Makabayan: No promise of change in 2017 budget | Inquirer News

Makabayan: No promise of change in 2017 budget

/ 04:56 PM December 22, 2016

Act Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio. INQUIRER PHOTO

Act Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio. INQUIRER PHOTO

Militant lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc in Congress opposed the signing into law of the P3.35 trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2017, claiming that it would not deliver on the President’s promise of change.

In a statement on Thursday, Alliance of Concerned Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said the budget only neglected the bloc’s primary agenda for national industrialization and genuine land reform.


“Together with the Makabayan bloc, I voted against the 2017 national budget, signed into law today by Pres. Duterte, because it will not deliver on the promise of change which swept this administration into power in the recent election,” Tinio said.


Tinio said the 2017 budget would only “perpetuate the pattern of highly unequal growth, making a handful of rich families stupendously wealthier while unemployment, underemployment, and poverty worsens.”

Tinio said despite the promise under the budget to provide free tuition to state universities and colleges (SUCs) under the P8.3 billion realigned budget, the 2017 GAA only seeks to commercialize social services.

“The 2017 budget will continue to neglect national industrialization and modernized agriculture based on genuine land reform. Despite the welcome provision of free tuition in state universities and colleges, it will maintain the privatization and commercialization of social services,” Tinio said.

Tinio added that the 2017 budget, which is supportive of the administration’s bloody war on drugs, would only fund the human rights violations allegedly committed by the police.

“It will fund the repressive activities of the police and military, closely linked to the worsening human rights situation in the country,” Tinio said.

Tinio also said the budget would not provide sufficient salary increases for rank-and-file government employees, and would only worsen the proliferation of contractual workers in the public sector.


He added that the budget retained the conditional cash transfer program as a “poverty safety net.”

“In short, as far as the fundamentals of this budget are concerned, change has not come,” Tinio said.

For her part, Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago, while lauding the free tuition for SUCs under the 2017 budget, criticized the budget for funding public-private partnerships.

“We acknowledge great developments included in next year’s national budget, including the introduction of free tuition in our state universities and colleges, and free irrigation for farmers. However, we must assess the budget not just for its progressive parts, but in its entirety,” Elago said.

“And we remain to believe that the budget is pro-big business as it allots billions of funds for public-private partnership projects and is framed to implement and further exacerbate neoliberal attacks against the Filipino people,” she added.

Elago said the P8.3 billion budget for free tuition in SUCs is a “game changer,” but she remained wary of the item in the budget for the Senior High School voucher program that would allow private schools to make a profit from education.

“Let us be clear: the budget for free tuition is one of the game-changers in next year’s budget. Yet there are other portions of the budget, including that of the Department of Education, that puts a premium on guaranteed profits for the private sector,” Elago said.

READ: Free tuition in SUCs starting next school year, says Legarda

Earlier, Congress sitting as bicameral conference agreed to realign the P8.3-billion — originally allocated by the House to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) development projects — to the CHED to provide free tuition for SUCs. JE

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READ: Free tuition in SUCs a ‘game-changer’—Kabataan

TAGS: budget, Makabayan

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