Students disrupt House session as budget for SUCs okayed-A A +A
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
MANILA -- Eight student-activists held a lightning protest inside the plenary hall of the House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon after the P37.1-billion budget for state universities and colleges (SUCs) was approved.
The students were escorted out of the plenary hall by the House security as they shouted: "Edukasyon, karapatan ng mga mamamayan! [Everyone has the right to education]."
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has proposed a P37.1 billion budget for SUCs for next year, a 44-percent increase from this year's operating budget of P25.8 billion.
However, only P32.7 billion is directly allotted for the country's 110 SUCs, as the remaining P4.3 billion is allotted for the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund, and Retirement and Life Insurance Premiums.
Isabelle Baguisi, secretary general of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), said the budget hike is not enough considering the cuts that SUCs suffered in the past two years of the Aquino administration.
"It's not true that the budget is enough because in the past two years, what they deducted from the budget is much bigger than the allocation for next year," Baguisi told reporters.
Baguisi said the DBM should grant the original budget proposal of P54 billion.
"There is no reason to give a budget ceiling because we know that SUCs, especially in the regions, lack facilities, teachers and books even if a large number of students are transferring to SUCs," she added.
Kabataan party-list Representative Raymond Palatino said the increase is "grossly insufficient" compared to the actual needs of SUCs.
"It's a cover-up budget especially the capital outlay for state universities because it will not be enough for the zero capital outlay in the past two years so I think that's the sentiment of the students," Palatino said.
Bayan Muna party-list Representative Teddy Casiño plans to introduce amendments to the budget bill to fulfil the original proposal of P54 billion. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)