BAGUIO CITY — Progressive youth organizations in the Cordillera expressed outrage against Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad’s statements implying that state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the region are not spending their funds wisely and by pushing SUCs to prioritize partnerships with private corporations to generate funds.
An article in a local weekly reported that Abad “urged officials of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in Region 1 and the Cordillera to institute reforms that would boost government tertiary education, and to ensure that money for SUCs are spent on priorities for the government (sic) invest more with SUCs.”
In the same report, Abad “highlighted the need to have good linkage with the industries, such as the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, which is gaining ground in the country, and the electronic industry like Texas Instruments in Baguio City and Clark, Pampanga.”
“It only shows that Ateneo-schooled Aquino and his secretary do not recognize education as the right of every Filipino citizen, they are not taking full responsibility,” Cielo Marie Bayson of Kabataan Partylist-Cordillera, said.
“Furthermore, this government does not have the moral ascendancy to lecture us about spending money wisely as they, coming from wealthy families, prioritize public-private partnerships, debt servicing, and military budget over what the Filipino people needs,” Bayson said. “Abad says that a state university or college must first produce professional graduates, employ world class professors, produce extensive research work so that the government will increase the budget for them”.
Meanwhile, Melecio Tagtag of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) said, “It’s like threatening that you will not feed a chicken until it lays eggs. And no egg can be born out of scratch. Like the situation of our SUCs where without sufficient funds for new buildings, for new laboratory equipment, for new chairs, for new books, for hiring new teachers, Philippine education will never recover.”
Anakbayan Cordillera spokesperson Rae Gaoat said Abad’s statement is “a clear manifestation of the government’s initiative to further commercialize the sector of education in the country.”
“Abad’s remark pushing SUCs to establish ties with industries like BPOs is saying that SUCs should rely more on these private industries for the funding of the universities…These partnerships with private industries open the SUCs to compromise the education they give to students in favor of the industries’ commercial interests.”