|Cong. Cherry Umali.|
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Umali-2,000 college students to lose scholarships if Cabanatuan City becomes HUC
CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, August 14, 2011-In the recent media briefings at the white house, old capitol, third district Representative Czarina “Cherry” Umali yesterday said that there are more than 2,000 college students of the provincial government and the third district congressional office who would lose their scholarships if this city officially gets converted into a highly urbanized city (HUC).
“Among the 6,000 scholars here in the province, 2,000 of them will lose their scholarship privileges, once this city becomes HUC. This city will become autonomous and the province and the district won’t be able to help the people of Cabanatuan anymore. That’s a consequence, these guys would lose their scholarship,” Umali warned.
Umali revealed that P42 million is being spent annually by the provincial government and the third district congressional office for the scholars or an average of P7,000 yearly for each scholar, saying that the majority of these scholars are enrolled at the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology (NEUST) while the others are in University of the Philippines and Baguio City state colleges and universities.
The lawmaker stressed that the people of the city are better off if they get assistance not only from the city government but also from the provincial leadership. “I would still prefer that two hands are extending assistance instead of withholding one hand and let the other do the helping,” she said.
“There is no clear guarantee that this city would flourish economically once it becomes HUC as claimed by its proponents. “What is it in the HUC that is worth all these troubles?,” she asked, citing Cebu City and Santiago City in Isabela which manifested that they don’t want HUC anymore.
Earlier, Governor Aurelio “Oyie” Matias Umali warned that the province, which is one of the few provinces in the country belonging to the so-called “billionaires’ club” as it receives at least P1 billion worth of internal revenue allotment (IRA) shares from the national government, stands to lose a whopping P125 million of its IRA if the HUC conversion succeeds.
He said that for sure, Nueva Ecija will be at the losing end if Cabanatuan becomes HUC because the province will have a drastically reduced IRA, explaining that the land area and population of the province - which are used as basis in IRA computation - would shrink.
“The sad part of the story is that this P125 million that will be cut from the IRA of the province will not go to Cabanatuan but will flow back to the national government which will then re-distribute it to the 79 provinces,” he said. “If the fund will go to Cabanatuan it is okay. But the fact is, it will not,” he said.
The governor also said that Nueva Ecija has done much to come to the aid of Cabanatuan as gleaned from the provision of P103 million worth of infrastructure projects by the provincial government from 2007 to 2010, not to mention health services, education among others.
Umali said that there is no denying that Cabanatuan is getting its fair share of support from the provincial government. And that is why I am against the HUC because it would prevent us from further extending support to the city. (Jason de Asis)
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