Solons push to restore cuts in SUCs’ budget, medical students’ scholarship

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MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers are pushing to reinstate the cuts made in the budget of some state universities and colleges in the country, as well as the cuts made in the budget for the funding of scholarships for medical students.

During the House deliberations on the Commission on Higher Education’s 2021 budget, Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago revealed that 19 SUCs have budget cuts in their 2021 allocation; 18 have cuts in their maintenance and other operating expenses, and 56 have cuts in their capital outlay.

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She likewise noted that there is a 60% cut in the budget for scholarships while the cash grant for medical students received no allocation.

“This is unacceptable, especially in a time of the pandemic, that’s why we call for Congress to restore these budget cuts,” Elago said.

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CHED chairperson Prospero de Vera explained that there is a budget for medical students’ grant as the funds for 2020 would be retained in the 2021 national expenditure program.

It is for the period of 2021-2022 that there is no allocation. De Vera revealed that 1,789 medical students are currently being funded out of the cash grant.

“We hope Congress can sustain this. We will tell Congress, and ask Congress to re-align,” he said.

Northern Samar 1st District Rep. Paul Daza echoed Elago’s remarks and pushed for the retention of the funding for a medical student scholarship for 2021.

“No less than the DOH and the IATF projected this year we would have a shortage of 4000 doctors. Very critical that we maintain the funding, the subsidy for medical students in the SUCs,” he said. [ac]

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