Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Commentary: University of the Philippines System Budget to be slashed for a 3rd straight year as indicated in proposed 2011 National Budget

By Chanda Shahani

According to a March 25, 2010 entry in the Facebook Page of University of the Philippines (U.P.) Faculty Regent Judy M. Taguiwalo, quoting Mr. Victor Lorenzo Villanueva of the office of Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino, the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino has submitted the proposed budget of the national government to Congress, which also includes the budget of the U.P. System.

The Aquino Administration under Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad, has adopted a "zero-based budgeting" approach which essentially disregards a previous year's budgetary assumptions and forces the consumer of public funds (such as a government agency, a state university or a government controlled and owned corporation) to justify all elements of its budget from scratch. The net effect of such a unilateral action on the part of the Aquino administration, has been a drop in the proposed 2011 budget of the U.P. System by PhP 1.39B from the previous year. The U.P. System Budget was PhP 8.2 billion in 2009, PhP 6.9 billion in 2010 and PhP 5.5 billion in 2011.

For the benefit of our readers, here is the link to the proposed 2011 budget of the U.P. System:

This is to also to directly remind the members of the University of the Philippines Administration, whom we count as among our readers (although we admit that some of them may not exactly be our fans due to our non-stop coverage of rent-seeking behavior by government officials within the Diliman geographic area) that U.P.'s alternative sources of revenue need to be subjected to Commission on Audit (COA) oversight once and for all to ensure that these precious funds, in an era of dwindling budget funds from the National Government are not mysteriously "misplaced" or "lost" because the stakes are too high considering the welfare of our national university. The Diliman Diary has written extensively the tip of this potentially gargantuan iceberg on June 1, 2010 ( and  August 1, 2010 (

The Diliman Diary continues to pursue updates to this story as well as scores of others as part of our oversight function as citizen journalists. We also believe that the U.P. Administration will have to subsequently defend before Congress, during the 2011 budget hearings, the possible lack of its not granting cooperation to COA on the oversight over revenue generating entities such as private foundations utilizing U.P. and government facilities, considering the drastic cut in its proposed budget juxtaposed with the enormous donations and revenues collected through university-affiliated foundations, and which ultimatel defeats the principle of transparency.

The previous complaints of COA were that they have not yet been granted access to these records. The Diliman Diary has requested COA for a copy of its consolidated audited annual report (CAAR) for 2009, to see if progress has been made regarding this problem, but this is not yet publicly available, so we are unable to determine if these foundations have already submitted themslves to COA oversight. However, the U.P. Administration can certainly clarify this before Congress, which has the power of the purse strings, if they have corrected this deficiency or not. The Diliman Diary promises to attend these budget hearings and submit the pertinent information to the members of Congress so that more light may be shed on this matter.

(Chanda Shahani is the Editor of the Diliman Diary. He graduated with a bachelor of arts degree. in Comparative Literature from U.P. Diliman)

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