Youth group warns: Tuition freeze now or students will take to the streets
Youth group Anakbayan today warned the Commission on Higher Education to immediately take action on a proposed tuition increase, saying failure to do so would lead to a wave of militant protests by students.
According to Anton Dulce, Anakbayan vice-chairperson, such a measure is urgent in light of the El Niño phenomenon which caused billions of pesos in damages to farmers’ crops and the entire agricultural sector.
“Millions of our countrymen in the provinces are already having difficulty making ends meet because El Niño ruined their crops. How can they pay for the already-exorbitant costs of college education, much less any increases?” said Dulce.
The CHED previously approved the petitions of 339 schools, 337 private and 2 public, to raise tuition and other fees.
“The owners/administrators of the said 339 schools are aware of the plight of millions of rural Filipinos yet they continue to think about their profits. This is cold-blooded and the CHED must intervene” added Dulce.
The youth leader said the CHED must go beyond ‘appealing’ to school owners and use the full powers of the gov’t body to stop all tuition hikes for this year.
“Hindi naman pwedeng ipambayad ng mga estudyante ung apila ng CHED. Only an order from the Commission can compel these greedy school owners from taking advantage of the students.”
He warned that failure to do so would lead to a repeat of the March student protests, which was led mainly by students from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and the University of the Philippines:
“Students nationwide have already witnessed last March that they have strength in numbers. If the CHED does not want us to take matters into our own hands, then they must act now and for the welfare of the Filipino student.”
Anakbayan will join other youth and student groups tomorrow in a picket at the CHED’s Diliman office to compel the agency to act on the proposed freeze.