Stunted generation of youths is the real Arroyo legacy – Anakbayan
Youth group Anakbayan joined other progressive organizations in Manila today in an ‘alternative’ parade to showcase the true ‘legacies’ of the Gloria Arroyo administration.
“Sa siyam na taon ni GMA, itinulad niya ang kabataan sa kanya: binansot. She stunted an entire generation by depriving them of their right to education” said Anakbayan national vice-chairperson Anton Dulce.
According to the Dept. of Education (DepEd), the number of out-of-school youths between the ages 6 to 15 rose from by 78% from 2002 to 2007. Last year, there were 5.6 million out-of-school youth in the same age bracket.
He said a ‘one-two punch’ by the Arroyo administration against youths and their parents is to blame for the huge number of drop-outs in our country today.
According to Dulce, the state policy of keeping the wages as low as possible made it virtually impossible for poor Filipinos to send their kids to school. Meanwhile, Arroyo allowed the cost of education to skyrocket, well out of the reach of the same families.
The daily cost of living now stands at P917 in Metro Manila. Meanwhile, the minimum wage is now at P404 after the recently-approved P22 hike.
“How can you expect someone to go to school if his/her parents don’t even earn enough for food every day? How can they save money for tuition if they have to borrow just for their daily needs” said the youth leader.
“But on the other hand, her Regime gave private school owners and SCU (state colleges and universities) administrators a free hand in hiking their tuition and other fees”
Meanwhile, Dulce challenged President-elect Benigno Aquino III to prove his campaign rhetoric of being the ‘opposite’ of Arroyo’, especially in regards to addressing the welfare of the youth. In particular, he named four urgent demands:
1. A tuition freeze for all private and public colleges and universities, effective immediately.
2. Pushing the Dept. of Budget & Management (DBM) as well as Congress to allocated the UNESCO-recommended 6% of the GDP (gross domestic product) to the education budget.
3. Mobilizing the House and Senate majorities to prioritize the passage of the P125 minimum wage hike bill as soon as it is re-filed in the next Congress.
4. An immediate review of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension (CARPER).
“His camp has made a lot of hype about involving the youth more in his Administration. But we all know talk is cheap. We’ll be watching him closely in regards with the four demands” he said. ###