17 November 2015

AGHAM slams lavish P10B APEC summit budget, should have spent for education and R&D in the Philippines

It’s such an irony that the government is showering foreign visitors with lavish hospitality while strictly limiting basic services such as education to our people. The government is spending vast amounts of money to accomodate for few days head of states in the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) yet it does not find increasing the budget of education for our state universities.

The government allotted PHP10 billion worth of public fund to host the 2-day APEC meeting. Instead of being prudent, the Aquino government is pretentiously extravagant given the very limited budget that we have. In the case of 2016 national budget, youth political party Kabataan Partylist noted that 10 state universities and colleges (SUCs) will have PhP2.46 billion decrease in education budget. Also, 59 SUCs will suffer from half-a-billion cut in maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) budget.

Included in the SUC list that will experience budget cuts are the University of the Philippines, Mindanao State University, Surigao del Sur University, and Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography.

If this spendthrift Aquino government should only slash half of the APEC budget, cuts on education budget won’t be necessary, but instead can increase the budget for our SUCs. Imagine, we will have several thousands more Iskolars ng Bayan enrolling and finishing their studies in 2016 if this stupid government spends our money wisely.

The government profligately spends vast amounts of money on APEC that even covered free massage while research and development (R&D) budget does not even meet the half of the UNESCO standards. The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommends that the R&D budget for developing countries should be at least 0.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). In 2002 the government only spent PhP4.5 billion which is just 0.11% of GDP. From 2005-2010 our average R&D expenditure is just 0.1% of the country’s GDP of the same period. But in 2011 it further regressed to 0.043% and the trend continues up to now.

This figures mark Philippines 3rd lowest in R&D expenditure among the ASEAN countries such as Singapore which ranks the highest having a Research and Development Expenditure (RDE) of 2.27% (2009) of its GDP followed by Malaysia at 0.63% (2006). Not suprisingly, we have few number of researchers with an average of 143 per million people compared to Singapore having of 6,894 and Thailand having 575 researchers per million people.

As we witnessed, the Aquino government prioritizes useless meetings and parties over the basic needs of our students, scientists and country.

Now we wonder how our poorly subsidized local scientists and Iskolar ng Bayan can appreciate the 200 units of luxurious BMW cars worth PhP 6 million each bought and rented by the government for the foreign APEC guests?#


Cleng Julve, AGHAM Advocates of Science and Technology for the People


Make science and technology serve the people!


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