Just today, February 25, Office of SEN. MAR ROXAS replied to my letter re: UP HIGH CEBU PHASE OUT, the SAME LETTER I SENT TO REP. SATUR OCAMPO and other congressmen, senatoriables, vice-presidentiables and presidentiables after our mobilization outside the UP Cebu Conference Hall some time in January.
IPADAYON PA NATO ANG ATONG PAKIGBISOG, ATO PANG PAKUSGAN ANG ATONG KAMPANYA UG KITA MAGKAHIUSA ARON BATUKAN ANG PAGPASARA SA UP CEBU HIGH SCHOOL… DILI KITA ANTI-DEVELOPMENT SA UP CEBU APAN KUNG SA UBANG PAMAAGI SA PAGPALAMBO SA ATONG ESKWELAHAN MAKOMPROMISO ANG KATUNGOD SA KABATAN-UNAN NA MAKAKUHA’G DE KALIDAD UG BARATONG EDUKASYON, KITA MUBATOK UG MANGITA’G LAING PAMAAGI.
UP HIGH IPADAYON!!! BATUKAN ANG KOMERSALISASYON SA EDUKASYON!!! STRENGTHEN OUR FIGHT FOR HIGHER STATE SUBSIDY! SERVE THE STUDENTS, SERVE THE PEOPLE, THE MASSES!!! GOD BLESS!
MR. KRISTIAN JACOB ABAD LORA
Dear Mr. Lora:
Thank you for your email expressing your concerns regarding the suspension of the University of the Philippines High School Admission Test and the eventual phase out of the U.P. High School.
Senator MAR Roxas has taken note of your concern and extends his warm wishes to you and your family.
ATTY. BLAS JAMES G. VITERBO
Chief of Staff
REP. SATUR OCAMPO’S REPLY LETTER
Si Satur ay nagpadala sa iyo ng mensahe.
Paksa: Re UP High Closure
Salamat sa pagpapaabot sa amin ng problema ng UP High. Kaugnay dito, nagpadala na kami ng sulat sa inyong Dean at nagpadala na din ng press release sa mga taga media upang mabigyang boses ang inyong panawagan.
Patuloy lang laban!
News Release – January 28, 2010
Reference: House Deputy Minority Leader Satur C. Ocampo, 0917.8226184
Satur takes cudgels for UP High students
A public high school student determined to stop moves to close down his school has, via the internet, found an ally in Bayan Muna congressman and senatorial candidate Satur Ocampo.
Kristian Jacob Abad Lora, First Year Representative of the UP Cebu High School student government (huh?), posted a message on Ocampo’s Facebook account seeking the lawmaker’s help in stopping the closure of his school.
“Closing down the high school is a great disservice to the Filipino youth. It’s a curtailment of their right to accessible, democratized, quality education. How can we produce future quality leaders if they will not have quality schools?” Lora wrote Satur.
Lora reported that UP Cebu Dean Enrique Avila had issued a memo to suspend the UP High School Admission Test pursuant to the proposal he is submitting to UP Pres. Roman to phase out the school because it was taking up too much of the university’s resources.
Lora also questioned the arbitrary nature of the Dean’s decision considering that he did not consult any of the stakeholders of the school, namely the students, the UP HS faculty, parents, and alumni. The dean allegedly abused his authority by barring any mobilizations of students and teachers without his consent.
“I would like to ask for your support in this struggle as our Representatives who hears the plight of their countrymen. We are looking forward for your response. Thank you very much and God bless!” Lora concluded.
In his response to Lora, Ocampo expressed full support for the campaign against the phaseout and said that he has signed Kabataan Partylist’s House Resolution No. 1569 urging the UPVCC to continue the full and unhampered operation of the UP Cebu High School. Also in response to Lora’s plea, Ocampo immediately sent a letter to Dean Avila which reads, in part:
“I know that as an administrator, you feel that it is incumbent upon you to find means to financially support and sustain the UPVCC and that you believe that closing the high school would be one such effective measure. Allow me, however, to remind you, that your main concern should be the quality of the education being given to the students, and to ensure that an atmosphere of progressive, democratic and disciplined learning is fostered.
