MANILA, Philippines – Prayer rallies, noise barrages, white ribbon wearing, mass planking, stop dance, parade of colors – some of the activities launched by State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) today as part of the nationwide strike against budget cuts and the P24 billion lack in funds of public higher education.
According to Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raymond “Mong” Palatino, “The nationwide strike embodies the outrage of our SUCs against the inaction of the Aquino administration to reverse the cuts and provide sufficient funding for our public universities”
Last Tuesday, Palatino submitted in Congress a petition letter addressed to Committee on Appropriations chair Rep. Joseph Abaya containing a list of proposed budget amendments including a P24 billion increase for the budget of SUCs.
Palatino said that the P21.8 billion budget given to SUCs for 2012 is actually P24 billion short of the P45.8 billion budget requirement based on the needs of SUCs.
“I urge the Aquino administration to grant these amendments. Otherwise, we’ll be left with no choice but to continue with the protest actions up until President Aquino heed the just demands of our SUCs,” Palatino said during an inter-faith prayer rally in the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP)
In the National Capital Region (NCR), thousands of students, faculty and administrations marched to Mendiola where they burned an effigy called “OctoPnoy” to signify the eight (8) budget wrongs committed by President Aquino such as budget cuts to social services like education and health, debt-servicing, and palliative measures like the Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs), among others.
Palatino said that based on the conservative estimates of SUCs nationwide, 20 thousand students, faculty and administrators have joined the coordinated strikes today.