UP EMPLOYEES, FACULTY SLAM NTF-ELCAC FUNDING INCREASE
EMPLOYEES and faculty at the University of the Philippines questioned the huge budget increase given to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict for 2022, saying it is much higher than the allocation for the premier state university.
“Bakit inuuna ang budget para sa ahensiya na may pakana sa red-tagging at iba pang atake sa academic freedom? Aabot sa P28.1 bilyon ang pondo para sa NTF-ELCAC habang P20.1 bilyon lang ang makukuha ng UP kasama ang PGH at Philippine Genome Center,” All-UP Academic Employees Union National President Melania Flores said.
The NTF-ELCAC’s budget will increase from P16.4 billion to P28.1 billion next year. The group said that the P20.1 billion budget approved by the Department of Budget and Management is much lower than the university administration’s P36.5 billion proposal.
The UP system’s budget includes funding for the UP Philippine General Hospital and the Philippine Genome Center, one of the few laboratories offering biosurveillance for sequencing Covid variants.
“Isa ang UP sa nangunguna sa pandemic response sa pamamagitan ng PGH, Philippine Genome Center, at mga research at extension work. Mas mapapakinabangan ang pondo ng NTF-ELCAC kung ilaaan ito para sa UP. Dapat bigyang-tuon ang benepisyo ng mga regular at kontraktwal na empleyado, mananaliksik at fakulti ng UP, bilang pag-alalay sa krisis ng pandemya,” Flores said.
In August this year, the PGH temporarily stopped accepting non-Covid patients as well as walk-in patients because of the surge in Covid infections.
Flores viewed the UP budget cuts as proof of the government’s “twisted priorities.”
“Under Duterte, we see tyranny prioritized over higher education and pandemic response. Mula sa walang pakundangan na red-tagging hanggang sa budget cuts, walang tigil ang atake ng rehimeng Duterte sa UP. Kaya nananatili ang ating panawagan: Defend UP against tyranny and budget cuts,” she said.