‘Join us against the ‘death-by-starvation’ 2011 nat’l budget’ – PUP students to admin
Students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines held a lightning rally today in front of the Bayview Hotel in Manila, the venue of the PUP Board of Regents’ meeting this month, as they challenged their school administration to condemn the recent railroading of the 2011 national budget by the House of Representatives-majority which is allied with President Noynoy Aquino.
“Like robbers in the dead of the night, Aquino and his House majority passed a budget which will slowly rob the youth of its future and the poor of their very lives” said Charisse Bañez, spokesperson of the youth group Anakbayan and one of the organizers of the protest.
She said “We challenge the PUP Administration to side with its constituents and to join against Noynoy’s 2011 budget. It is merciless towards the students of PUP: it will affect not only their tuition and other fees, but also their allowances through transport fare hikes, food price hikes, and medical services hikes”
As proof, the youth leader cited data on related provisions in the proposed national budget including:
· PUP will only receive around P600 million next year, as opposed to the P2 billion amount which is cited by student leaders as the minimum amount needed to maintain the current state of facilities and operations in their school.
· The Dept. of Education’s proposed budget, while receiving a ‘nominal’ hike of P30 billion, remains P100 billion of the amount estimated to eliminate shortages in teachers, classrooms, and other resources.
· Spending for agricultural services, including the National Food Authority’s fund to purchase palay, will be slashed by P7.9 billion.
· The health sector will receive a cut to the tune of P37.8 billion, including a P300 million reduction in the subsidy of government hospitals.
· The Dept. of Transportation and Communication’s subsidy for the MRT & LRT train systems will also be slashed.
“If Noynoy wanted to, he could give easily give the P2 billion budget demand of the PUP students, given the huge sums devoted to ‘3D’. But his continued refusal to do so highlights his commitment, not to the welfare of the people, but to the continuation of the previous administration’s anti-poor legacy” said said Bañez.
‘3D’ refers to Debt servicing, defense spending, and dole-outs in the form of the DSWD conditional cash transfers. They stand to receive P800 billion, P104.7 billion, and P29.2 billion, respectively.
“The Iskolar ng Bayan, not just of PUP but of other SUCs as well, is prepared to oppose this monstrosity of a national budget in the coming weeks. We are prepared to fight every step of the way: at the Senate hearings, at the Bi-cameral session, and even at the very gates of the Palace if need be. We are calling on the PUP Administration to do the right thing and support us every step of the way” added the youth leader.
She revealed that the University will join a series of campus strikes in the last week of the month to pressure the government in scrapping the proposed cuts to education and other social services. The protests will culminate in a march to the Senate on November 30 to coincide with the body’s deliberation of the national budget. ###