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DOST suffers P850-million cut in 2022 proposed budget

The proposed 2022 budget for the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is P850 million lower than its current budget, it was learned during a briefing at the House of Representatives.

DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said the budget slash may cause delays in the modernization program of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), which took the heaviest toll as its appropriation was reduced  from P1.8 billion in 2021 to P1.3 billion in the  2022 National Expenditure Program (NEP).

The NEP is submitted to Congress to assist lawmakers in the review and deliberation of the proposed national budget. It contains the details of the government's proposed programs.

Dela Pena said that despite the lower budget for the state weather bureau, it will continue to give the public up-to-date and accurate forecasts.

During the hearing, Vicente Malano, head of PAGASA, said it initially requested P3.08 billion.

Asked why its budget went down by -24%, Malano said requests for some infrastructure improvement and additional staff were denied.

"Ang dahilan po ay walang naaprove na budget which include infrastructure. Iyon po ang dahilan. May request po na additional personnel na hindi rin po naapprove," he told the lawmakers.

(The reason behind this is that there is no approved budget for infrastructure. There was also a request for additional personnel which was not approved.)

From its current budget of P25.188 billion, the 2022 proposed appropriation for DOST was reduced to P24.338 billion.

Of the amount earmarked for the department, 19% are for personnel services, 77% for maintenance and other operating expenses and 4% for capital outlays.

Based on the presentation, the Philippine Science High School also got a 21% budget cut from P3.08 billion in 2021 budget to P2.4 billion in 2022 NEP.

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) budget went down by 19% from P961 million in 2021 to P778 million in 2022 NEP.

ACT Teachers party-list Representative France Castro hoped that DOST would receive a higher budget this year.

"Later on, at the proper time, sana madagdagan ang budget, (I hope the budget will increase)," said Castro.—LDF, GMA News