MANILA, Philippines As the nation gears up for the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Noynoy Aquino, a group of militant youth and students calls his SONA as a State of Nothing Accomplished speech which are just a mere façade for the sake of saving face.
For the Youth for Nationalism and Democracy (YND), there are no qualitative changes in the current state of the country, and that there is nothing that the Filipino people to be proud of in his one year of staying in office as President.
YND Spokesperson Elmer Arisgado pointed out the big budget cuts in the education sector, prioritization of debt payments over social service spending and the astronomical increase of tuition and other fees is what he had accomplished.
PNoy and his government , while allocating the lowest percentage for education in the national budget with 11.35%, continues to give a sizable portion to debt servicing and less on social services. Arisgado says. Citing the data as of April 2011, total foreign and domestic debt has risen to Php 4.712 Bill.
For his part, Joseph Invierno, one of YNDs student-leaders from the Philippine Normal University (PNU) decried that because of Aquinos blatant abandonment of the education sector, PNU now merges classes of 2 to 3 block sections. Says Invierno, the budget cut in the education sector has now manifested in merging of classes to save costs for electricity and to also lessen the teaching loads of the faculty to focus more on research, as grants and subsidies for research has been slashed as well.
For this year, PNU, the countrys National Center for Teacher Education, suffered a 23.59% cut on its budget. In a statement, YND called PNoys programs as Tapal Solutions (patch up solutions) which does not really resolve the problem, but rather aggravate or create another problem, such as the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and the K+12 Education Program.
YND joins todays protest actions with the Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD), and march together with other progressive organizations under the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and Youth Against Debt (YAD) along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City towards Tandang Sora.