DBM: UP budget for 2024 lower due to ‘congressional initiatives’

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Thursday attributed the decrease in the proposed 2024 budget for the University of the Philippines (UPG) to 'congressional initiatives for various capital outlay for infrastructure projects.' DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said the proposed PHP22.59 billion allotted for UP under the 2024 National Expenditure Program (NEP) is lower than the approved PHP24.26-billion budget under the 2023 General Appropriations Act (GAA) because of the amendments made by Congress. 'Because it (2023 NEP) went through the Congress. Marami pong taga-UP sa House at saka Senate so marami po silang mga amendment (Many from the House of Representatives and the Senate came from the UP so they made many amendments),' she said. 'And most of [amendments] are [for] completion of existing infrastructure projects. 'Pag completion na siya sa (So, if it is for completion in) 2023, we don't need the funding for 2024,' Pangandaman added. In a separate statement, the DBM said there is no need to include the UP's infrastructure projects for 2023 in the 2024 NEP because these are 'one-time or non-recurring expenditures.' 'The DBM also took into consideration the budget utilization of UP in the previous year ([fiscal year] 2022) prior to budget allocation in the proposed NEP. Hence, in our review and evaluation of UP's budget proposals, we considered its absorptive capacity, which is 69.48 percent as of end-2022,' it said. 'Rest assured that the education sector shall remain as being the highest budgetary priority of this administration as mandated by the Constitution, with a total proposed budget of PHP924.7 billion, reflecting a 3.3-percent increase from its PHP895.2-billion budget in 2023,' the DBM added. Pangandaman also ensured that the 2024 budget plan for UP will not have an impact on student admissions. The DBM also noted that the proposed UP budget in the 2024 NEP is 'almost the same level' as the PHP23.11 billion in the 2023 NEP. The NEP serves as Congress' basis for its General Appropriations Bill (GAB) which will be known as GAA once signed into law. During budget deliberations, lawmakers may make amendments to the GAB.

Source: Philippines News Agency