By Northern Dispatch
?Posted by Bulatlat
BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera youth are disgusted with the Aquino administration’s efforts to white-wash the 1.9B budget cut on state universities and colleges in the 2011 national budget. Now, more and more students, teachers, non-teaching personnel and parents are expressing their support for the student protest actions against the impending cut.
“He (Aquino) is implying that we are spinning lies and deception about the priorities of his administration, when in fact it is the opposite. How can he challenge us in a dialogue while up to now his administration is denying that there is indeed a budget cut in the education sector?” said Mark Leander, spokesperson of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) Baguio-Benguet chapter.
“He has time to pay respects to his campaign patrons but none for listening to the pleas of his people,” Leander said.
Leander was referring to Aquino’s attendance in the ribbon cutting of Jollibee’s 700th branch in Baguio last Friday, where he was greeted by protesting students resulting to the injury of 15. It has been known that Jollibee has been Aquino’s campaign food provider in the last 2 elections.
In a news release of Budget Secretary Butch Abad, he said certain groups are spreading disinformation to create chaos among the students and to say that the P1.9 billion budget cut on education “doesn’t exist”.
Among the schools in the Cordillera region, the Apayao State College that caters to an average of 2,495 indigenous students will suffer a 48 percent cut on its budget. The same is true for Kalinga-Apayao State College, which caters to almost 3,371 students. Meanwhile, Benguet State University is already proposing a 200 percent increase in library fees while their budget has been cut by 21 percent for 2011.
“This is what we get when we exposed the truth; we either get tagged as detractors, terrorists or communists. The Aquino administration is insulting the people’s intelligence by using technical jargon to confuse the people about their true intentions,” said Cielo Marie Bayson, chairperson of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines-Cordillera chapter.
In the 2011 budget proposal, debt servicing gets an increase of P80.9 billion, pork barrel funds were increased by P13.9 billion while the military is awarded with P10 billion.
In addition Audrey Corce, spokesperson of the Progressive Igorots for Social Action, said that if the 2011 budget proposal were approved, all of the state colleges and universities in the region will have no choice but become privatized.
“Our parents are mostly farmers and workers struggling to send us to school; privatization will only result in more out-of-school youth in the provinces unable to find decent jobs,” she added.
Fresh from their 5th regional congress, Anakbayan Cordillera spokesperson Tracy Dumalo said
Aquino’s policies just show that the government is not interested in delivering basic social services to the people. Instead, “it is more interested in covering up its bias towards the US as it prioritizes debt payment to the IMF-World Bank, public-private partnerships and dole-out schemes such as the conditional cash transfer program.”
“The government leaves us no choice but to fight for our future; we cannot just stand and let this pass by. We call on every student, parent, teacher, administrator, members of private and public schools nationwide. We join the fight for our families, our future. Today, we march as one,” said Dumalo. (Bulatlat.com)