When gov’t works with private sector

August 17, 2007 02:04:00

The front-page photo (“Batanes schools now fully wired”) in the Inquirer’s July 31 issue, which showed students of the University of the Philippines helping “erect an antenna near the Batanes National High School in Basco,” was reminiscent of a picture of Iwo Jima taken during World War II.

The story tells how the joint effort of local leaders, civil society and the private sector led to the interconnection of all public schools in the island province of Batanes. It is a particular story with general implications. Time and again we say, “Filipinos can do it.”

To drive the point: The government did not have to enter into a shadowy contract like the $329-million NBN deal (financed through an official loan, by the way) with China’s ZTE since Filipinos can actually do the job -- at practically less cost and with no strings attached.

To drive the point further: It shows that development and infrastructure projects (which the government is fond of) may be done by local industries -- with capital from the government for pump priming; the projects don’t have to be farmed out to foreign countries. This way, the benefits to be derived from the projects will be enjoyed by more sectors.

Think about it, the Department of Transportation and Communication need not even have run a full-page ad (Inquirer, 8/4/07) paid with public funds to defend ZTE. That was simply too much for a project that Filipinos can do.

MARCO M. DE LOS REYES, national president, National Union of Students of the Philippines (via email)

Applause in Congress, boos in streets

Last updated 01:23am (Mla time) 08/07/2007

Seems like the only people who applaud the President’s speeches are her aides and allies.

On several occasions, civil society has pointed out conflicting statements in Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s speeches -- especially in those speeches regarded as policy pronouncements. For instance, some time last month, during the declaration of the La Mesa watershed as a protected area, Ms Arroyo said that the watershed is a protected area “subject to private rights.” Among those who applauded that pronouncement was former Mayor Lito Atienza, who is now the environment secretary.

Of course, environmentalists took a more critical stand. Rather than praising the President, they held a press conference expressing their resolve to continue their fight for the protection of the watershed -- the “lifeblood” of Metro Manila.

In reaction to another speech, no less than the State of the Nation Address at that, agrarian reform advocates took offense at the ambivalent stand of the government on agrarian reform. Ms Arroyo said: “DAR will be moved to Davao…. 'Dapat maging daan sa tagumpay sa agribusiness ang reporma sa lupa' [Land reform should become a way for success in agribusiness]…. We must reform agrarian reform so it can transform beneficiaries into agribusinessmen and agribusinesswomen.”

Where else could it have been better said than in front of the landed class in Congress? A thunderous clap. Outside, the farmers booed.

In many other instances, the President has blurred the difference between public concerns and private interests. It is no wonder, then, that the rift between the rich and the poor is widening. Ms Arroyo has become the symbol of affluence and lack of sensitivity, as well as the guardian of the elite.

MARCO M. DELOS REYES, national president, National Union of Students of the Philippines (via email)

Students gear up for SONA protest

News Release

July 21, 2007

Students gear up for SONA protest

Dismal state of education, more dropouts show real state of the nation

Thousands of students are expected to swarm Commonwealth Avenue Monday to hold their own State-of-the-Nation address, the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) said in a press conference today.

“Year after year, Mrs. Arroyo drowns herself and the people of fabricated achievements by bragging self-induced fairytales of improving conditions of governance and the economy. But the students have had enough of her promises, more so her lies” NUSP Secretary General Alvin Peters said.

Peters also disproved claims made by Arroyo of making education the legacy of her government, saying education remains one of the most neglected programs of this administration.

“How can this government make education its legacy if it continues to spend poorly on education and college diploma remains an elusive dream to ordinary Filipino youth?”

“Students and parents continue to bear the brunt of paying high fees for education. The past seven years under the Arroyo administration witnessed the further deregulation of the tuition system leading to bigger increases in tuition and other fees both in private and state schools. The recent tuition hike in the country’s premier state university, the University of the Philippines, merely mirrors out government policy to eventually hand over the responsibility of providing education to the private sector,” Peters added.

“Students can no longer be swayed by the president’s big words. The ailing condition of Philippine education and the growing number of out-of-school youth are enough indicators of the real state of education and the Filipino youth.”

“The youth’s future will remain dim under this administration which prefers to spend more on war than education.”

