Withholding the funding for the University of the Philippines (UP) could disrupt the operations of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
This was the concern expressed by former vice president Jejomar “Jojo” Binay following the threat of President Duterte to defund UP amid students’ protest against disaster response and COVID-19 pandemic handling of the government.
“I hope the threat to withhold funding for UP will not materialize. If this happens, the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) will be affected because it is part of the UP System,” Binay said in a statement.
PGH, according to the former vice president, gives medical services to poor Filipinos not only from Metro Manila but as well as those from nearby provinces.
“Ang PGH ay naglilingkod sa mahihirap nating kababayan. Kung wala ang PGH, saan pa sila pupunta? (PGH serves the poor. Where will they turn to if PGH is forced to close its doors?).”
Withholding or even reducing UP’s funds would also affect scientific studies and research being conducted by the university together with government agencies, Binay stressed.
“Contrary to the claims of UP’s detractors, the university produces scholars in various disciplines. And they are able to contribute to nation-building and the improvement of the lives of our people because of the academic freedom being offered by UP,” he said.
“When a UP student leaves the confines of the campus, he or she contributes to his or her chosen calling – be it politics, government, the sciences, arts, development work, or social struggle – with honor and excellence,” Binay continued.
He also pointed out that withholding funds from the State University would also contradict the State policy of strengthening UP as the country’s national university. This is specified in Republic Act 9500, or the University of the Philippines Charter of 2008.
“The law extends to UP the right and responsibility to exercise academic freedom,” he said, “but is precisely this right and responsibility accorded by law that is presently under siege from those who appear to be intolerant of free thought and scholarly debate.”