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‘Days of Rage’ starting Nov. 25 against cuts as Senate railroads 2012 budget

Saturday, November 26, 2011

 ‘Days of Rage’ starting Nov. 25 against cuts as Senate railroads 2012 budget

Debt servicing remains the priority with next year’s debt payments standing at P735.6 billion ($17.1 billion), dwarfing the combined funding of all social services for 2012 amounting to a mere P575.8 billion ($13.39 billion).
MANILA – Sneaky.

This is what various people’s organizations are calling the Philippine Senate’s surprisingly swift approval of the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2012 or the 2012 budget. Migrante International, youth and teachers’ organizations said the Senate railroaded the approval of the P1.8 trillion (US$40 million) budget that will do nothing to alleviate the Filipino people’s poverty.

Migrante chairman Garry Martinez said the 2012 budget is both “anti-poor and pro-privatization.” He said the allocations for services intended to assist overseas Filipino workers and their families are shamefully scanty, saying that aggregate funds for these as placed in concerned agencies like the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Employment, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and other affixed agencies remain less than one percent of the total whole.

“Budget on items for welfare and services and reintegration for OFWs were not given additional allocations,” he protested.

The group agreed with Sen. Joker Arroyo that the Aquino administration’s 2012 budget is not a budget for reform.

“It’s clearly a budget for debt-servicing, privatization and militarization. The 2012 budget reflects Aquino’s priorities in governance and economy – privatization in favor of big businesses, subservience to foreign interests, a more catastrophic implementation of a labor export policy, and intensified counter-insurgency at the expense of a just and lasting peace,” Martinez said.

Martinez said Migrante International’s chapters and networks in various countries will be holding indignation rallies against the anti-OFW and anti-poor budget beginning November 12. In the Philippines, the group will join other sectors in a protest camp-out in Mendiola from December 6 to 8. OFWs and families will end the year with a resounding protest on December 18, International Migrants’ Day.

Twisted budgetary priorities 

For their part, youth groups from University of the Philippines, Polytechnic University of the Philippines and other state schools have already launched walk-outs, noise barrage actions and protest assemblies in campuses beginning November 23 in protest of the passage of the national budget.

At the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, students walked-out from their classes and held a protest action against the railroading of 2012 budget. Protest actions were also held at the Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST), University of the Philippines Diliman and Manila, among others.

Various organizations led by alliance Kilos Na Laban sa Budget Cuts called the budget appropriations as having a “twisted” orientation. The alliance is comprised of more than 100 organizations from various sectors nationwide.

Vencer Crisostomo, national chairman of Anakbayan and convener of Kilos na Laban sa Budget Cuts, said Aquino’s allies in the Senate passed it without major changes in the allocation for state universities and colleges, health and other social services.

Students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) walked out of their classes, Nov. 24, against budget cut in education and other social services.(Photos by Anne Marxze D. Umil / bulatlat.com)
He assailed the statements of majority Senators claiming that the budget they passed is “biased for the poor.” He also said the groups are “extremely disappointed” that “despite widespread protests, budget remains in favor of debt servicing, profits, dole-outs and the military.”

Earlier, nationwide strikes and protest actions were waged by various groups to protest the budget cuts. More than 20,000 participated in the protests. State universities and colleges (SUCs) have been holding nationwide protests to call for re-channeling of significant government spending for SUCs and social services.

In the the budget proposal submitted by the Aquino government to congress, P21.8 billion ($511 million) was allotted for 110 SUCs, far from the more than P45 billion ($1.46 billion) requested by the SUCs. This is lower than the 2011 SUC budget of P22.03 million ($511,628). In the meantime, 50 schools had their budgets slashed by more than P500 million (US$11 million); 45 others had their MOOE funds reduced by P250 million ($5.8 million); and 58 will have cuts in Personal Services by P400 million ($9.3 million). Allotment for capital outlay is zero..... MORE


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