The article “Approved 2012 budget skewed vs peoples’ needs,” as its title suggests discussed how “anti-people” the 2012 budget is. The writer, Anne Marxze Umil, presented the views of some affected parties (students, health workers, professors). However, I think if not all, most of her interviewees are activists or from the militant sector. As expected, these people would say why they are against the budget and all their sentiments about it.
There is nothing bad about presenting their views. But where is the other side of the story? Where are the views of the other parties (like the government) involved?We had discussed in the lecture that we, as development writers need to tell ALL sides of the story. This was violatedby the writer.
I wonder if she is an activist too and she just wants to broadcast the negative side of the current administration. I wonder if she just wants her readers to be angry with the government. I would like to know more about her, but when I searched her name in the internet, what would come out are just her articles in bulatlat.com and that she was given recognition by St. Scholastica’s College for her coverage on issues concerning women.
What I noticed with her articles is that they are all about what is wrong with the government, and what people do not like about the government.I am not pro nor anti the current administration. Obviously, I am not also pro activists, but I am not also against them. I remember what my friend told me when I said why do they (activists) always go out to the streets and broadcast their sentiments. Why don’t they air their concerns in a formal andmore legal way? “Those professionals joining rallies are not too stupid that they don’t know about the legal way. Probably they don’t trust the system. They want to go out, catch people’s attention, and be heard by that way,” my friend said.
It is good that Ms. Umil gives voice to the voiceless through her articles. But why doesn’t she present more facts for her readers? Again, as development writers, we are taught to present accurate facts, not to distort the truth by omission and improper emphasis, and to gather information from credible sources. I think Ms. Umil also violated some of those.
An example of this was when she quoted a student saying, “Every year, the government is reducing the budget for social services and the budget for state universities and colleges. And every year, the system of education is becoming more rotten.” That’s fine. That is the student’s opinion, which is probably based on her observation. But is she credible of saying that? I think she needs more facts to support that the education system is becoming more rotten.
In the article, it was mentioned that the social service sector, which includes the education and health sectors is least prioritized by the government. When I was reading the article, I would like to believe that it is true that the government prioritizes the defense over education and health. But when I did a research, I found out that the social services sector still have the largest share of the pie. This sector will get P575.8 billion or 31.7% of the total budget. Defense, on the other hand will get P113.1 billion,which is merely 6.2% of the total budget.
Moreover, according to the Department of Budget and Management in their paper, Highlights of the 2012 Results-Focused Budget, the Economic Services sector comes second with P438.9 billion or 24.2%. Debt burden comes next with P356.1 billion (19.6%), which is 3 percent lower than this year according to DBM. This is followed by the General Public Services with P332.1 billion (18.3%).
Based on the DBM’s paper, I think the government’s priority is still and should still be Education and Health.
Before reacting about an article, one should also read more, and know more facts. It is still better to be more informed and critical rather than just accepting what other people say.