The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is making a last-minute attempt to convince lawmakers to restore the P1 billion that was slashed from the budget of the controversial Philippine-California Advanced Research Institutes (PCARI) Project.
The agency issued the appeal after Congress set the bicameral conference committee on budget on Tuesday, Nov. 29.
Last October 19, the House of Representatives (HoR) during its third and final reading of the P3.35 trillion budget for 2017, reduced CHED?s proposed budget of P13.37 billion to P11.37 billion. The HoR removed P1 billion each from the PCARI Project and its K to 12 Transition Program.
The PCARI project, which was supposed to start in 2013 with an initial budget of P8 billion, commenced only in 2015 after former CHED commissioner Nona Ricafort branded the initiative as ?anomalous? and disadvantageous to the Philippines.?
The proposed 2017 budget of P1.763 billion for PCARI was intended to support 131 PCARI post-doctoral scholars, which CHED expects to double next year for advanced degrees in science and engineering. It will also fund 35 new PCARI research and development (R&D) proposals.
The PCARI projects involve 15 Philippine HEIs (higher education institutions) with collaborators in the University of California. All scholars are expected to study full-time or part-time in the University of California.
CHED said the ?reduction in the budget of both projects run counter to Pres. Rodrigo?s Duterte?s ten-point agenda that puts primacy on investments in human capital development and promotion of science and technology to enhance innovation and creative capacity.?