An effigy of Aquino depicted as the “Tuition Hike King” was burned in today’s nationwide youth walkout and big march to Mendiola against tuition and other fee hikes and commercialization of education.
Thousands of students from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, University of the Philippines Manila and Diliman, University of Santo Tomas, and other schools in Metro Manila walked out of their classes today to call on the Aquino government to stop tuition and other fee hikes.
Protest actions were also conducted at the UP Baguio grounds in Baguio City, Colon Street in Cebu City, UP Los Baños in Laguna, and the Commission on Higher Education Regional Office in Davao City.
Youth and student groups in Iloilo also launched the Iloilo Tuition Monitor network in a press conference today at the Bayan office in Jaro, Iloilo City.
Youth group Anakbayan lambasted Aquino for allowing tuition rates to increase by more than double during his reign, with tuition rates more than doubling from P30,000-P50,000 a year in 2010 to P60,000-P100,000 in 2015.
“Next school year over 400 universities and colleges nationwide will again increase tuition and other fees. Under Aquino, Philippine education has become more commercialized,” said Anakbayan National Chair Vencer Crisostomo.
The annual profits of the country’s leading universities have also doubled, with the Far Eastern University, the University of the East, Centro Escolar University, and STI College even making it to the Top 1,000 corporations in 2015.
Anakbayan, along with hundreds of youth organizations under the Rise for Education Alliance and Kabataan Partylist is pressing the Aquino government to issue an executive order stopping tuition and other fee increases and the commercialization of education.
Specifically, Anakbayan is pushing for a moratorium on increasing tuition and other school fees. The group is also calling for the junking of all “Other School Fees” which are not only exorbitant but also redundant given the collection of tuition.
Anakbayan also demands the ending of the education deregulation policy through the immediate scrapping of the Education Act of 1982 which allows universities and colleges to set their own tuition rates without any government regulation.
“The Aquino government always says that nothing can be done to stop tuition hikes and the commercialization of education. What we are proposing is just and doable. Aminin na ni Aquino na kung gusto talaga niya maraming paraan pero kung ayaw maraming palusot,” said Crisostomo.
Another big campus walkout is also set on March 11, the third year anniversary of the death of University of the Philippines student Kristel Tejada who took to her own life after being forced to stop schooling after failing to pay her tuition.
Lumad evacuation center burning
“We also condemn in the strongest terms the continuing attack perpetrated by the military forces against our Lumad brothers and sisters in Mindanao. Just this morning, the Lumad evacuation center in Davao City was burned by suspected military agents. 5 Lumads, including 2 children were hurt,” said Crisostomo.
Two fires broke out 2AM today at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran compound where more than 700 Lumad evacuees have been taking refuge for months.
Reference: Vencer Crisostomo, @venzie, 09399207114