THE camp of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay slammed the Aquino administration for misleading the public and claiming that there are no budget cuts for state universities and colleges (SUCs).
“Kahit anong pilit itago ang katotohanan, lalabas at lalabas pa rin iyan [No matter how hard to hide the truth, the truth will still come out],” said Joey Salgado, media affairs chief of the Office of the Vice President.
Both the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Budget and Management earlier denied slashing the budget of SUCs after the Vice President, in his True State of the Nation Address, criticized the administration for scrimping on education.
However, a congressional hearing done by Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab of the House Appropriations Committee revealed that the administration will indeed cut the maintenance and other operating expenses and capital outlay of 59 SUCs by P477.8 million.
“Nakumpirma lamang nito na totoo ang sinabi sa True State of the Nation ng Pangalawang Pangulo [This confirmed that the vice president’s True State of the Nation is correct],” Salgado said. Salgado also said that students should brace themselves for tuition and other fee increases next year because the Aquino administration’s Roadmap for Public Higher Education Reform (RPHER) aims to “rationalize state funding” to SUCs by asking them to generate more income and lessen their reliance on government funding.
“Give less than what is needed or proposed is the working mantra of this education blueprint. Ito na ang sinasabi sa True State of the Nation Address na bahala kayo sa buhay ninyo,” Salgado said.
“Ipinasa ng pamahalaan ang serbisyong dapat ibinibigay nila sa mga mahihirap. Hindi ba manhid at palpak ang ganitong klase ng patakaran?” he added. Salgado also slammed the administration for treating the funds for education as their own pork barrel.
“Ang masakit pa, pinulitika ang programa ng pagbibigay ng scholarship. Ang mga mambabatas na ngayon ang mamimili ng CHED scholars [What hurts is that the program to give scholarship is being politicized. Today, the lawmakers are the buyers of the CHED scholars],” he said.
“Ang ‘Tulong Dunong’ ng CHED ang ginawang bagong taguan ng congressional pork-barrel funds. Ito ang pabaon na iiwan ng papaalis na administrasyon sa mamamayan sa sektor ng edukasyon. Kahindik-hindik [The Tulong Dunong of CHED becomes the repository of Congressional pork-barrel funds. This is the gift that the departing administration will leave behind the education sector. It is very frightening],” Salgado said.