Reference: Krish Rainjit Salas, NUSP Media Officer, 09196145108

ATTENTION: All Student Councils and Student Governments in the National Capital Region (or Metro Manila)

We will be having an NCR Student Councils' Assembly this coming June 9, 2007 at the conference room of the National Youth Commission building (along Quezon Avenue, near cor. Banawe Ave.)

This will feature a grand discussion on the NUSP's history and orientation and will be followed by a skills training course which is especially designed for new student council officers and members. We will also discuss our joint plans for the semester, in particular our campaigns and advocacy.
For details, please contact Kae at 09266740679 or Alvin at 09206209362. We hope to see you there!

Press Release

April 19, 2007

NUSP joins more than 240 organizations from more than 90 developing nations urging US Congress: Help Combat Global Poverty by Rejecting Fast Track

Widespread Opposition to Fast Track Weighs on Continuation of Doha Talks

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) joined more than 240 national and international groups representing religious, civil rights, youth, environmental, farm, health, development, and labor groups announcing opposition to any new grant of Fast Track trade authority. Fast Track is a political mechanism in the United States that delegates to the president the U.S. Congress’ constitutional authority to set trade policy, without which it is understood that Doha WTO expansion would not be approved in the U.S. The current Fast Track expires June 30, 2007, though any trade deals to be considered under Fast Track must have been agreed upon by March 31, 2007 to give Congress proper notice. Because Doha talks have not concluded, they cannot be considered under current Fast Track authority.

These groups from more than 90 nations signed onto a letter that conveys to members of the U.S. Congress that the Doha Round of WTO expansion is passionately opposed by civil society organizations from developing countries as a threat to their livelihoods, the global environment, democracy and stability. The NUSP has signed onto the letter among other groups in the Philippines including the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), IBON Foundationa and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and international groups including the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC).

“There is overwhelming evidence across the globe that this round of trade talks could be the most damaging in history to developing nations. Doha is the anything but “development round.” We need a new direction on trade and the US Congress has an opportunity to make that happen and curb the devastating effects of failed trade policies like what is being negotiated at Doha,” said Alvin Peters, secretary-general of NUSP.

The letter emphasizes the harmful effects of Doha and the World Trade Organization on developing nations.

We are writing to share our view that this New Direction [on trade policy] must include rejection of the current attempts to expand the failed World Trade Organization (WTO) through the "Doha Round." We are unified in our commitment to an entirely new vision and policy for multilateral trade that would benefit, rather than damage, the world's workers, farmers, environment, and future development potential. Therefore, we urge you to reject pressure by U.S. corporate giants and other WTO proponents to renew Fast Track for WTO negotiations.

The letter, delivered to Democratic members of the House and Senate, arrives while the Bush administration responds to changes to proposed NAFTA expansions to Peru, Panama and Colombia offered recently by Democratic leaders of the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees trade policy in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Peters reiterated the negative effects these policies are having on Philippine education, citing government policies on education leading towards the further commericialization and deregulation of education. “The fact that so many students aren’t able to study anymore in the Philippines, that tuition and other fees continue to soar unabated can be directly linked to these globalization policies,” Peters said.

The full letter and all its signatories can be found at the website www.ourworldisnotforsale.org

Students warn of relentless tuition hikes

Manila Standard Online
February 28, 2007

By Florante S. Solmerin

MEMBERS of the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines are up in arms over the decision of the Commission on Higher Education suspending memorandum order 14 and effectively lifting the cap on tuition increases.

Ched made the move at the height of the consultation on the proposed tuition increases by higher education institutions, the students’ group said.

“The CHED suspension of CMO 14 is suspect as much as it is a betrayal of the students and their parents,” said Dion Carlo Cerrafon, SCMP chairman. “The result is like an automatic imposition of tuition and other fee increases.”

Leni Valeriano, SCMP vice chairman said that for many students and parents, the suspension of CMO 14 means “the comeback of relentless tuition and other fee increases. It will resurrect the uncapped tuition increases and takes our struggle a decade backwards.”

SCMP also calls on school administrators “not to take an opportunistic stance on this sudden back-tracking of CHED. We call on especially the colleges and universities run by the religious to restrain increases during this consultation period which is also the start of the Lent.”

SCMP cites the National Union of Students of the Philippines ‘ report that many schools had already proposed increases as high as 15 percent and 20 percent.

The University of Sto. Tomas, Philippine School of Business Administration and the Far Eastern University held their tuition consultation with students this week and yet to publicize its proposed increase.

