STRIKE LEAD PRESS RELEASE:
UP Diliman community jogs against education budget
by Cegp Pambansang Opisina on Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 1:20am
SEPTEMBER 11, 2011
UP Diliman community jogs against education budget cuts
As a build-up to the planned nationwide student strikes this September,
members of the UP Diliman community and other national youth organizations
jogged Sunday morning, Sept.11, against cuts in the national budget which
would further slash funding for tertiary education in 2012.
The UP system is currently operating on a budget of P5.75 billion, as
allotted by the 2011 National Expenditure Program (NEP). For 2012, the
allocation for the university’s seven constituent units (including the
Philippine General Hospital, under UP Manila) amounts to only P5.54
billion, a far cry from the P17-billion budget UP proposed for next year.
In protest, joggers — including students, faculty, and other employees of
UP — gathered on 7:30 am at Vinzons Hall, the starting point for their
route. The joggers also wore headbands declaring “No to Budget Cuts.”
UP Diliman Chancellor Caesar Saloma took part in the activity. In an
earlier statement, he called on the Aquino administration to “provid[e] UP
with an ample budget that would enable it to function properly as a
Citing the much higher rates of education spending by other Asian
countries, such as Japan and Taiwan, Saloma said, “Neighboring countries
have realized many decades ago that their own national universities are a
national treasure. We need to learn from them and follow their lead.”
Still, “this action is not limited to UP's needs,” noted Soraya Escandor,
councilor of the UP Diliman University Student Council. “We are demanding
adequate state subsidy, not just for ourselves, but for other state
universities and colleges (SUCs).”
Based on the NEP, the country's 112 SUCs will receive P23.6 billion for
2012, down by P146.6 million from the 2011 budget of P23.7 billion. The
total proposed budget of all SUCs for next year amounted to P62 billion.
In fact, Escandor explained, UP’s situation is only a manifestation of an
alarming trend evident throughout President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s
budget priorities — dwindling funds for social services.
“Aquino is abandoning his responsibility to provide quality and affordable
social services, such as public schools and hospitals, for every
Filipino,” she said.
Major student strikes are planned throughout Metro Manila and other areas
of the country for the third week of September (19-23), with the goal of
sending an unmistakable signal to the Aquino administration: stop slashing
the budget for SUCs.
“Instead of condemning the youth for their activism, as he did with the
League of Filipino Students (LFS), Noynoy should recognize and commend
their willingness to fight for their rights,” said RG Tesa,
secretary-general of the Student Alliance for the Advancement of
Democratic Rights in UP (Stand-UP).
One of its member organizations, LFS, recently figured in media coverage
of Aquino’s visit to the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), when the
President said that during Martial Law, the dictates of the LFS were
comparable to the Marcos dictatorship itself.
“I suppose Noynoy also thinks that the youth groups who are now taking the
lead in protests against education budget cuts are being dictatorial in
calling for the youth to rally for greater state subsidy,” Tesa said.
“This shows what little respect he has for the youth. When thousands upon
thousands march to Malacañang this September, it will not be because of
orders, but because they are willing to fight for the principle that
education is a right,” he said.
Stand-UP is among the conveners of the umbrella group Kilos Na Laban sa
Budget Cuts, which organized the Sunday jog. Kilos Na is also the main
organizer of the upcoming student strikes. ¦
Aya Escandor 09053282687
For press releases, media advisories, schedule of activities, analysis,
factsheets and backgrounders, you may contact Strike Lead, the information
desk of the youth strike. Strike Lead was organized by the College Editors
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We are also accepting reports, media advisories and other notices from
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correspondent/photographer/artist for the desk. For inquiries, contact
Gidget Estella, CEGP national deputy secretary general, at 0915.335.2021.
REPEATING U.P.’S RADICAL TRADITION AGAINST THE
Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND)
September 8, 2011
THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES (U.P.) is celebrating the centennial of
the birth of S.P. Lopez. The activist and libertarian President once
“While I am proud of the U.P.’s tradition of academic excellence, which
must be maintained, I would be embarrassed to see this University become
an ivory tower amid a society in turmoil, indifferent to the problems that
torment the nation.”
Where do the faculty of U.P. today stand in relation to S.P. Lopez’s call
for the University to be “a social critic and agent of social change”?
True, we are far from the dark forces of the Martial Law but we are living
in a “dark age” when the forces that made Martial Law possible are still
haunting us.We have moved from an era where education was directly used
for state repression towards a neoliberal era where education is used to
create a self-disciplined labor force via World Bank-defined
lifelong-learning programs consistent with the global division of labor.