Instead of pushing for the closure of the school, it would be better for you to unite the entire student body, the faculty and the entire Cebu community in lobbying for higher budget allocations for the UPVCC. Neither the students nor the teachers are to be blamed if the high school is not making money; in fact, profit is not even an issue at all since public education is not supposed to be a money-making venture.
“I hope you see it fit to initiate dialogues with the parties – students, parents, faculty and non-teaching personnel, alumni, local government officials – that will be affected by the proposal. Rest assured that whatever plans you come up with in maintaining and improving the school, you can always count on me and the youth’s many friends in Congress for help.”
Ocampo also posted a reply to Lora in his Facebook account. #
January 28, 2010
Dr. Enrique Avila
UP in the Visayas Cebu College (UPVCC)
Dear Dean Avila,
Please accept my warmest greetings!
I write on behalf of the students of the UP Cebu High School as well as the faculty and administration who have expressed protest against your proposal to close the school. They sent me a letter seeking my support.
Dean Avila, I know that as an administrator it is your responsibility to find means to financially support and sustain the UPCVV and that you believe closing the high school would be an effective measure.
I understand the reason behind your proposal but I beg to disagree with the solution you present. Instead of pushing for the closure of the school, would it not be better for you to unite the entire student body, the faculty and the entire Cebu community in lobbying for higher budget allocations for the UPVCC? Neither the students nor the teachers are to be blamed if the high school is not making money; in fact, profit is not an issue at all since public education is not supposed to be a money-making venture.
Dean Avila, I hope you will agree with me that financing education must be a priority from the government budget. Most public schools are overcrowded due to shortage of classrooms and they lack teaching equipments that are needed for effective teaching. Salary and other benefits of teachers do not go with the teachers’ daily needs and consumption. According to the World Bank, the Philippines spends $138 per student per year. By comparison, Thailand spends $853 per student, Singapore spends $1,800 and Japan spends $5,000. On the average, the Philippine government spends 2.19 percent of its budget on education, short of the 6 percent that educators say is optimal — despite a constitutional mandate to make education a priority!
Under the Macapagal-Arroyo administration, all key performance indicators in education in fact have floundered. The percentage of schoolchildren who reach up to grade six, for instance, is down from a high of 75.9 percent in 2001 to 69.9 percent in 2006. Elementary dropout rate in 2001 was 5.75 percent, but went up to 7.36 in 2006. Those who repeat a grade is also up, from 1.95 percent in 2001 to 2.89 percent in 2006.
Why is this?
The main reason is the Arroyo government’s under-investment in education. While education appears to receive the biggest chunk of the budget pie, the truth is that it only comes after debt servicing and internal revenue allotments. The budget itself is far from being enough to meet the needs of a growing population that depends on public education. Enrolment grows at an average of 2.5 percent annually; the budget for education, however, increases only at about two percent in real terms annually.
There is a study by the Ibon Foundation that the P159.28-billion education budget for 2010 translates to a daily budget of only P6 per student. The budget accounted for only 2.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), far below the 6-percent benchmark set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
As for the unfortunate trend in the UP system, I share the view that phasing out your high school is a step towards further commercializing UP Education. There is obviously a larger plan hatching towards the gradual abandonment of state colleges and universities. With the 2010 budget proposed by the Department of Budget and Management to UP and the whole system of education, it’s evident that the government is shaking itself free from its responsibility of allotting greater subsidies to the SCUs.
This must not be condoned. Instead of bending to this trend, I believe that we must assert and fight for greater state subsidy for the UP System and as well as all SCUs and the entire public school system as the answer to the problem of insufficient allocations. This we have been doing in the House yearly budget discussions.
In this light, I suggest you initiate dialogues with the parties – students, parents, faculty and non-teaching personnel, alumni, local government officials – that will be affected by the proposal. Together, I am certain, you will come up with infinitely better alternatives to ensure that the UPCVV and the high school will be fiscally stable and, more importantly, be able to continue the tradition of setting a high standard of education in the region and the rest of the country. Rest assured that whatever plans you come up with in maintaining and improving the school, you can always count on me and the youth’s many friends in Congress for help.
Thank you very much.
Satur C. Ocampo