SCMP called for a moratorium on increases in tuition and other fees. ###

Long, fearsome night

Last updated 01:23am (Mla time) 03/28/2007

Like any typical Filipino kid, I was taught to fear the darkness of the night. "Tikbalang," "aswang" and "kapre" were creatures that ate young kids strolling in dark alleys way past bedtime.

As I grew older (and stayed up late longer), I learned that drug addicts, snatchers and holdup men were to be feared more than the "aswang" in the dead of night. Boy, I must have grown so fast -- now I fear for the country more than I fear for myself in the dead of night. Let me explain by citing some of the incidents that led me to such fear:

• At 3 a.m. of March 19, 2007, detained Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Satur Ocampo was taken out of prison for a plane ride to Leyte. Anyway, the flight was aborted halfway.

• Past 11 p.m. of Dec. 29, 2006, convicted rapist Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith of the US Marines was surreptitiously transported from the Makati City Jail to the US Embassy.

• Twice the House of Representatives stayed up late till the early morning hours the next day to quash two attempts to impeach Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; and once to railroad Charter change.

Hell must be jubilant over Ms Arroyo’s leadership. After all, under her guidance, the government operates “like a thief in the night.” Unfortunately, every time the thief strikes, democracy suffers; and we are robbed of our rights and liberties.

With barely two months left before this year’s elections, I can’t help but worry that there is going on a sort of dress rehearsal for late-night operations come May. Oh yes, of course, three Sundays ago, a building of the Commission on Elections went up in smoke in the dead of night. I just hope this incident wouldn’t count.

But definitely, there are enough reasons for us to wake up from our deep slumber and keep the lights on through this long night.

National President
National Union of Students of the Philippines
Manifesto: Sign the ONLINE PETITION FOR KA SATUR CampaignsTo: Department of Justice and Philippine National Police


Free Satur Ocampo! End Political Repression!

We, parliamentarians and friends from different countries, express grave concern and great alarm over the arrest of Rep. Satur Ocampo, Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, who is currently campaigning for reelection under the opposition party Bayan Muna.

We fail to comprehend why a warrant of arrest was issued based on a criminal case for murder committed 22 years ago at the time when Satur was in prison during the martial law regime of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. We are also concerned why a 22 year-old case was resurrected during the campaign period at the time when Satur, a staunch critique of the government, is heading the campaign of his party for reelection. We are alarmed that Satur is not granted at least, his right to bail, since it is improbable that the evidence of his guilt is strong considering that the crime imputed is more than 2 decades old.

We are aware of the escalating political killings in the Philippines targeting members of opposition parties and government critiques. We were also informed of escalating harassment against them during the election period, and would like express our belief that opposition parties, including their leaders, must be allowed to campaign freely during the campaign period.

We express our deepest concern over these developments and urge the Philippine government to respect Saturs rights to due process. We urge the speedy release of Satur Ocampo from prison and that he and his party, and all opposition parties for that matter, be allowed to freely campaign. We call for a stop to the political killings and human rights violations in the Philippines.

*To sign the petition click here

PRESS RELEASE: UST Students Slam Admin Deception in the Fee Consultations

6 March 2007

“It was an attempt to fool the students.”

Thus said incoming Faculty of Arts and Letters Student Council President JC Valeroso regarding the conduct of fee increase consultation in the
University of Sto Tomas a week ago.

The UST Administration issued a notice calling for a dialogue on February 26 between the Student Council Presidents and the Rector to talk about myriad issues and grievances with regard to tuition. It turned out that the dialogue was a tuition increase consultation for the next school year. The time and venue of the February 26 consultation was not stated in the said notice.

At the end of the one-sided meeting, the UST administration posted an 8.4 percent increase in their tuition.

“It was their long-crafted tactic to be able to implement anti-student policies. With this, the administration has once again committed blatant crime of depriving us, the students of our right to be consulted and right to be informed,” Valeroso said.

The questioned tuition increase in UST came a week after the controversial suspension of CHED Memo Order No. 14, which provided for a ceiling on the allowable school fee increase. CHED Chairman Carlito Puno has earlier defended their action saying that the suspension of the Memo is only for one year. In lieu of CMO 14, an old 1998 guideline was re-implemented – CMO 13.

