Students gear up for mobilizations in Congress for the national budget deliberations to protest the scant budget allotted for basic social services and staggering budget cut to State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).
In the proposed 2011 National Budget, there will be a 1.7% decline in budget for SUCs. The University of the Philippines (UP) will receive a whooping P1.39 billion slash in budget, from P6.9 Million in 2010 to P5.5 in 2011. The Philippine Normal University (PNU) will get a P92 Million budget cut, from P387, 233,000 this year to P295, 880,000 next academic year. The Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) received a P150 Million decline in its budget compared to its 2009 budget, from P819,541,000 in 2009 to 672,652,000 in 2011.
“The Aquino government touts itself as the champion of social change. How can it claim to be so if the government fails to guarantee our right to education? How can it be so, if the government deprives SUCs the means to improve their already dilapidated facilities? Clearly, It convinces no one but itself,” Vanessa Faye Bolibol, Secretary-General of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), said.
According to President Aquino’s budget message, “We allocated P23.4 billion to 112 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in 2011. This is 1.7 percent lower than the P23.8 billion budget for 2010. We are gradually reducing the subsidy to SUCs to push them toward becoming self-sufficient and financially independent, given their ability to raise their income and to utilize it for their programs and projects.”
Bolibol said “Budget cut to education is the same as abandoning the government’s responsibility to guarantee every Filipino’s right to education. Reduction of State Funding to SUCs served as the rationale of school administrators to device income-generating mechanisms such as increasing the Tuition and Other School Fees, in order to augment the lack of that the government should provide. The government allows the yearly increase in tuition and other fees to the detriment of the Filipinos who cannot afford the high price of education.” Data from the Commission on Higher Education shows that 80% of High School graduates don’t make it up to college.
On September 1, the students together with other sectors will troop to the House of Representatives to protest budget cuts.