More than 120 student council, campus publication, and student organization leaders assembled today in the first-ever “Panay State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) Student Summit” at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol 5th Floor Conference Hall.
Themed “Upholding the Right to Education, Asserting a Higher Budget for SUCs,” the Summit had discussions on what the delegates decried as “the worsening education and social crisis” under the Aquino administration.
The Summit was organized by the Kabataan Partylist-Panay. It included the new University of the Philippines Visayas Chancellor Rommel Espinosa, Iloilo 3rd District Rep. Arthur Defensor, Jr. and Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond “Mong” Palatino as guest speakers.
Unity for Higher Social Services Budget “A resolution affirming commitment to uphold the right to education, assert a higher budget for SUCs, and address the education crisis” was adopted in the plenary session, said West Visayas State University University Student Council officer Krisma Porquia.
The delegates vowed, the unanimously adopted resolution read, “to launch more intensified actions that will engage the administration, the national government and other interested sectors in our struggle for genuine demands and democratic rights.”
In the proposed 2012 national budget submitted by the Aquino government and recently approved by both Congress and Senate, P21.8 billion was allotted for 112 SUCs, far from the P45 billion requested by the SUCs and lower than this year’s P22.03 million SUC budget.
According to UPV Miagao Student Council officer Raiza Khey Llorico, the government is transferring its responsibility of financing higher education to the students and their parents by cutting the budget.
“This will inevitably lead to tuition and other fee hikes,” said Llorico. December 8 “Day of Action” “For the first time, student leaders from all SUCs in Panay and Guimaras became one for the common cause of protecting the right to education.
This is truly a historic event, proving once more that the youth are indeed the hope of the nation,” said Kabataan Partylist Panay Regional Coordinator Karlo Mikhail Mongaya.
The Summit delegates planned various activities that will push for a higher government budget for SUCs and social services and culminate in a December 8 “Day of Action” marked by a huge rally in Iloilo City and different forms of solidarity actions like candle lightings, black ribbon days, freedom walls, etc. in other parts of the region.
This December 8 “Day of Action” will coincide with an “Occupy Mendiola” campout by progressive student and youth groups in Manilafrom December 6 to 10, 2011. Delegates came from the main and satellite campuses of the Aklan State University, Capiz State University, Guimaras State College, Iloilo State College of Fisheries, Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College, University of Antique, UPV, Western Visayas College of Science and Technology, and WVSU.
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