Investigate Cajes: Akbayan Youth to DILG Sec. Robredo

25 10 2010

References:

Marlon Cornelio, 09184608956

Tristan Bringas, 09393159181

 

Akbayan Youth, together with the SK Reform Coalition, asks DILG Sec. Robredo to look into the complaint filled in the Ombudsman against Sangguniang Kabataan National Federation (SKNF) President Jane Cajes. SNKF is directly under the supervision of DILG Sec., Sec 3 Art. 15 of the SKNF Constitution.

According to Marlon Cornelio, Akbayan Youth Secretary General, central to the allegation of corruption against SKNF Pres. Cajes is the lack of budget transparency, for 3 years now SKNF has not released a financial statement (FS) while it is required every activity and annually under the law.

There were resolutions formally requestingPres. Cajes for a financial report during the SK Congress held in Bohol. The ethics committee of NYC through Comm. Benjie Oliva has also issued her a Memo to provide NYC with SKNF financial statement. However, the SKNF has still to issue a financial statement, as of press time.

“We strongly urge Pres. Cajes to finally issue a financial statement report, this is to avoid further talks that ‘pina-reretoke din niya ang financial report’ (the financial report is being fabricated),” Tristan Bringas, NCR Convenor of SK Reform Coalition, added.

A complaint against SKNF President Cajes was filled in the Ombudsman last October 20 by two of her former staff in Bohol.

Akbayan Youth has earlier called on the DILG to issue sticker guidelines on utilization of SK budget and including in its campaign for transparency the SK Budget. Financial transparency and accountability is one of the provisions in Akbayan’s SK Reform and Empowerment bill (HB 0468).

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SCAP’s Statement of Concern over other Youth Groups’ Culture of Lie-Peddling

19 10 2010

This is a statement of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, a nationwide network of student councils, student organizations, political parties and individuals, expressing concern over other youth groups’ culture of black propaganda and mudslinging.  We abhor such political tactics as they compromise genuine policy debate and prove to be detrimental to policymaking.

Following Manila Standard’s October 15, 2010 erroneous and malicious article entitled “Akbayan wins P4b gravy from Public Works fund” was a swift response of DBM Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad’s clarifying that Akbayan did not receive any insertions from the DPWH budget. In his letter to the said publication dated on the same date, Abad said “it is incorrect to say that Akbayan! lobbied for and was granted the said fund, because the said fund is already included in the 2011 Reform Budget as submitted to Congress”.

Akbayan also clarified in its statement that “No such P4b gravy fund was or will be granted to Akbayan. The party is not and will not be a recipient of a P4 billion manna from Malacañang.”

Akbayan pushed for an amendment in the provision for the Tulay ng Pangulo para sa Kaunlarang Pang-Agraryo to ensure that the funds would be earmarked for CARP areas, agrarian reform communities (ARCs), and agrarian reform beneficiaries, and that it will not
be re-aligned for other purposes.

It is to be understood therefore, that it was a policy intervention by Akbayan, not a congressional insertion. This policy intervention was even acclaimed by SULONG-AR of Prof. Christan Monsod and Bishop Broderick Pabillo. In a statement, SULONG-AR commends Akbayan for “its exemplary demonstration of how the budget process should be used as a tool to liberate the marginalized from poverty, and not as a platform for horse-trading or for advancing the vested interests of political parties and politicians”.

In this light, SCAP lauds Akbayan for its proactive engagement in the budget deliberations that was able to secure funding for agrarian reform beneficiaries, consistent with its program of ensuring the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER).

These refutations however, did not stall the opportunistic stance of Kabataan Partylist (KPL) to further peddle the fallacies published in the said Manila Standard article. The black propaganda has continued on Facebook and on Twitter.  Says Kabataan Partylist Secretary-General Vencer Crisostomo in his tweet: “Ngapala, yung mga Akbayan dyan, congratulations. Balita ko nabigyan kayo ng P4 billion. Buti pa kayo, yung state schools me budget cut. (By the way, congratulations to Akbayan who’ll get P4 billion while state schools get budget cut)”

SCAP seeks to stop the culture of lie-peddling among the so-called youth partylist group and its allies in order to advance their cause.  KPL has repeatedly simplified issues (like the issue of tuition increase tagging UP Alyansa’s stance of revisiting the STFAP as pro-TOFI) for a more populist and romanticized stance, shunning intellectual discourse and positive debate.

