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UP poor use of P2.1B budget questioned

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by Allan Yves Briones

In 2018, the University of the Philippines (UP) diverted P2.18 billion meant for the operation of its campuses, as well as the modernization of its facilities and equipment.

According to the Commission on Audit (COA), this is contrary to law and the 1987 Constitution.

“This practice can be viewed as a transgression of Congress’ power of the purse because the University can easily opt to disregard the provisions of General Appropriations Act and subsequently reprogram the allotted funds to other projects in the succeeding year,” the 2018 audit report read.

State auditors flagged the billion peso transfer for a lack of necessary details, particularly the specific purpose of each diverted item, mourning that the budget was initially allocated for the delivery of state-of-the-art educational facilities.

“In the absence of explicit provision, the use of savings is deemed unconstitutional without authorization from the Department of Budget Management, more so, the unexpended balance could mean uncompleted, discontinued or abandoned works, activities/projects for which funds have already been appropriated,” the audit report said.

Under Section 29 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, it states that “no money shall be paid out of the treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.”

Since 2016, UP has failed to make the most of its annual allocation, posting disbursement rates of 27%, 5% and 3% yearly, despite the financial freedoms granted under Republic Act No. 9500 or the University of the Philippines Charter.

UP officials promised to study the extent of their freedoms under the UP Charter, and draft guidelines for the return of the diverted funds. #

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