“We already expected this to happen because of the suspension of the tuition increase ceiling – tuition increases will shoot up. Unfortunately, CHED is the one which encouraged the private schools for their ulterior motive for profit,” NUSP Executive Vice President Diana Directo explained. “Worse, that is at the expense of the students and their parents,” she added.

According to the student leaders, “the UST Administration violated both CMO 14 and CMO 13, but this whole hullabaloo can be attributed to the whimsical and biased action of CHED,” Directo said.

The Thomasian student leaders who led the campaign against the incessant fee increases were charged with violations against the Student Conduct and Discipline, particularly prohibiting students from engaging in assemblies, boycotts, and marches. However, it seems that they are far from being cowed.

“We will file counter-charges against UST for implementing an unconstitutional policy. We are, in fact, getting more support,” Valeroso finally said. ###

Student leaders plan filing of TRO against CHED's suspension of Tuition Cap

Alleges possible Malacañang intervention

1 March 2007

"The lifting by CHED of the tuition cap to appease school owners reeks of Malacañang's intervention and we students will stop at nothing to ensure that this injustice is corrected."

This was the statement today of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) secretary-general Alvin Peters when he revealed plans by the students to file a temporary restraining order (TRO) against CHED's Memorandum from the Chairman which lifted the tuition cap provided for by the amended CHED Memorandum Order No. 14 (CMO 14) last week.

"We are infuriated that the government agency that is supposed to safeguard the right of the students to quality and affordable education has turned its back on the students for the umpteenth time."

Earlier this week, the Commission on Higher Education had made public the suspension of CMO 14 and its subsequent amendments while restoring CMO 13, series of 1998, as the guidelines for tuition fee increases for the next school year.

"The students' hard-won gains in their campaign for a genuine mechanism of tuition and other fee regulation, has suffered a major setback because CHED has chosen to kowtow to private schools' interests."

Peters claimed that fierce lobbying by private school groups like COCOPEA (Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations) and CEAP (Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines) resulted in CHED's capitulation, thereby suspending the amended CMO 14 and as a result the tuition cap based on the inflation rate. Peters further alleged that Malacañang may have had a hand in CHED's action, saying "it is a grave possibility and one we are looking closely at, that powerful private school owners might have petitioned the President herself to intervene in the matter of the tuition cap."

"The CHED can no longer deny the reason behind the dubious suspension of CHED Memorandum Order number 14 and its amendments, which provides that tuition and other fee increases should not be more than the current inflation rate," Peters said.

"It is clear as the sun that COCOPEA has exerted undue influence and pressure for the removal of the tuition hike cap by claiming it "has affected their competitiveness and has prevented them from improving their facilities," he added.

Peters vowed that the NUSP together with other national youth groups such as KABATAAN Partylist and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines would resort to legal moves to enforce a moratorium on tuition and other fee increases for the next school year while CHED reviews its memorandum.

"We demand a freeze of all tuition and other fee hikes for Academic Year 2007-2008 while the matter of the CMO 14 is unresolved," Peters said. ###

Suspension of CHED memo 14 triggers bigger tuition hikes, sparks students' uproar

Students call for moratorium on tuition and other fee increases

27 February 2007

Student leaders from different private schools in Metro Manila led by
the Kabataan Partylist and the National Union of Students of the
Philippines (NUSP) stormed the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)
main office today to protest the hasty suspension of the CHED
Memorandum Order 14 (CMO 14) few days before the end of consultations
for tuition and other fee hike proposals.

This morning, student leaders from NUSP, LFS and Kabataan Partylist,
joined by students from University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern
University, held a dialogue with CHED to seek enlightenment about the
abrupt suspension of CMO 14 and re-implementation of CMO 13. Students
spray painted the façade of CHED office to show its disgust over the
immediate suspension of the said CMO, saying CHED was inutile and it
easily capitulated to the demands and pressure of COCOPEA
(Coordinating Council of Private Educators Association) and CEAP
(Catholic Educators Association of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, student councils from the University of the East and the
University of Santo Tomas led other schools in the university belt in
a series of noise barrage action this afternoon to protest the sudden
increase in the rate of tuition hike proposals in several private
schools in the country immediately after the suspension of the CMO 14.

A candle lighting activity against unabated tuition increases will
ensue infront of the UST Jubillee gate at 5:00 pm.

