Defund UP? Recto says ‘no-cut zones’ SUCs should get increased funding
MANILA, Philippines — State universities and colleges (SUCs) should get an increase in funding instead of being defunded, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said Wednesday.
Recto issued this statement after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to stop government funding for the University of the Philippines amid calls from students for an academic strike against the government’s disaster and pandemic response.
“No state university or college should get a budget cut. The amount in the proposed budget should be retained, and will be benchmarked as the floor, meaning it can still be increased,” Recto said.
The senator said the Philippine General Hospital, which is a unit of UP, should have increased funding.
“Its equipment lack is a pre-existing affliction which must be cured, pandemic or not. And so do the state colleges training our future doctors,” he said.
Further, Recto said, “calls for academic freeze will not be met with a funding break.”
Students have also been calling for an academic freeze over the whole country until problems caused by the recent weather disturbances — bringing flooding and damaged internet infrastructure — have been resolved.
“The correct response is not to defund any, but to increase the funds of as many as possible,” Recto pointed out.
The senator also emphasized that as far as the Senate is concerned, SUCs are “no-cut zones.”
“They have been vaccinated against budget cuts,” he added.
The Senate is currently conducting plenary debates on the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021.
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