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Cong. Sanchez and CatSU’s partially-restored funding

Last year, then newly-designated OIC Dr. Freddie Bernal was dismayed to learn that the 2021 budget of the Catanduanes State University came up to only PP495.858 million, down by nearly 29 percent from the last year’s P695.816 million, due to the university’s “poor absorptive capacity.”
Although the allocations for Personal Services (PS) and Maintenance and Other Operating Expenditures (MOOE) increased by a combined P85 million, that for Capital Outlay was pared by 80 percent from the 2019 figure of P356.722 million to just P71.752 million.
The 2021 allocation covers just four projects and programs: Completion of Men’s Dormitory, P25 million; Technical and Scientific Equipment, P21.752 million; Repair, Rehabilitation, Renovation and Retrofitting of ATIC Building (formerly FIDA Building), P15 million; and, Repair, Rehabilitation, Retrofitting and Replacement of Food Laboratory Building, P10 million.
This prompted Dr. Bernal to appeal to Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, chairman of the Committee on Finance, for the restoration of the slashed capital outlay budget, arguing that the “stiff reduction” will negatively impact CatSU’s modernization efforts.
Less than two weeks later, Congressman Hector S. Sanchez vowed to work for an increase in the university’s Capital Outlay allocation by P160 million from the proposed P71 million.
“Tututukan ko ini,” the congressman said then, stressing that he would be present during the final budget deliberations as a member of the Committee on Appropriations.
Apparently, the efforts of both Sen. Angara and Rep. Sanchez bore fruit.
In early January, according to the congressman’s Facebook page, funding for some university projects had been restored in the national budget for an additional P125.5 million, for which Dr. Bernal reportedly thanked Sanchez for his assistance in the reconsideration of CatSU’s budget.
In a January 11 letter that was posted in the university page three days, the OIC expressed “profound appreciations and deep gratitude” to the senator for the additional funding allocation for the university in the amount of P101 million.
The funding is intended for the MOOE projects of ICT Connection and Other Equipment and Conduct of Activities for Sports and Culture Development, and the Capital Outlay projects of Construction/Rehabilitation/Upgrading/Completion of Higher Education Buildings, and Purchase of Machinery and Equipment.
Apparently, despite the disparity in the amounts, both Cong. Sanchez and OIC Bernal’s letter to Angara are discussing the same additional funding.
This is perhaps why some of the congressman’s supporters are wondering why only Sen. Angara was deemed worthy of the university’s profuse gratitude.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has invited officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) Catanduanes Schools Division Office and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Virac to shed light on issues raised by some provincial board members during the Feb. 1, 2021 issue.
DepEd Catanduanes will most likely be represented by Assistant Schools Division Superintendent Ma. Luisa dela Rosa, who will be asked to explain the P14-million contract awarded to a local supplier for the milk feeding program intended for malnourished and severely malnourished pupils in the province.
PBM Edwin Tanael’s privilege speech on the matter is discussed in the Editorial of this issue.
On the other hand, Coast Guard Station-Catanduanes commander Christian Jazmin will likely get the ire of the board for not reporting to the provincial government the presence of the Chinese research vessel Jia Geng off Pananaogan, Bato where it sheltered from the prevailing gale-force winds on Jan. 28.
Given the current adverse public opinion regarding intrusions by Chinese vessels into Philippine maritime territory, did he triy to board or at least hail the ship the whole time it was here?
Expect the Feb. 8 session to be well-attended, especially by the local media.
A MILLION DOLLAR DREAM. The head of admissions at a school of agriculture asked a prospective student: “Why have you chosen this career?”
The student replied: “I dream of making a million dollars from farming, like my father.”
The admission head was impressed. “Your father made a million dollars from farming?”
“No, but he always dreamed of it.”

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