Academics from various universities trooped to the Senate on Monday, Oct. 2, to call for more funds for the education sector days before this year’s celebration of World Teachers’ Day (WTD) on Oct. 5.
“The World Teachers Day will be celebrated around the globe in three days, but our academics and teachers have no reason to celebrate while education remains to be just an afterthought for our leaders in the government,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Chairperson Vladimer Quetua said in a statement.
As the Senate Committee on Finance conducted a hearing on the budgets of state colleges and universities and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), academics called on the chamber to uphold the House realignment of confidential funds and rechannel the amounts to education.
The House of Representatives approved the 2024 proposed budget last week wherein agencies with no national security mandate were stripped of confidential funds.
All UP Academic Employees Union National President Perlita Rana said that the total deduction from the budget of 30 state colleges and universities (SUCs) has reached over P6 billion, with over P2 billion to be subtracted from University of the Philippines (UP) alone.
“Matindi ang pangangailangan ng edukasyon na lugmok sa krisis kung kaya nararapat lamang na dito ilipat rito ang confidential funds (The need for education is severe in this crisis, which is why it is only right to transfer the confidential funds here),” Rana added.
Meanwhile, Quetua pointed out that the House deliberations on the confidential and intelligence funds have “exposed how prone to corruption these funds are due to lack of transparency and accountability.”
“This is outright immoral considering the abject economic suffering experienced by our people who are also paying for such dubious funds,” he added.
Quetua also noted that teachers have long been “suffering” from low wages and shortages in facilities and materials due to “inadequate” government funding.
“For once, we want to see education on top of the government’s agenda in the allocation of national budget for 2024,” Quetua said.