‘PGH is under UP’: Concerns raised as UP budget gets gutted

August 25, 2021 - 8:42 PM
Philippine General Hospital sources its funds directly from the UP System’s allotment. (Illustration by Interaksyon/Rhovin Luke Maglaqui)

The Philippine General Hospital, the main referral hospital for COVID-19 patients, will severely be affected if the University of the Philippines will not receive enough funding next year.

A few Filipinos pointed this out on Twitter following the report about the proposed P1.3-billion cut in UP’s budget for 2022.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday submitted to Congress a record P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022.

In a report by The Philippine Collegian, UP’s official student publication, P20.1 billion was allotted to the country’s premier university.

This is about 44% lower than UP’s proposed P35.6 billion budget for 2022. The state university hopes to finance big-ticket infrastructure projects, regularization of workers and other investments.

In a Twitter thread, the Collegian compared this to the P28.1 billion allocation for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC)’s Barangay Development Program.

The top 10 sectors that will receive the biggest allocations according to the proposed 2022 General Appropriations Act are:

  • Education — P773.6 billion
  • Public Works and Highways — P686.1 billion
  • Interior and Local Government — P250.4 billion
  • Health — P242 billion
  • Defense — P222 billion
  • Social Welfare and Development — P191.4 billion
  • Transportation — P151.3 billion
  • Agriculture — P103.5 billion
  • The Judiciary — P45 billion
  • Labor and Employment — 44.9 billion

PGH is under UP

PGH sources its funds directly from the UP System’s allotment. Any budget constraints to the university, therefore, could severely impact the operations of the country’s largest tertiary hospital and the main COVID-19 referral center.

Some social media users felt that the government might have overlooked this fact.

“The government really forgets that their COVID referral hospital isn’t under DOH, no?” one user said.

“Just so you know, the UP-PGH budget comes directly from the UP system budget (not from DOH)…so any budget cut of the university will directly impact the largest public tertiary hospital of the country (which they converted into a COVID referral center during a pandemic),” another user said.

Other users also noted that the Philippine Genome Center, the main facility that sequences variants of the deadly virus, is funded by the UP system.

“UP is the forefront of research in the Philippines. May it be medical, economic, social, technological, or whatever aspect. It houses the Philippine General Hospital, and the Philippine Genome Center, the spearheads in COVID research,” one user said.

One Reddit user also stated that the government’s lack of support is discouraging to Filipino scientists, researchers and other enthusiasts.

“Hindi nila naiisip na kaya nadidiscourage mag work ang scientists dito kasi wala namang maayos na research facilities and environment sa universities, wala rin masyadong room for promotion. Kaya Yung younger generation di rin nagkakainterest sa science,” one user said.

Where will UP spend its recommended budget?

The Collegian bared UP’s plan on where to spend the P35.6 billion if approved. The items are not yet final and are subject to change.

Here’s a brief rundown based on the report:

  • P6 billion for workers’ salaries, wages, and compensation
  • P3 billion for UP’s daily operations like electricity
  • P11.5 billion for infrastructure
  • P6 billion for PGH

The Collegian also reported that UP planned to have 76 infrastructure and equipment projects across campuses including the PGH.

This included the following proposed projects:

  • Balay Atleta (P500 million)
  • The National Institutes of Health in UP Manila (P1 billion)
  • The Product Design Building in UP Cebu (P400 million)