/ 10 December 2020

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers slammed the approval by Congress of the 2021 budget that it said had no ample allocation to address the needs of the education sector.

ACT said the P4.5 trillion spending program failed to address the people’s urgent need for assistance and services amid the onslaught of crises and calamities, while war funds continue to swell.

“We are enraged at the news that the bicam approved the militarist, pork-infested 2021 budget while Filipinos are reeling from the effects of state abandonment amidst the pandemic and recent typhoons. Worse is how it appears that this version did not include our gains in the Senate. Among the collaterals of such are millions of learners denied yet again of their right to accessible quality education and education workers who will again be left to bear the brunt of state neglect,” Raymond Basilio, the group’s secretary general, said in a statement.

He said that the 2021 budget did not reflect the sectors’ need for relief and recovery measures.

“We’ve long called for our legislators to address perennial shortages in education — a vital service which the state is mandated to provide. With the ill-equipped shift to remote learning, the gaps in access and quality further widened, while disasters always leave us paralyzed amid wanting government assistance. Darami pa ang batang hindi makakapag-aral, mga guro at kawaning magbubuwis ng buhay at pipigain ang sariling rekurso para lang magampanan ang kanilang sinumpaang tungkulin,” Basilio said.

The group slammed the nearly P20 billion provision for the military-led National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, which the teachers’ group said has done nothing but violate the rights and liberties of dissenters.

“This is a clear injudicious use of the people’s coffers, and we as education frontliners and human rights champions cannot and will not allow the proliferation of such. Enough is enough. We demand a budget program that responds to the people’s needs and aspirations,“ Basilio said.