KPL and its allies have not engaged policy issues in Congress beyond their plethora of empty rhetoric.  They have consistently publicized themselves in the media armed with banners and flags with no real policy intervention within the confines of Congress itself.

These malicious actions come with no surprise knowing that the same partylist resorted to black propaganda by spreading malicious lies about former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros’ senatorial candidacy as reaction to their own senatorial candidates’ poor ratings.

SCAP remains in solidarity with Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello, one of the leading anti-globalization economists of today.  We also laud and express solidarity with Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party in engaging in intellectual and truthful policy discourse in Congress. ###





K-12 is bold yet untimely, PNOY should address education sector’s immediate needs

6 10 2010

K-12 is bold yet untimely, PNOY should address education sector’s immediate needs

PNoy’s pronouncements have repeatedly reflected the reforms needed in the education sector.  One of these pronouncements is the proposal to extend the basic education level to 12 years from the original 10 years.  In fact, the dubbed K-12 is reportedly set to be implemented by next year as announced by DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro during the National Multi-sectoral Policy Conference on Human Development.

The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, a national group of student councils, student organizations, political parties and student leaders, deem the K-12 proposal as bold, noble even, yet untimely.  We urge the PNoy administration, together with the call of numerous teachers, parents and students, to rethink the proposal and answer the immediate needs of the education sector before undertaking the very bold, yet highly consequential, K-12 proposal.

Alleviate Filipinos from poverty. The proposal, which will adversely affect families who are already having a hard time making ends meet on top of sending their children to school, must effectively be in tandem with sound economic policies and effective and encompassing livelihood programs for the poor.  In recent years, self-rated hunger and self-rated poverty have been in their all-time high.  AusAid research reveals that 26.7 million Filipinos live below poverty line and 44% of Filipinos earn less than two dollars or 80 pesos a day.  The implementation of the K-12 in the deadline given by Luistro will undoubtedly effect to an increase in drop-outs due to poverty with the 10-year basic education only producing 5 graduates for every 10 students.

Address brain drain. Extending basic education without addressing the mediocrity prevalent among public school teachers because of the current exodus of the best and the brightest will result to a mere extension of mediocrity.  Before undertaking the K-12, the PNoy administration must first give more reasons for our teachers to stay within the country. This entails giving them more benefits and better career mobilization.

Improve and increase facilities. In some areas, it is not unusual for classes to be held under shades of trees due to the lack of classrooms.  Amidst calls for higher education subsidy for state schools, the proposed budget of the Department of Budget and Management for 2010 proportions only a meager 235 billion pesos to education compared to the nearly 800 billion pesos for foreign and domestic debt servicing, according to the Freedom from Debt Coalition.  It is apparent that budget apportioned for education does not meet the required baseline needed to sustain the growing number of enrollees per year, with classroom shortage amounting to more than 40 billion pesos in prospective costs.

Increase education subsidy and budget. Before the K-12 implementation, we ask the PNoy Administration to repeal the Automatic Appropriations Act which drains the country’s budget for debt servicing compromising the delivery of basic services such as health and education.  PNoy has the mandate to prioritize basic welfare services that should be reflected in the budget. This is heavily blockaded because of the Automatic Appropriations Act.  The Philippines also has the lowest government spending on education compared to our Asian neighbors at 13% (Malaysia: 22.1%, Thailand: 21.4%). The Philippine government also has to comply with UNESCO’s standard rating of 6% GNP devoted to the delivery of education.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  Although the K-12 proposal can arguably be called noble and ultimately necessary, the government has to face and take the necessary and immediate steps in addressing other factors that cause the crises in education unless it wants to step into the abyss with 80 million lives at stake.

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