In the recently presented National Expenditure Program (NEP) for Fiscal Year 2022, the University of the Philippines (UP) has been given a total budget of P20.174B. According to the UP Office of the Vice President for Planning and Finance (UP OVPPF), this represents a decrease of 6%, amounting to P1.329 billion, compared to its allotment in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2021 of P21.503B.
The decreases in the UP budget are seen mainly in its Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE), which went down by 11%, and in its Capital Outlay (CO) by 70%. On the other hand, Personal Services (PS) saw an increase of 6% or P780M. This is generally attributed to the rise in basic salary due to the Salary Standardization Law (SSL).
Funding for the PGC and PGH
The CO is appropriations for goods and services whose benefits would extend beyond the fiscal year. Many Locally Funded Projects involving capital outlay in the GAA 2021 are no longer given budget in the NEP 2022. The new CO projects included in the NEP 2022, totaling P601M, are the construction of the Food Processing Research and Development Center Building and rehabilitation of the Dairy Building of Dairy Training Research Institute (DTRI), both in UP Los Baños, and equipment for the second phase of the Philippine Genomic Information and Resource Hub, under the UP System.
The budget allotted for the UP Philippine General Hospital (UP PGH) in the NEP 2022, on the other hand, is P5.666B, which is an 18% decrease from the GAA 2021’s P6.872B. As with the rest of the UP System, there is an increase of P127.7M or 5% in the PS for the UP PGH due to the SSL’s rise in salary. The UP PGH’s MOOE faces a decrease of 4% or P130M due to various initiatives provided for in the GAA 2021 no longer being included in the NEP 2022.
The UP PGH also received no CO or Equipment Outlay (EO) provisions in the NEP 2022. None of the PGH’s buildings and equipment named in UP’s budget proposal (BP) for 2022 made it to the NEP 2022.
Locally Funded Projects not included
The UP System and some UP constituent universities also proposed several Capital Outlay projects, including buildings and equipment, in its submitted BP that were not considered in the NEP 2022. Among these projects are:
- the construction of phase 2 of Balay Atleta, phase 2 of the Academic Commons, the UP Gymnasium, and the Shopping Center in UP Diliman;
- the rehabilitation and modernization of the UP Diliman Main Library and other academic facilities;
- the construction of the UPLB School of Environmental Science and Management Building, the Microbial Bank of the UPLB Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, and rehabilitation of other facilities in UPLB;
- the extension of the UP Manila College of Allied Medical Profession Building and the continuation of the construction of the National Institutes of Health Building in UP Manila, as well as the construction of a dorm at School of Health Sciences-Baler;
- the construction of phase 4 of the School of Technology Building, phase 2 of the Main Library, and the Water Sports and Training Facility in UP Visayas;
- the construction of phase 2 of the Learning Commons Annex and phase 1 of the Sports Development Center in UP Cebu;
- the upgrading and modernization of various academic and administrative facilities in UP Mindanao;
- the construction of the proposed four-level College of Arts and Communications building in UP Baguio;
- the rehabilitation of classrooms and public restrooms, and the upgrading of various computing, network, ICT, and academic support equipment and facilities across the UP System.
The three UP budgets
The NEP 2022 represents areas of negotiation in budget legislation. Following the issuance of a National Budget Call by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the University consolidates the various budget proposals of all the units and constituent universities under it into a UP Budget Proposal (BP), which will be approved by the UP Board of Regents.
The UP BP then goes before a technical panel of the DBM in budget hearings, where UP is given a chance to defend its proposal. Following reviews and recommendations by the DBM’s bureaus and Executive Review Board, the UP BP is consolidated into the National Expenditure Program, which is presented by the DBM to the President and the Cabinet for further refinements or reprioritization, before being submitted to Congress for budget legislation. After the NEP is approved by Congress and signed into law by the President, it becomes the General Appropriations Act of that fiscal year.
The UP administration clarifies that efforts are continuing to secure more significant subsidies for the University, the country’s national university, and an essential component in the national government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.