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Youth group disappointed over one week of ‘P-NOY’

July 10, 2010

Anakbayan urges Noynoy to act on education, price control, employment, and land reform

Youth group Anakbayan expressed today its disappointment over the first week of President Noynoy Aquino, saying it lacked even ‘basics’ such as policy pronouncements regarding the rights and welfare of the Filipino youth sector.

“Yes, we are definitely disappointed over P-NOY. But PNOY doesn’t just stand for our current president. For the youth, right now it stands for: Positively Nothing On Youth rights and welfare” said Anakbayan national vice-chairperson Anton Dulce.

The youth leader cited Aquino’s silence on calls by youth groups for a ‘tuition freeze’, as well his about-face regarding the allocation of an amount equivalent to 6% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product), as among the basis for Anakbayan’s assessment for Noynoy’s first week in power.

He said “We aren’t asking for the moon and the stars. What we are waiting for is simply a commitment from Noynoy to push for sufficient funding for the education sector for next year. On the other hand, a tuition freeze order is very much within his executive powers, as well as that of the Commission on Higher Education”.

Dulce also expressed his group’s apprehension over the appointments of Dr. Patricia Licuanan and Bro. Armin Luistro as heads of the CHED and the Dept. of Education, respectively.

“Like previous CHED chair (Emmanuel) Angeles, both have led private schools. We fear that they may also carry the same bias of treating education as a profitable business, instead of as a right for everyone” he said.

Under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the national average tuition fee ballooned from P257.41 to P501.22 per unit, or an increase of 94.72%. In the National Capital Region, it rose by a whooping 123.06%, or P439.59 to P980.54 per unit.

Meanwhile, the youth group also pressed the new Administration to also pay attention to other youth issues, such as employment and land reform.

Among the points stressed by Anakbayan, according to Dulce, are:

– Gov’t control of electricity rates, especially after the latest round of hikes by MERALCO

– The scrapping of the EPIRA, or Electric Power Industry Reform Act

– The repealing of the Value Added Tax as a form of ‘price control’ and ‘economic relief’

– Also, the repealing of the Oil Deregulation Law

– An immediate review of the CARPER, or Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension

– Prioritization of the P125 wage hike and genuine agrarian reform bills in Congress

“We are still willing to give Aquino the benefit of the doubt. But our patience is running out” said the youth leader.

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