Youth, students nationwide walkout of classes vs tuition, fare, and price hikes

THOUSANDS of youth and students nationwide walked out of their classes Monday to protest the increases in tuition and other school fees, and the hikes in the prices of basic commodities and fare.

Students from the following regions/provinces also participated in the day-long protests: Ilocos Sur, Baguio, Laguna, Palawan, Pampanga, Cebu, Iloilo, Tacloban, Bacolod, Davao, North Cotabato, Cotabato City, General Santos City and Butuan.

In Metro Manila, students from University of the Philippines, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Philippine Normal University, Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute for Science and Technology, Rizal Technological University, University of the East, Philippine School for Business Administration, Technological Institute of the Philippines, Jose Rizal University, Lyceum University of the Philippines, Adamson University, and Far Eastern University, participated in the march to Mendiola.

The  protest actions were spearheaded by the National Union of Students of the Philippines, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, KARATULA, and Student Christian Movement.

They were joined by High School students from Culiat, Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, and Manila High Schools, as well as the out-of-school youth in different communities in Metro Manila.

“We cannot tolerate that while the government ultimately favors profits of big foreign companies, the increases in commodities unjustly burden the poor majority of the Filipino people,” said Charisse Banez, Secretary-General of Anakbayan .

According to the research made by Anakbayan, Oil companies are profiting by as much as P200M per hour. Moreover, the plan to increase MRT and LRT fare is set to pay for onerous and anomalous contractual obligations that the government has incurred to capitalists and foreign banks.

Meanwhile, League of Filipino Students Chairperson Terry Ridon slammed Pres. Aquino’s claim that our country ‘have witnessed an upsurge of optimism in our economy’. “In fact, the rise in the rates of tuition and other school fees, transportation, and the prices of basic commodities will have grave effects on the already dire situation of the millions of the Filipinos facing poverty and hardships.”

Early this year, survey firms noted a rise in hunger incidence by 15.9% with an estimated 3.4 million families experiencing involuntary hunger. At present, more than 70% of the population or 64.6 million Filipinos struggle to survive and meet all their basic needs on P104 or much less per day.

Tuition,other school fees in the next academic year

According to a recent report, CHED commissioner Julito Vitriolo said that schools will increase their tuition fee by an average of 8-9%. However, according to the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), the average tuition increase is even higher. NUSP is pegging a 10-15% tuition increase.

“According to the initial reports that we have gathered thru or Tuition Monitor Campaign, some schools are increasing by as much as 14%,” said Vanessa Faye Bolibol, Secretary-General of NUSP.

The Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) will increase its tuition by 9.6% and Holy Cross of Davao College by 9.99%. Easter College, Pines City College in Baguio, Father Saturnino Urios University in CARAGA, will increase by 10%. Meanwhile the Baguio Central University will have 12% tuition fee increase and the University of Negros Ooccidental- Recoletos in Bacolod is set to increase its tuition and other fees by 14%.

“It is also alarming that while the CHED promised that there will be no tuition hike in State Schools next year, number of SUCs is set to increase their tuition and miscellaneous fees,” Bolibol added.

According to the reports submitted to NUSP, Pangasinan State University will increase its tuition by 16% (from P150 per unit to P175 per unit), and the Don Honorio Ventura State University by 30% (from P130 per unit to P170 per unit).

Meanwhile, the Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute for Science and Technology will impose additional fees to students, the P500 development fee, P500 laboratory fee, and P500 hands-on fee. And the University of the Philippines- Mindanao has a pending proposal for a PE fee, from P0- P250.

NUSP is expecting more reports on tuition hikes as the deadline for tuition consultation is set today, February 28.

“The Aquino administration, promising an end to a government that is insensitive to the people’s needs, should put words to action and act decisively to stop the hikes,” said Bolibol

The students are set to troop to the Commission on Higher Education and its regional offices nationwide on March 4 to file complaint regarding tuition increases and to demand for a tuition hike moratorium. On March 18, students, together with the out-of-school youth will hold a mobilization at Mendiola.

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