After weeks of continuous education strikes, the Senate amended the national budget for 2011 last December 1, 2010 to include a P146-M increase in the budget of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs). The amount will go to the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) of SUCs which was originally subjected to a P1.1-B cut. Senator Allan Peter Cayetano, who joined thousands of protesters in the Senate yesterday, proposed the budget amendment.
According to Rep. Mong Palatino of Kabataan Party-list, “we have demonstrated that the strength of the youth and people’s solidarity can make things happen. The 146 million peso increase in the MOOE of SUCs is a product of our collective action.”
Palatino lauded the Senate for the amendment, “as opposed to the Congress which railroaded the so-called ‘reform’ budget that is filled with disconcerting provisions.”
On the other hand, Palatino scored the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for its statement that there was no SUCs budget cut.
“The claims discrediting the SUCs budget cuts cannot but appear as a ploy to dupe the students and the people. Verily, It did not succeed to douse our spirit of solidarity,” Palatino said.
In a recent statement, DBM head Butch Abad said that only the ‘viable’ SUCs should receive support from the government.
Palatino said that the plan to reduce the number of SUCs “bespeaks the real modus operandi of supposed ‘educators’ who aim to limit the access of the people to quality education.”
“The other day, DBM was refuting the SUC budget cuts. Now, not only does it admit to the crime, as it were, it also foretells the plan to reduce the number of SUCs. That’s a mouthful, from budget cut to ‘SUCs cut,’” he said.
Palatino said that while the P146-M increase is a “welcome development, the amount is still grossly insufficient in addressing the needs of the SUCs.”
“To roughly calculate, each of the 112 SUCs will only get an additional P1.3-M for their MOOE. On the other hand, the budget for Capital Outlay remains close to nil. We have to do something about this,” he said.
Palatino said that “the fight for education is definitely not over. The youth and the people will uprate the fight in the coming days until total victory is achieved.”
The bicameral budget deliberation is set to take place on December 6, 2010.