QUEZON CITY, Philippines - In the day of President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address, the Youth for Nationalism and Democracy (YND), a mass organization of Filipino youth and students scored on the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) proposal to increase next year’s budget for state universities and colleges to Php 34.925 Billion, saying that the move primarily aims to cover up the State’s inutile and half-hearted efforts to improve the country’s dismal tertiary education system.
“For all its “good” intents and purposes, the recent move by the DBM is an effort to mislead the people, most especially the youth and students, and create an illusion that the current administration is sincere in addressing the perennial problems of the public tertiary institutions.” says Elmer Aresgado, national spokesperson for the YND.
He further commented that the total proposed budget is still lacking and way below the UNESCO standard. The UNESCO standard is to allocate the 6% of a country’s Gross National Product to the education budget. As of current the Philippines’ GNP allocation for the education budget is still between 2-4 percent, way below the UNESCO standard.
YND also slammed the said budget hike for its aims of rationalization which would streamline and align its academic programs according to an SUC’s geographical region’s main economic and productive activity, saying that it undermines democratization and accessibility of tertiary education for the underprivileged in far-flung areas, as well as clamping down on the freedom to choose a field of specialization according to one’s preferences, and further said that the budget increase is not to institute genuine educational reform but to provide the needs of big business for cheap labor.
Aresgado concludes that “The whole Filipino people and the youth and students of the country will not be dazzled by illusions and false promises of progress unless there is a genuine move from P’Noy’s government to address the root causes of the country’s public education system. Until the policies and frameworks that he goes by remain, anything they attempt to do will be doomed to fail.”
YND joins the SONA mobilizations in Quezon City together with the Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD), Freedom from Debt Coalition and the broad youth alliance Youth Against Debt (YAD).