THE SENATE Finance Committee expressed concern over the minimal proposed 2022 budget for the Philippine Center for Economic Development (PCED), an institution focused on research.

PCED, which is primarily tasked to provide support to the state-run University of the Philippines’ School of Economics, has a proposed budget of P30.9 million under the government’s 2022 spending plan, 46% lower than the P57 million allocation this year.

Senator Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva, who chaired the hearing, cited that the overall budget for 2021 was actually P75.8 million because an additional P18 million supposedly released in 2020 was only released this year.

He expressed support to the call to provide adequate funding to PCED, including stipend.

PCED Administrative Officer Graziella Z. Mercado noted the need for a P12-million fund for stipends for researchers, citing the continuing increase of graduate drop-outs since last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The stipend we have been providing them is not enough because this is also being used partly to support their families,” she said, adding that the stipend rates need to be updated to be at par with those of the university.   

Ms. Mercado said funds are also needed to rehabilitate and upgrade PCED buildings in preparation for the implementation of health protocols when face-to-face classes resume. 

PCED’s proposed budget was approved and to be endorsed for full debate in plenary. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan