MORATORIUM ON TUITION FEE HIKE NOT ENOUGH

2 06 2008

Civil society calls on stop on budget cuts on education

 

The Alternative Budget Initiative (ABI), the group of nongovernment and people’s organizations that pioneered civil society engagement in the Philippine national budget process, called on State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) to be vigilant in the release of their budget from the national government.

The ABI also called on the Administration to go beyond having a moratorium on tuition fee hike in SUCs. It should seriously look into long-lasting solutions to the problem among which are: an immediate stop to the budget cuts on education; provide a monitoring scheme of SUC’s expenses and income generation funds; halt the flawed policy of creating more SUCs; and implement a program for the strengthening and conversion of present state schools into institutions of quality tertiary education without succumbing to privatization and “rationalization” schemes.

Former national treasurer and SocialWatch Philippines lead convenor Leonor Magtolis Briones said that the President’s moratorium on tuition fee increases is not enough. “The government, as mandated by the constitution, should give priority to education. The public higher education system is suffering from a lack of resource inputs and a defective governance framework. Although there is a tendency to create more state schools, this is more borne out of political accommodation to politicians rather than a studied and targeted response to the actual needs of tertiary education,” Briones said.

Be that as it may, Briones called attention to the fact that the share of national government in SUCs financing has been steadily declining from 85 percent in 2001 to 77 percent in 2005 as schools are forced to shoulder their own expenses. Consequently, SUC spending per student had declined by 23 percent from Php 17,000 in 2004 to Php 12,930 in 2006.Paula Bianca Lapuz, spokesperson of Youth Against Debt, the youth arm of the ABI which led the campaign for higher budgetary allocations for tertiary education, agreed with Briones in saying  that the government should focus on strengthening existing SUCs instead of building more public SUCs because of patronage politics.

“The direct result of building more SUCs to provide for the popularity of government officials is a decrease in the per-unit budget allocation to public higher education. This compromises the absorptive capacity of the schools and prompts the existing SUCs to conduct cost-recovery and cost-sharing as a survival strategy. The SUCs are compelled to devolve to the students an increasing part of its financial and operational burdens,” Lapuz said.

Cognizant of this situation, the ABI proposed increases in the budget for higher education for 2008. Consistent with the ABI budget proposals, this year’s national budget allocates an increase of P340,292,000, including P206,489,000 increase in the budget of state universities and colleges classified as Centers of Excellence; P83,803,000 increase in the budget of non center of excellence state universities and colleges; and P50,000,000 for the construction of National Center for Good Governance in the National College of Public Administration and Governance at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Among the SUCs which received increases in their budget for 2008 are the State Universities of Bicol, Cagayan, Bulacan, Benguet, Batanes, Quirino, Batangas and Partido. The Technological University of the Philippines, MSU Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography and Adiong Memorial Polytechnic State College also received increases in their budget allocation.

Eman Hizon of the Freedom from Debt Coalition, meanwhile reiterated the ABI proposal to Amend/ Repeal PD 1177 in Sec 26 (B) Book 6 of 1987 Revised Administrative Code or the Automatic Appropriations Law for Debt Servicing.

“With about two-thirds of our current resources being siphoned away by debt servicing, it is very clear that the government is prioritizing continuous and disproportionate paying of incurred debts over education. This is a clear deviation from the constitutional guarantee that education is prioritized by Government,” he said.

 

 

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Ref: Janet Carandang, SocialWatch Philippines

Tel nos. 4265626; 4265632

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4 responses

2 06 2008
Loan holder

Nice blog.Keep up with the good work!

5 06 2008
scapnational

thanks! =)

11 06 2008
Khulit

Nice blog kc masyado nang inaabuso na tau ng mga mapagsamantalang institusiyon salamat ng marami sa scap mabuhay kau……….

14 06 2008
scapnational

maraming salamat po, we hope to see all of you sa mga pagkilos. =)

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