PLM president's priorities are 'basic needs' not 'wishes'

24 February 2015

MANILA, Philippines (via Inquirer.Net, by Nathaniel R. Melican) - The president of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) said she was reviewing the university's spending priorities, noting a gap between what individual colleges wanted and what was truly needed by the academic community.

Leonora de Jesus said she had realigned this year's P360-million budget of the university for projects that would ensure that the school's various facilities were in good working condition. The university is supported by the Manila City government.

The realignment of priorities was designed "to provide for necessary basic laboratory equipment, library facilities and other requirements for courses such as Engineering, Medicine and Science that are not in place," De Jesus told the Inquirer.

She noted that when the university's different departments submitted funding requests for 2015, some asked for items that were not really necessary.

"The departments requested TV sets, their respective computers and even cooking facilities," De Jesus said. "But this year, we consolidated the requests and compared them with our priority plans."

She added that facilities under the university's priority plans would not be limited to those needed for learning, but would include clean toilets, sanitary canteen, dining facilities and even drinking fountains.

"We have to go back to the basics and provide all of these. We focused our budgetary priorities on basic needs instead of wish lists," De Jesus said.

De Jesus was appointed by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada as PLM president in September last year. She was chief of the Presidential Management Staff during Estrada's presidency.

Her appointment followed the resignations of former Justice Secretary Artemio Tuquero as president and Amado Valdez as chair, whose feud resulted in a leadership crisis at PLM.

Estrada ordered De Jesus and his former budget secretary, Benjamin Diokno, who took over as chair, to unite PLM and move it forward.

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