Statement on the Proposed UP Budget Cut
Dr. Roberto Reyes, UP Pampanga Extension Program
(Statement read at a forum against the UP budget cut sponsored by the UP Pampanga Student Council, Nov. 19, 2010)
I condemn in the strongest possible terms the huge cut in the UP budget proposed by the Aquino administration in the 2011 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
In the proposed 2011 national budget, the University of the Philippines has been allocated P5.5 billion, or about P1.39 billion less than the money it received last year, which is already abhorrently insufficient in the first place. On the other hand, military and defense spending has been hiked by 81%, or a proposed P104.5 billion.
This cut in the UP budget reflects the low priority placed by the Aquino administration on higher education. It does not recognize the indispensable role UP can play in national development.
The US, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Singapore (to name a few) have pumped in billions of dollars in higher education and the results are there for all to see. Why is it that the Aquino government cannot see the simple logic that the stepping stone to progress is education, and a good performing, well financed, national university like UP is its centerpiece?
The University of the Philippines can serve as a motor of Philippine development if the government champions its improvement and expansion. A robust UP budget, at the minimum three times (3X) what it is usually getting, is key to this vision. A bigger UP budget will lead to better teaching, research, and graduates. These can then more ably help the government attain its social, economic, technological, and industrial goals. The outputs of UP would accrue to Philippine society at large, like a colossal multiplier effect. Diminished poverty, lower crime rates, greater public satisfaction, and greater social stability are just some of them.
I urge the Aquino government to turn its back on this anti-UP policy of slashing the National University’s budget. Without a well financed and well performing UP, Philippine progress is impossible.
Dr. Roberto E. Reyes
November 19, 2010