June 22, 2010 in Featured
By ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS
QUEZON CITY — Budget cuts in education due to an increasing debt payments are at the root of the worsening education crisis. This message was highlighted by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers as it led a protest march and rally in Mendiola on the day before the opening of the new school year.
ACT national chairperson Antonio Tinio pointed out that in spite of the critical shortage of resources in basic education, the Arroyo administration has imposed cuts in this year’s budget of the Department of Education. “The 2010 Deped budget is lower than last year’s. Malacañang imposed a Php 1.62 billion reduction, from Php 174.46 billion in 2009 to Php 172.84 this year. This is the last thing our ailing public education system needs.”
Tinio noted that for the incoming school year 2010-2011, there will be a shortage of 54,060 teachers, 4,538 principals, and 6,473 headteachers; 61,343 classrooms, 816,291 seats, and 113,051 water and sanitation facilities. The Department of Education will also need an additional Php 400 million to address the textbook shortage.
Tinio noted that while there was an increase in the budget for salaries and benefits of teachers (Personal Services), this was offset by significant cuts in Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) and Capital Outlay (CO) in particular, which includes the budget for classroom construction and the acquisition of new school equipment.
“The Arroyo government allocated Php 3.78 billion less for Capital Outlay this year. That’s equivalent to 6,311 additional classrooms that could have been built. Malacañang also cut Php 729 million from the daily operations fund of schools,” said Tinio.
Tinio noted that a huge portion of the national government’s funds continues to be allocated to debt payment. “The appropriation for debt servicing or the payment of interest on debt alone has grown by a staggering Php 68.5 billion from 2008 to 2010. The Arroyo administration’s prioritization of debt payment above everything else throughout its 9 years in office has been the main cause of the worsening crisis in education.”
Tinio challenged the incoming administration of President-elect Noynoy Aquino to “The only way out of the education crisis is through the adoption of bold new measures. President-elect Aquino must turn his back on the current policy of debt payment above all else, which has had devastating consequences for our public education system. We urge him to implement a policy of reducing debt payments and rechanneling of funds to education and other social services.” # nordis.net