Sept. 28, 2010
Fresh off a nationwide series of campus walkouts against proposed budget cuts to education for 2011, youth groups returned to the streets today, this time to picket the Congressional hearing on the budget for State Colleges and Universities (SCUs).
The groups Anakbayan, National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP), League of Filipino Students (LFS), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Karatula, and the Student Christian Movement (SCM) called on members of the House of Representatives to propose the SCUs’ slash in funding from P23.8 billion this year to P23.4 billion in 2011.
They likewise dismissed as ‘pure fiction’ claims by DBM Secretary Butch Abad that the current administration is facing a shortage of funds and that a budget cut for SCUs is unavoidable.
“An administration who can add P14 billion more to the pork barrel has no excuse not to give at least the minimum budget required by SCUs” said Anakbayan spokesperson Charisse Bañez.
In the proposed 2011 budget, the pork barrel will be increased from this year’s P10 billion to P24 billion. Military spending will be hiked from P96 billion to P104 billion, and debt interest payments from P329 billion to P359 billion.
“It is simply a matter of political will. Noynoy can tell Abad at any time to put in enough funds for SCUs next year. However, it is obvious that this is not his desire” said the youth leader.
She said “In the light of Aquino’s dereliction of his duty, we urge our lawmakers to do their duty as a ‘check-and-balance’ to the executive branch by blocking the proposed budget cuts”
“Despite the obvious bribe being offered in the proposed national budget in the form of the pork barrel, we hope that members of the House will put the interests of the Filipino youth at heart and reject the budget cuts” added the Anakbayan spokesperson.
Bañez said Anakbayan and its fellow organizers of the Sept. 24 walkout are set to continue and even escalate protests until the end of the year should the administration persist in slashing the budget for SCUs. Among the next actions will be a simultaneous lunchtime noise barrage by students from various SCUs on Friday. ###