With Noynoy’s budget cuts to education, ‘daang matuwid, tinipid’ – Anakbayan
Youth group Anakbayan condemned today the initially-proposed national budget for 2011, in which the University of the Philippines has received a staggering cut in its funding, while the Armed Forces of the Philippines is set to receive almost double the amount it received last year.
“Ang paggugol sa matuwid, tinitipid” quipped Anakbayan spokesperson Charisse Bañez, in reference to the theme of the Administration’s 2011 national budget ‘Paggugol sa Daang Matuwid’.
In the proposed 2011 national budget, the University of the Philippines has been allocated P5.5 billion, or P1.39 billion less than the money it is supposed to receive this year. On the other hand, military and defense spending has been hiked by a mind-boggling 81%, or a proposed P104.5 billion.
“Based on this development, it seems the Aquino administration defines ‘matuwid’ as denying the youth of the right to education” said Bañez.
“Budget cuts to education is tantamount to abandoning the government’s responsibility to guarantee every Filipino’s right to education” added the youth leader.
A series of budget cuts under the Arroyo administration served as the school administration’s rationale of income-generating measures such as the hiking of the University’s tuition rate from P300 to P1000 per unit. This translates to a matriculation of P18 to 20 thousand a semester, from the old P5 to 6 thousand.
Bañez said “Who can afford P20,000 a sem? Certainly not the 20% of the population who is forced to live on less than a hundred pesos a day”.
Since the implementation of the hike, many courses have experienced zero enrollment rates from students who passed UP’s entrance exam, such as Philippine Studies and Social Work in the UP Diliman campus. Many entire campuses, such as those in Visayas and Mindanao, have also experienced an increase in the number of entrance exam passers who chose to enroll somewhere else.
However, the hike and other measures are allegedly being used by neoliberals in lobbying for further decreases in the funding of UP and the education sector as a whole.
“And if this is the amount UP receives, we shudder to think what other state universities will get” she said.
Historically, UP’s funding accounts for around a third of the total budget for all of the country’s state colleges and universities (SCUs). More than 120 other SCUs divide the remaining two-thirds. The Polytechnic University of the Philippines, which has around 60 thousand students in its several campuses nationwide, is forced to make do with a budget that is annually little more than P500 million.
The youth leader debunked claims that the government is short in money which are being used to justify the said budget cuts. She said it was merely a ‘problem of wrong priorities’ in the part of the government.
“Instead of allocating P100 billion for weapons that will kill and maim people, Noynoy should use it to buy books and other equipment to educate the people” she said.