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Missing the point: Aquino covering up twisted priorities

stop_cutsIn his statement in response to protests against state universities and colleges (SUCs) cuts, President Noynoy Aquino appealed to critics to “also look at the budget of Department of Education.” This was also his response to the student protesters during his 100 days townhall meeting.

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An ‘unhealthy’ proposal: Aquino to cut budget for health services

philippine-hospitalIn his budget message for 2011, Aquino boasted of a spending based on “reform” and one that has “bias to the poor and vulnerable.” However, this claim is difficult to understand when the allocation for public health, an important social service, is being reduced.

Despite the rising cases of dengue and other infectious diseases, and the horror tales of long lines, lack of medicines, lack of beds and rooms, and shortage of doctors and nurses and in our public hospitals, the Aquino government is slashing the health budget for 2011.

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Aquino’s K12 Program: wrong solution to education woes

school-children1The plan to add two years to the basic education cycle, banner program of the Aquino administration, will surely be met by opposition from different student groups, parents, teachers and educators. The push for the implementation of the program despite widespread protests against it exposes the Aquino’s stubborn governance framework.

Not a few have spoken out against this plan. It should be remembered that this program was already proposed in 2004 as the “Bridge Program” under the Arroyo administration and was junked. The plan was withdrawn after it was met with protests by students, parents, teachers and educators.

Proponents of course, now try to deny this fact by claiming that Arroyo then withdrew the plan mainly because of political considerations. But they are only trying to fool themselves as this spin won’t be enough to erase the fact that this fantasy project of theirs has already been rejected by the broad public.

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Aquino slashes budget of state schools in 2011 proposal

walkout_for_right_to_educationState universities and colleges (SUCs) will experience drastic cuts in their budget if Congress approves the Aquino government’s 2011 budget proposal.

In the budget proposal submitted by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to Congress last August 25, the combined budget for 112 SUCs is cut by 1.7% from P23.8 billion in 2010 to only P23.4 billion this year.

Among those with the biggest budget cuts are University of the Philippines (-P1.39 billion or 20.11%), Philippine Normal University (-P91.35 million or 23.59%), Bicol University (-P88.81 million or 18.82%), University of Southeastern Philippines (-P44.39 million or 20.03%), Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (-P31.65 million or 15.91%).

Huge cuts are proposed in the budget for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) of all but 15 SUCs, some by more than 50%. The combined total operations budget for SUCs will be cut by P1.1 billion, or by 28.16%.

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Hamon ng Bayan: Photos and notes from the “People’s SONA”

daangmatuwudArticle for BlogWatch

More than 8,000 protesters gathered along Commonwealth Avenue this afternoon, presenting issues and demands to the Noynoy Aquino administration as the new president delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

A program was held and leaders from different sectors spoke about the most pressing problems of their sector and the urgent issues the new administration needs to address. Militant partylist representatives also went to the rally before going to Congress.

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The people’s challenge and Aquino’s first SONA

(Article for Philippine Online Chronicles)

Protest activities are expected to hit the streets as President Noynoy Aquino delivers his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

According to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), lead organizer of the multi-sectoral rally, the protest aims to highlight the “people’s challenges to the new administration.” The rally will carry the theme: “Katarungan, Karapatan, Kabuhayan at Kalayaan (Justice, Rights, Jobs, and Freedom).”

As with the previous SONA rallies, an effigy will be featured. This year, the visual artists decided to make a magician a-la “Harry Potter,” with the objective of posing the question of whether the Noynoy’s “magic” will be able to solve the people’s problems or will he instead come up with illusions to cover them up.