Round-up of the Sept. 24 Walkout
The National Executive Committee of Anakbayan wishes to extend its highest thanks and praise to all the youths who participated in yesterday’s Walkout. Even before the walkout, we have already forced the anti-student U.S-Aquino regime to react, even if only a false and deceptive one. Our Sept. 24 action is clear proof that only through collective action can the Filipino youth and people defend its rights. This is not the end, but rather only the beginning of our struggle against the education budget cuts. Let us take every opportunity to improve our struggle. In line with this, we invite every youth to join Anakbayan, either with an existing chapter or by establishing a new chapter in one’s school or community.
Joint statement of walkout organizers Anakbayan, National Union of Students in the Philippines, League of Filipino Students, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, Karatula, Student Christian Movement, and Kabataan Partylist:
Thousands of students nationwide walked out of their classes today to protest the huge budget cuts to the education sector in the proposed 2011 national budget.
Students from the following regions/provinces also participated in the day-long protests: Ilocos Sur, Baguio-Benguet, Central Luzon, Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Cebu, Iloilo, Tacloban, Bacolod, and Davao.
In Metro Manila, the march to Mendiola was led by students from the University of the Philippines, University of the Philippines Manila, Philippine Normal University, and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. All three universities are facing slashes in their maintenance and operating funds for next year. Two of them, UP and PNU, have the two biggest reductions among all State Colleges and Universities (SCUs).
They were joined by students from Culiat, Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, and Manila High Schools, as well as those from private universities UE, UST, TIP, JRU, and PSBA.
They were also joined by several lawmakers who support the students’ opposition to the cuts: Reps. Luz Ilagan (GWP), Teddy Casiño (Bayan Muna), Mong Palatino (Kabataan), and Tonchi Tinio (ACT Teachers).
At the foot of Mendiola Bridge, the students made history with the first-ever burning of an effigy of President Noynoy Aquino: one dubbed as ‘Noynoy the Budget Slasher’.
“It is only fitting for a president whose promises of a ‘daang matuwid’ have been reduced into ashes through his actual policies” said Anakbayan spokesperson Charisse Bañez.
College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) chairperson Trina Federis said that the budget for SCUs would be cut from P23.8 billion this year to P23.4 billion in 2011. However, she quickly added that
“Automatic increases in the PS (Personnel Services) funding disguise the real extent of the budget cut, including the zero allocation for CO (Capital Outlay)” said Federis.
PS stands for Personnel Services, which accounts for the salaries of teachers and other campus employees. CO means Capital Outlay, or the money used for constructing new classrooms, buildings, and other facilities. On the other hand, MOOE stands for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses, referring to daily expenditures such as electric and water bills, as well as equipment such as chalk and writing materials.
Citing data from the Kabataan Partylist, she said that ‘not a single centavo’ has been allocated for Capital Outlay. 97 out of the 112 SCUs nationwide, meanwhile, are facing a combined P1.1 billion cut in their MOOE.
National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP) president Einstein Recedes condemned the proposed cuts, saying “Students will bear the brunt of the cuts through its effects like tuition and other fee increases”.
He noted that the percentage of state subsidy in the total funding of SCUs decreased from 87.74% to 67.35% from 2000-2010. In the same time period, the income generated by SCUs from tuition and other fees increased from P1.16 billion to P7.04 billion, or from 6.6% to 20.2% of the total SCU funding.
Meanwhile, Bañez twitted claims by the Aquino administration that the government was short of funds, saying “They are contradicting their own numbers and making a fool of themselves”.
“P8 billion more for military death squads, P14 billion more for corruption, P30 billion more for foreign banks: Where is the shortage of funds there?” quipped the youth leader.
Quoting the presentations of the Dept. of Budget and Management (DBM) to Congress, she noted the following expenditures’ increases next year which she said are “definitely not as important as education and other social services”:
Dept. of National Defense – from P96 billion to P104 billion
‘Pork barrel’ – from P10 billion to P24 billion
State debts’ interest payments – from P329 billion to P359 billion
She warned that “Aquino is playing with fire, the fiery outrage of the Filipino youth. Should he approve these cuts, his entire presidency, not just his effigy, will be burned”. ###
In an attempt to prevent students from joining the Walkout, the Aquino administration released a very deceptive memorandum claiming that there was actually no budget cut. Click here to read about it.
A first in PNoy history: Students in Metro Manila perform the very first Aquino effigy-burning
The walkout in Metro Manila
Screenshots of news clip about walkout in Ilocos
In Baguio-Benguet (photos courtesy of Cielo Marie Bayson)
In UPLB in Laguna, Southern Tagalog (photos courtesy of UPLB Perspective)
in Cebu (courtesy of Melanie Montaño)
in Tacloban (courtesy of College Editors Guild of the Philippines)