SENATOR Grace Poe on Friday called on the youth to use the power of social media to express their sentiments and demand to protect their rights like the access to quality and affordable education from the government.
The senator issued the reminder following the move of the government to cut the budget for the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOEs) of 59 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) next year.
Poe said Congress should maintain, if not increase, the 2015 allocation for the MOOE and capital outlay (CO) of SUCs, especially in the poorest regions.
In the senator’s recent discussions with students, she learned that one of the most important needs of young people, which the government must work on, is the need to have access to affordable and quality education.
Poe, who has been making rounds in various universities in the country lately, added, that by slashing the budget of some SUCs, the government is denying students their right to have access to quality education.
“It would be a grave mistake for a country like the Philippines with a large youth population not to invest in their education,” Poe said.
Of the 114 SUCs in the country, 59 will suffer a budget cut, despite the P1.5 billion increase in the budget allocation for this year.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) noted that proposed budget allocated to SUCs rose from P42.3 billion to P43.8 billion.
SUCs in Western Visayas, such as the Iloilo State College of Fisheries, and those in Eastern Visayas, whose infrastructures were leveled by Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, had the biggest reductions in their budgets.
Even the University of the Philippines (UP) will also suffer a P2.2-billion reduction.
The total MOOE cut for 59 state schools would amount to P477.8 million.
Poe noted that it is the government’s duty to ensure the youth has a particular voice on matters that affect them.
“Making quality education affordable and accessible is the government’s responsibility. We should put our money where our mouth is,” she added.