By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY – Students from State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in Region I join other SUC students nationwide in launching different forms of protest actions against the slashing of the national budget for state colleges.
The National Union of Students in the Philippines-North Luzon (NUSP-NL) stated that based on the 2012 National Expenditure Program (NEP), the government will only allot 50% of the proposed budget of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) Region I. Because of this, they say, two major SUCs in Region I will suffer. The Don Marcos State University in Ilocos Norte will now receive P45.5 million and the Don Mariano State University in La Union will get P44 million for the year 2012.
NUSP coordinator for NL Finela Mejia said that the issue does not only concern the students, faculty and the school administration. She added that parents, mostly farmers, are the most burdened. “They also become victims of state oppression that takes away their dream for their children to access quality college education,” she said.
In the proposed 2012 budget, only P21.8 B will be given to SUCs (from P22.03 B last year). In Region 1 alone, SUCs will suffer more than P1-billion cutback based on the difference between the 2012 proposed budget passed by PASUC and NEP.
NUSP added that while the education sector suffers a huge cutback on its already meager budget, the funding for the military continues to increase. The budget of the Department of National Defense increased to P107.9 B from P104.7B last year. In percentage, only 11.35% is allocated for education while 40% is given to debt servicing, or a total of P738.57 B.
According to NUSP, the protests in Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur are part of the national day of protest against budget cutback in September 23, when they wore black-t-shirt and pins to call attention to the mournful plight of education due to government neglect.
Teach-ins and alternative Classes will also be included in schools to make the students aware of the issues and concerns on budget cut. I
In Don Mariano Marcos State University, a week-long campaign to call for higher budget subsidy is launched. The week-long campaign is set where the entire school community will walk out from their classes. Part of the week-long campaign activities are Fun Run for Education, Tugtugan para sa Edukasyon, Step Up for Higher State Subsidy on Education & Basic Social Service (dance showdown), Free Hugs for Education, and fora.
Mejia said that as the state continues to prioritize the military budget and debt servicing, it continuously neglects the Filipino youth’s right to education. “This alarming situation calls for all the sectors concerned, especially the students in the region, to unite and gather a strong voice to oppose the threat of our future being stolen,” Mejia ended.