The National Task Force to End Communist Armed Conflict deserves to be stripped of funding, not the University of the Philippines, Makabayan lawmaker ACT-Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro said.
President Duterte has threatened to defund the State-run university in connection with students’ supposed call for an academic strike in light of the government’s alleged poor response to the pandemic and successive typhoons.
“NTF-ELCAC ang dapat na idefund, hindi UP (NTF-ELCAC should be defended, not UP). This administration should know that it is the State’s responsibility to provide the youth access to their right to quality education. Threats of defunding the premier public university violates the youth’s right to education,” said Castro, a former public school teacher.
Alluding to the students’ call, the lady solon said: “Makatarungan ang magalit at ipanawagan ang pananagutan sa kapabayaan ng gobyerno sa panahon ng kalamidad at sakuna (The anger and call for responsibility amid the government’s negligence during the this time of calamity and disaster is justified).”
Castro and the rest of the Makabayan bloc have questioned the rather huge P19.1-billion allocation for the NTF-ELCAC in the proposed P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget.
There is no love lost between the Makabayan and the task force, which has repeatedly linked the militant congressmen to the New People’s Army, which the government considers as terrorists and the military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Castro has also said the task force budget for next year would be better off used on students’ self-learning modules – a valuable distance learning tool for students in the new normal.
“If we rechannel just half or one-third of the P19.1 billion for NTF-ELCAC, P6.3 billion to P9.5 billion will go a long way in the production of (SLMs),” she said.