By ADELA DEYAEN WAYAS
BAGUIO CITY — Baguio youth met President Benigno Aquino III with protest against the education budget cut during his first visit here, Friday, November 26.
While police forces and the Presidential Security Group (PSG) push the protesters away, PNoy was slicing a giant hamburger inside the Jollibee store at Harrison Road. The president was the guest of honor in the formal opening of the said establishment.
The protesters reported slight physical injuries and missing belongings including a bag, cellphone and slippers as a result of the violent dispersal.
Tracy Dumalo of the Anakbayan Cordillera said her group planned to stage a silent protest when police officers dispersed them. She added that they just wanted let the president to know that are against the education budget cut. She said they staged their protest at Harrison road when they learned that PNoy was there to echo the resounding “No to education budget cut” call of state universities and colleges (SUCs) nationwide.
“Ito ang pinakamababang budget sa edukasyon,” (This is the lowest budget cut) she stressed.Dumalo said PNoy’s visit to the city was very ironic. “Nakakatawa lang na may panahon siya na magribbon-cutting ngunit wala siyang panahon na bigyan ng atensyon ang budget ng edukasyon at karaingan ng iba pang sector gaya ng mga magsasaka at manggagawa,” ( It is funny how the President finds time for ribbon-cutting but has no time to resolve issues like the education budget cut and the problems concerning other sectors like the farmers and workers ) she added.
According to Dumalo, the government should increase the subsidy of social services to cater to the Filipino masses. She said the government system of the past and the present administration are no different.
“Pare-parehas lang ang kanilang (present and past administration) mga opisyal at pare-parehas lang ang kanilang mga programa na lalo nilang inilalayo ang mga serbisyong panglipunan,” (The present and past government have the same officials and programs that deprives the people of social services) Dumalo pointed out. She added that the Public-Private Partnership program of the President would only privatize social and other government services.
Mark Leander, student council president of the University of the Philippines Baguio, explained that PNoy increased the budget of the basic education but did not include the tertiary level. He reiterated that education is a right and not a privilege.
The protesters are members of Kabataan Partylist, League of the Filipino Students (LFS), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and Innabuyog-Gabriela. # nordis.net