Last February 20, CHED Chairman Carlito Puno released a new memorandum
informing all higher education institutions that CMO 14 and all
amendments thereto have been suspended "pending review by the
commission." In lieu of CMO 14, the memo provides that CMO 13 is to be
used for all tuition increase proposals for AY 2007-2008.

The re-implementation of CMO 13 effectively removes the cap on tuition
hikes based on the national inflation rate and the inclusion of
miscellaneous fees among the items that require student consultation.

February 22, 2007
Jeffrey M. Tupas

MANILA -- Young stars Angel Locsin and Dennis Trillo are among the show business personalities who will appear in a star-studded video endorsing the new Kabataan Party-list (Youth).

Now featured in www.youtube.com, the Kabataan video has been attracting the attention of the youth, most of them expressing their support for the party, if not giggling over the presence of Trillo in the video.

Produced in January and released to the public this February, the video teaser had been on the top 35 videos of YouTube for four days. It can now be downloaded from the Internet and is being circulated in schools and communities nationwide.

"We did not pay the young people who appeared in the video. We let them read the script and they were the ones who chose what lines they would like to narrate," Mong Palatino, the group's national president and number one nominee, said in e-mail exchanges with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of the INQUIRER.net.

The brief description to the video says: "In this time of corrupt governance and political unrest/instability, the nation needs young, vibrant and innovative minds who will restore integrity and morality in governance and lead the nation to genuine progress and social change."

Also making a pitch for Kabataan in the video are noontime TV show hosts Ciara Sotto and Paolo Ballesteros, reggae band Brownman Revival vocalist Dino Concepcion, Agaw Agimat vocalist QT Paduano Nadela, TV host and student activist Atom Araullo, Filmmaker Sinag de Jesus, Palatino and fellow party nominees Rico Almoquera and Ella Colmenares.

Locsin, who was a member of the Anak ng Bayan (Kabataan's former name) in 2003, is the younger sister of Colmenares. Patino said they met with Locsin in January and asked the actress if she would agree to appear in the video teaser.

"We told her it is our aim to represent the youth sector in Congress and we can only be successful if young people will actively participate in our advocacies. She agreed. She asked her friend Dennis Trillo to be part of the video teaser and Dennis agreed too," Palatino said.

Ciara Sotto, who is also a member of Kabataan Party-list, asked Paolo Ballesteros to be part of the video.

"We want the young people to be more active, aggressive and creative in demanding reforms in the country. We hope to show the idealism of the youth. We want to manifest our disappointment about the current state of affairs in our country. Instead of wallowing in cynicism, we appeal to the passionate energies of the youth to work for genuine changes in our society," Palatino said.

"We thought of featuring young people from different walks of life who will articulate our message for a more active youth involvement in the social and political life of the country," Palatino added.

He said the video, as a political material, would be used by the party even after the elections -- whether or not they would get a seat in Congress.

"It intends to disrupt the disappointing status quo by proving that young people are really determined to fight for changes. TV ads of politicians were made mainly for the 2007 elections. Our video will be used even beyond the elections. Its objective is to encourage the youth to be more active in politics," he said.

"The involvement of youth personalities will help popularize the video among young people and hopefully our target audience will get our message. I hope they will also appreciate that the video featured not only showbiz personalities but also young people from different backgrounds," he added.

The video teaser has been receiving various reactions from the youth themselves.

"Masyadong matalas para sa pangkaraniwang kabataan. Highly political. Kunsabagay, kailangang basagin ang mga tradisyon para makapaghawan ng landas tungo sa pangmatagalang tagumpay. Nakakatuwa ring may mga celebrity endorsers na tayo. [Too sharp for the ordinary youth .... In any case, we need to break with tradition to create a path towards long-term success. It’s great we already have celebrity endorsers]," one commented.

"Finally, a party which I can give my full support to…You have my vote," another said.

"Sayang…di pa ako pede bumoto…[It’s a shame, I cannot vote yet] haissshh..But still, you have my support. This video made me think for a while, haha...nice one!" said another comment.

The only youth party aiming for a sectoral representation in Congress, the Kabataan Party (formerly Ang Nagkakaisang Kabataan para sa Sambayanan or Anak ng bayan) also ran in 2004 but failed to make it.

Named by Pulse Asia as one of the topmost favorite party-list groups in the 2004 elections, the group claimed being a victim of massive vote shaving and padding (dagdag-bawas).

