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FACT CHECK | Claim that UP budget was slashed because of rebel links is false

News5 Digital

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FACT CHECK | Claim that UP budget was slashed because of rebel links is false
A YouTube channel claimed that the University of the Philippines (UP) is facing a budget cut worth P2.5 billion next year because of alleged links to rebel groups.

(September 8, 2022) – A YouTube channel claimed that the University of the Philippines (UP) is facing a budget cut worth P2.5 billion next year because of alleged links to rebel groups.

This claim is false.

CLAIM:

In a six-minute video posted on August 22, “Showbiz Fanaticz” claimed that the administration of President Bongbong Marcos Jr. decided to slash the funding of the country’s premier state university because it’s an alleged “hideout” of rebel organizations.

“Matapos maging kuta ng mga rebeldeng grupo, University of the Philippines, tinanggalan na ng P2.5 billion,” said the video. “Makakatulong (ito) para ituon naman ang bilyon-pisong pera para sa ilang proyektong pang-imprastraktura at agrikultura na siyang dapat tulungan ng pamahalaan.”

RATING: False

FACTS:

Neither Marcos nor the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) cited insurgency as the reason why UP stands to lose as much as P2.5 billion worth of funding next year.

It’s also worth noting that the video did not provide sufficient proof to back up the claim that UP serves as home to rebel groups.

In a report, the Philippine Collegian, the official student publication of UP Diliman, said the impending budget cut would be the biggest over the past decade. From its P24.4 billion allocation this year, UP only got nearly P21.9 billion under the 2023 National Expenditure Program.

UP, in a report, said the approved amount by the DBM was almost P22.3 billion lower than the budget proposal pushed by the Board of Regents, the highest policy-making body of the university. Originally, the UP System sought P44.1 billion.

“Most of the reductions in the UP budget were made in the allotment for capital outlay and equipment outlay, impacting many of the university’s infrastructure projects for the next year,” read the report by UP.

Part of the proposed budget cut would be felt by the Philippine General Hospital which faces a potential P893 million slash. But some lawmakers have already expressed their vow to increase the allocation.

The DBM attributed the P2.5 billion budget cut to the “upward adjustments” made by lawmakers in the current UP funding for non-recurring expenditures for infrastructure projects and hospital equipment. It also considered the absorptive capacity of the institution in identifying its allocated budget.

“Rest assured that the education sector shall remain as being the highest budgetary priority of this administration as mandated by the Constitution,” said the DBM in a statement.

WHY THIS MATTERS:

Members of the UP community have repeatedly been linked to rebel groups because of their progressive orientation.

Retired Lieutenant Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., the former spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, claimed that the New People’s Army was recruiting members from at least 18 schools, including UP, in 2018. But the Armed Forces of the Philippines later clarified that the allegation has yet to be verified fully.

Last May, the UP President’s Advisory Council issued a statement denouncing the red-tagging done by government officials against UP students, professors, and other stakeholders.

“We will not stand down when our students’ lives are at risk,” read the statement. “We will continue to defend our academic spaces. We will protect our students vigorously against red-tagging, harassment, and intimidation. We will safeguard the university from destabilizing forces.”

So far, the video posted by “Showbiz Fanaticz” has earned over 100,000 views, around 4,900 likes, and over 1,000 comments. The said channel has also been flagged numerous times for spreading disinformation.

Fact Check Philippines, a member of Facts First PH, also published a report about this false claim.

News5 is part of #FactsFirstPH which brings together various sectors that are committed to promoting truth in the public space, and exacting accountability on those who harm it with lies. For those interested to join the initiative, e-mail info@factsfirst.ph. Message News5’s Facebook page if you want to have any claims fact-checked. Read our fact-checking policy here.

This piece is republished with permission from News5 Digital.

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