The College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines Cordillera is opposing the impending budget cut that might be experienced by State Universities and Colleges shall the budget proposal for 2011 be approved.
We are outraged by the phenomenal budget cuts in the education sector. No words can express our disappointment and disbelief upon learning of this latest injustice and violation of a basic human right – from no less than an administration that vowed to place education and the youth in its highest priority.
The figures behind this notorious budget cut would best depict the travesty. The allocation for SUCs in the proposed 2011 national budget has been reduced by 1.7 percent, from P23.8 billion in 2010 to only P23.4 billion this year. The proposed budget for 25 out of 112 SUCs has also been decreased by as much as 23.5%.
Moreover, there is a P1.1 billion (28.16 percent) decrease in the operations budget for SUCs. All but 15 SUCs have cuts in their operating budgets (MOOE) some by as much as 50%. These, by far, are the biggest education budget cuts in history. The fund for MOOE is essential to the operation of SUCs since it is from this fund where the fees for basic needs such as electric and water services are taken.
Specifically, in the province of Benguet there only exists two state universities catering to thousands of students cramming for a quality and affordable education.
Moreover, the funds of UP Baguio as part of the University of the Philippines System has been slashed by P1.39 billion or by 20.11% while the MOOE for Benguet State University has been slashed by 20.95%.
Aside from largely affecting the MOOE of SUCs, the Aquino administration has also adopted the previous regime’s zero allotment for capital outlay for State Universities and Colleges. In the proposed P23.4 Billion for 2011, no funds have been earmarked for the procurement of new equipment, nor for the repairs, construction and improvement of facilities.
A likely result is that SUCs would be left to fend for themselves at the expense of students and their parents. The P1.1 billion operations budget cut in SUCs will only lead to higher and more rampant tuition and other fee increases and the further commercialization of education. This is yet another pattern from the previous regime that the Aquino administration now chooses to uphold and continue.
Now, we recognize that at least P200 billion is needed in additional funds to create the 152 thousands classrooms, P95.5 Million textbooks and P103.5 thousands teachers we lack. The proposed P207 billion budget for basic education could only accommodate the construction of 18,000 new classrooms, procurement of 32 thousands textbooks and hiring of 10 thousand new teachers.
We also believe that the education budget cuts infringes on the right to education and the constitutional mandate of the government to make education accessible to all. It is tantamount to the government’s abandonment of its responsibility to guarantee every Filipino’s right to education.
Now, we call on every youth, student, parent and advocates of quality and accessible education to unite and wage appropriate actions nationwide to oppose the P1.1 billion education budget cut and call for greater state subsidy for education.
We also urge members of Congress to oppose the education budget cut and re-channel funds intended for debt-servicing, the military and corruption-prone patronage programs to the education sector.
Ultimately, while opposing the budget cut, the CEGP Baguio Benguet joins the students in challenging the Aquino administration to correct this travesty and reverse the long-standing policy of reducing state spending on education and continue upholding education as a right for all the Filipino people.