Former Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday asked the government not to push through with its threat to hold funding for the University of the Philippines.
“I hope the threat to withhold funding for UP will not materialize. If this happens, the Philippine General Hospital will be affected because it is part of the UP System,” Binay said.
He says the PGH provides medical services to poor Filipinos not only from Metro Manila but from the nearby provinces.
“PGH serves the poor. Where will they turn to if PGH is forced to close its doors?” Binay said.
He says withholding or even reducing the UP’s funds would also affect the scientific studies and researches being conducted by the university together with government agencies.
“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,” Binay said.
He says even the current Cabinet includes UP alumni.
“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 said.
He says 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, 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,” Binay said.
“A university is not a cheering squad for whoever is in power.”