Press Release
December 1, 2010

Statement of Senator Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri
On student protest against cutting government subsidy for SUCs

"The hemorrhage of government subsidy for State Universities and Colleges must be stopped. From 87.74% government share in the cost of running State Universities and Colleges in 2000, this dropped to only 67.35% over just 10 years. And sliding to 66.31% with the 2011 proposed budget.

Education is always the right investment, that is where we must proceed. Our neighbors in Asia all outspend us. They do it to benefit from economic growth after temporary setbacks. Our education expenditures account for only 3.2% of GDP and 17.8% of total public expenditures. It's dismal when compared to our neighbour Malaysia with education expenditures at 8.1% to GDP, or 20.3% of total public expenditures. For tertiary education, they outspend us at 107% of GDP per capita, whereas we spend 14.5% of GDP per capita.

Although government increased scholarships as part of the regular expenditures, the Philippines is still a laggard in education budget. From a low of 29,963 scholars in 2004, to a peak of 42,064 scholars in 2006, we slide back with just 30,981 scholars in 2007, according to the latest audited reports from Congress.

Besides, many of those are actually student loan types of scholarships that have to be repaid after graduation while others have to be repaid once the student is employed. Why can't we just grant full scholarships with a student pledge to render service to the university or to the country for a limited period?

We are also lagging in investment in scholarships for faculty in the Tertiary level; from zero to 14,200 faculty members. The same goes for investments for the hard infrastructure like school buildings, libraries, laboratories with state of the art equipment and IT infrastructure and connection."

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