Wednesday, March 24, 2010

PUP and GMA's Extravagance

The Polytechnic University of the Philippines is in turmoil. A 2000% increase is set to be imposed on science and engineering courses on incoming freshmen. University officials attribute the increase to augment the university's funding problems. At present, government funding is at P570 million a year. More than half of this goes to salaries while the rest to operational expenses. Some of you may say that paying P12/unit is almost nothing, many of the poor who desire to get a good college education enroll here. A P6000 per semester may sound cheap, but to a family who loves hand-to-mouth, this is a big dent on their family's small budget.

The schools would have had adequate funding if only GMA would have been less extravagant in her trips or if only she put to good use her pork barrel. Instead of spending billions on useless trips and ads that try to make her administration look good, the PUP could do away with its tuition fee increases. Student leaders lament that they had to endure lack of facilities for their classes. Imagine attending a computer class with a ratio of 5:1 for a computer. Makati is better off as there is 1:1 ratio.

I must admit that the school officials' hands are tied. They have to make do with the meager funding the government gives them. The problem lies in the allocation of government funds. How can the country churn out competitive graduates when the president would rather spend hundreds of millions on her district in Pampanga for her congressional bid? How many tables and chairs or even computers could have been bought with the presidential fund? How can this administration claim that they are addressing the problems of the education sector?

Chartered flights, multi-million peso dinners, midnight flights to China to witness a signing of a botched scandalous project, these are just some of unnecessary expenditures this government has undertaken. Government agencies also have PR and intelligence funds that could given additional funding to our state universities and public schools. Education was never this administration's priority, making money for their caprices is. I no longer wonder why we have a skyrocketing dropout rate. Our children are being deprived of education. I suppose Gloria thinks that an uneducated people can be easier duped and controlled.

It's a classic practice of dictators to keep the populace uneducated and demoralized. The PUP case is not isolated. It's a microcosm of the what's happening around the country. Education is no longer a right but a privilege. How can a nation progress if we have leaders that totally disregard our youth? I suppose the government thinks there's always the private sector that would step up to the plate. The reality is that private support is dwindling due mainly to the fact that they have become milking cowa of the government. Gloria issued an EO that orders all government agencies to conserve. Where did these savings go? It went to bonuses and advertising of officials in preparation for their political plans.

Gloria's legacy is one of despair. Our people are left with nothing. She and corrupt politicians have drained our coffers dry. Our social services would not be left wanting if only our leaders honestly served our people. We are not asking for a slice of paradise. The Filipino people just want to have a little dignity and a decent life.