Today, higher education has been held hostage by corporate interests and
its academic ethos has been subjected to the vagaries of the market. The
state, even as it pays lip service to the importance of primary and
secondary education in the formation of social capital for economic
development, is gradually moving towards a policy that will compel state
colleges and universities to become financially self-sufficient. Like less
developed countries, SUCs will be fiercely scrambling and competing for
scarce resources both within and outside the ivory tower. Gradually, under
the dominant neoliberal educational policy, the state now makes a grim
alignment with corporate capital and transnational corporations through
PPPs (public private partnership).
Gone are the days when the state assumed responsibility for a range of
social needs. We are now witnessing the gradual abandonment of the state
for higher education, and education in general. In 2010, 87.74 percent of
the budget of SUCs came from the government but in 2011 it was only 66.31
percent. This is alarming considering that 40 percent of our high school
graduates enroll in SUCs because of lower tuition fees. Yet the government
is allotting P22.1 billion for PPPs and a whopping P333 billion for
foreign debt interest payment for the 2012 budget!
With the dwindling subsidy coming from the government, there is a drop in
the enrollment rate for SUCs. So it is not surprising that out of 3,826
who passed the UPCAT in 2011, 1,300 or 3 out of ten qualified UPCAT
passers did not enroll. But it is not only the students that suffer from
this trend. Slashing the budget for higher education also means cutting
down on spending for personal services, capital outlay, and MOOE. This
translates to the diminution of spending for day-to-day operation of
university sub-units and the freezing of hiring regular employees in favor
of contractuals. Confronted with budget shortages, academics and
intellectuals are forced to act as CEO-like administrators who pitch and
peddle their income-generating schemes to corporate interests and bodies
to finance their projects, professorial chairs, travels, grants, and
researches. The alignment between the market forces and corporate
interests on the one hand, and the academic community on the other,
transforms critical discourse of the University to what Marcuse calls as
scholarshit or the mistaking intramural polemic for its own sake for real
resistance to the assault against academic values as such.
The University then sinks back into the very climate that S.P. Lopez
vehemently deplored: the pursuit of academic excellence divorced from the
real social conditions of our nation. Teachers have a lot to lose from the
commercialization of education. It is no longer religious bigotry and
superstitious and other non-scientific forces that threaten to encroach
the ivory-tower. The university and higher learning is more and more
capitulating to the idolatrous forces of the market. And this new vulgate
does not respect tradition, objectivity, and scholarship. Its fetish is
profit that makes a devil out of stewardship and collective ownership. The
neoliberal discourse stealthily corrodes the critical character of the
University by shrinking the role of the University as, not just a leading
institution that produce human capital, but more importantly as S.P. Lopez
suggested “as the center of protest, dissent and criticism in our
“The University is not simply a bureaucracy, nor a coven of self-seeking
careerists, nor extension of the interests of the elite, nor a way-station
on the road to personal wealth, privilege and power. It is where
intelligent young men and women can come to develop the sensitivities and
skills they will need to fulfill themselves, serve society, and change the
world,” Lopez boldly declared.
In this spirit, the faculty of U.P. should unite with the students, the
non-academic personnel and the broad masses of our society to defend the
rights of the University against the false metaphysical sanctity of the
market forces and denounce the anti-intellectualist and profit-driven
goals of entrepreneurial corporatism encroaching the university and
education towards a truly democratic, pro-people alternative educational
agenda and just future. As the ONLY national University, U.P. has a
glorious tradition and mission to assert its right to have bigger budget
to fulfill its historic mission to the nation and to the world.
But the struggle of the U.P. community against budget cut is just a part
of the bigger struggle of our people to claim their basic rights—the right
to health, education, and other basic social services. To accept the
inevitability of slashing the national budget for social services,
especially for SUCs and health sector, is to accept that we have no
alternative except to live under a regime of endless capital accumulation
and economic growth regardless of the social, ecological, or political
consequences. We therefore call all faculty who care for our University’s
future and cherish its tradition to unite in calling for greater state
subsidy. We also express our support and unite with other SUCs and
progressive sectors of our society in their struggle to stem the tide of
commercialization of education and other basic social services.
NO TO BUDGET CUT! NO TO BUDGET CUT FOR BASIC SOCIAL SERVICES!
NO TO COMMERCIALIZATION OF EDUCATION!
11 Sept. Run/Walk Against Cuts, Acad Oval, 7 am Assembly, In front of
14 Sept. Unity Walk, 4 pm, Assembly, AS steps
20 Sept. Budget Forum, 9 am, Recto Hall
21 Sept. – Strike! Day 1 (walkout during the day, cultural programs in the
evening)-Ramp Against Budt Cut, 6 pm, AS steps
22 Sept – Strike! Day 2 (alternative classes during the day, cultural
programs in the evening)
23 Sept – Strike! Day 3 (UP Systemwide strike and march to Mendiola)