” said Nograles.

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) officer-in-charge J. Prospero “Popoy” de Vera III told lawmakers on Thursday that the cash-based budget system would “severely hamper” the implementation of Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education (UAQTE) Act.

“This cash-based budget will severely hamper our implementation of the Free College Education law because SUCs’ enrollment date for first semester is towards the end of July. The fastest time that we can gather the name of enrollees (for the free college tuition) is by September,” he said.

De Vera explained CHED would encounter problems with the shift to a cash-based budget system as the fiscal year and academic year are not aligned.

“In a cash-based budget, how can we use the 2019 budget to pay for our dues in 2020? And if we do, that would create a problem… for second semester, we (in CHED) pay (for the students’ education) only until December which is the end of the fiscal year? Or do we pay them for until April of next year… how can the students be able to bill the CHED for their free tuition in time?” de Vera stressed.

On Thursday, lawmakers have crossed party lines to oppose the DBM’s new scheme due to the drawbacks of the proposed cash-based budgeting system.

“This is the complete opposite of the ‘Build, Build, Build’ thrust of the Duterte Administration. The people expect more infrastructure, more assistance from government. Instead, the budget presented by the DBM is all about ‘Slash, Slash, Slash,’ which would result in fewer of everything from fewer roads, fewer classrooms, fewer government hospital facilities,” said Nograles.