Mindanao legislators on Tuesday called the attention on the lack of allocation for state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman of Basilan and Anak Mindanao Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan assailed the Department of Budget and Management to allocate “even a single centavo” for the operations of SUCs in the BARMM.
In House Resolution 2251, the two lawmakers urged Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, the House appropriations panel and the DBCC to provide funding for four BARMM SUCs that have no budget for next year.
These are the Adiong Memorial Polytechnic State College, Cotabato State University, Sulu State College, and the Tawi-Tawi Regional Agricultural College.
“These SUCs which have existed before creation of BARMM, and their charters provide that their funding requirements shall be provided by the national government,” the resolution read.
“This outright removal of funding by the national government will seriously threaten, not only the operation, but the very existence of these state colleges and universities in the BARMM. This non-provision of funding to these SUCs will displace thousands of students, teachers and personnel in these institutions of higher learning,” the two lawmakers added.
Hataman and Sangcopan reiterated the appeal in a joint letter addressed to Speaker Velasco, through appropriations panel chair Rep. Eric Yap, and higher and technical education committee chair Rep. Mark Go.
They said the third paragraph of Section 16, Article IX of Republic Act No. 11054, or the Bangsamoro Organic Law, reads:
“Any school, college or university existing in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region as of the effectivity of this Organic Law, and such other schools and institutions that may be established hereinafter shall be deemed integral components of the educational system of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and shall be governed by their respective charters.”
This, they said, should not be construed that budget for these SUCs in BARMM will now be funded by the autonomous regional government, and doing so would be “a deviation to the letter and spirit of Section 16, Article IX of RA 11054.”
“It is in this premise that we are appealing to you … to please provide funding for these SUCs within BARMM for Fiscal Year 2022 by urging the DBCC and the House Committee on Appropriation to provide funding to the aforementioned SUCs,” Hataman and Sangcopan said.
“We, along with the thousands of students, teachers and SUC officers and personnel, are hoping for your affirmative and immediate action on this matter.”