Binay blames Aquino for ‘dormless’ UP students

MANILA- It seems there is no stopping Vice President Jejomar Binay from hitting President Benigno Simeon Aquino from his ‘failures’ on governance.

On Thursday, the vice-president and presidential candidate blamed Aquino for not allocating enough resources for student housing facilities which resulted to ‘dorm less’ students of University of the Philippines-Diliman campus.

Photo Credit: Philippine Collegian
Photo Credit: Philippine Collegian

“As a UP graduate, I am both saddened and outraged by the dormitory crisis. I am sad that incoming freshmen had to go through this ordeal and outraged by the fact that the administration had P2.2 billon in unreleased budget for education,” the vice-president said in an Inquirer interview.

The vice president, who has expressed his intent to run for higher public office, claims the administration has been under-spending. He said that P2.2 billion was ‘wasted’ in 2014 despite the budget cuts for state universities and colleges. He claimed the budget cuts resulted to school administrators’ inadequacy in providing the basic needs of the students.

He added that UP cannot build more dormitories because their budget is not enough despite the government’s claim that they have been providing additional funds to social services.

Binay, in a Manila Bulletin report, said that under the Aquino administration, the UP system had budget cuts from 2011 to 2016. From P13.14 billion in 2015, the university’s proposed budget in 2016 will be slashed to P10.9 billion- a big cut for the nation’s prime public university.

He boasted that when he was still the Makati mayor, education was his priority and has ensured that facilities of the schools were up-to-date. He added that 100 percent of graduates from the University of Makati were able to land jobs.

Binay’s statement was issued following some UP students’ complaints on class registration and dorm applications. Based on an Inquirer report, students camped out in the campus to protest the lack of transparency in the dorm application process and the commercialization of education. According to Mench Tilendo, chairperson of the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND-UP), more students were displaced this year because UP has accommodated more freshmen because of the K-to-12 program.

The Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND), on the other hand, supported the STAND UP’s claim. In its statement posted online, CONTEND said the university has accepted 3,563 freshmen for this academic year compared to 2,723 last year.

“This translates to an increase of 840 students, hence the problems encountered during registration and dorm accommodation. Sources in the UPD administration claim that the acceptance of more students this year is due to the expected reduction of the number of enrollees in 2016 and 2017 as a result of the K-12 program,” said CONTEND.