The party's defeat however failed to deflate and weaken its desire to be at the forefront of the political arena as they worked with various youth organizations including the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP), and the Kabataang Artista Para sa Tunay na Kalayaan (Karatula).

Over the years, the party fought for the rights of the students and consistently blocked and campaigned against incessant tuition and other school fee increases while demanding from the government the people's basic right to a quality and free education.

This is a sector that demands to see "another Cory [Corazon] Aquino who united a grieving nation in the mid 1980s… a new Miriam Defensor-Santiago who amazed the youth with her wit and bravado during the early 1990s."

Also on its list of advocacies are employment, good governance, consumer rights, independence, democratic rights, youth empowerment, and identity and culture -- all of these articulated in the video in a rather assertive fashion that only the youth and the daring can muster.

"Kabataan, panahon na para sumuway at maging mapangahas…[It’s time for us to defy and to dare]," Trillo said in the teaser.

“Walang ibang tagapagmana ng bukas kundi tayo…walang ibang maghuhulma ng bukas kundi tayo…. [Nobody else will inherit the future but us ... Nobody else will shape the future but us],” Locsin said.

In January, Sotto, whose father Vicente “Tito” Sotto is running for senator under the government's TEAM Unity, signed up to join the party during its national convention.

In the teaser, the younger Sotto said: "Sumalungat sa karaniwang agos ng kawalang-pakialam [Let’s go against the usual flow of apathy]."

Palatino, in his own blog, said that the youth could actually make the election less filthy by going out on May 14 to vote. Voting, he said, was the youth's duty and responsibility.

"If the election is dominated by the elite, let's make the elite listen to our problems. If election is a popularity contest, let's demand a concrete platform from all candidates," Palatino said.

"If we abandon the elections and allow the trapos [traditional politicians] to dominate the campaign, elections will be more meaningless and futile exercise. But our vigilance and active engagement would probably make a difference in the reforms we want to achieve by electing competent leaders and removing imbeciles in government," Palatino added.

But voting, he said, would be just one of the many ways where the youth could actually get themselves involved during the elections.

Aside from voting, he said, the youth could volunteer for candidates and parties who "espouse what we think the country needs."

"We can report electoral violations [use those camera phones]. We can campaign for an honest and peaceful election through texting, chat, blog, and joining advocacy groups during the counting of votes," he said.

"We can cancel out all our activities on May 14 in order to brave the long queues and vote in our local precincts. If we don't vote, somebody else will vote on our behalf. Remember, ghost voters are hard to catch in a superstitious country like ours. Voting is also a rare chance to get even with bad politicians," he added.

The youth party is also out to dispel political analysts’ doubts about the capacity of the Filipino youth to deliver votes.

"Young voters could potentially dictate who will seat in the Senate and the next batch of local leaders. This is possible if the youth will vote on May or if they are not registered, influence family and friends to vote for candidates they want to win," he said.

"Analysts doubt the potency of the youth vote. According to them, the youth will not be a significant force in deciding the outcome of the coming polls. This is our chance to prove the skeptics wrong. The youth vote is real. We only need candidates who can inspire the youth with their creative and sensible election agenda," he added.

©2007 www.inquirer.net all rights reserved

Students Hold National Day of Action vs. Tuition and Miscellaneous Fee Hikes

Slam new round of fee increases for next school year

22 February

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and KABATAAN Partylist led students from various private schools around Metro Manila in a “national day of protest against unabated tuition and other fee increases” today at the University Belt in Manila.

Around 2000 students from various schools such as University of Sto. Tomas, Far Eastern University, University of the East-Manila and Recto, De La Salle Araneta University, Centro Escolar University, Mapua Institute of Technology, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Lyceum of the Philippines, St. Scholasticas College, Asian School of Arts and Sciences and the Technological Institute of the Philippines-Quezon City participated in a program along Morayta Avenue that showcased the students’ creativity and energy, with KABATAAN Partylist mascot “Isko” entertaining passersby.

“The National Day of Action today is particularly timely because this month, many schools are proposing to implement tuition and other fee increases next school year in the series of tuition consultations currently underway,” said NUSP secretary-general Alvin Peters.

Peters said that any proposed increases in tuition and other fees next year are “completely unjustified” because the question of the legality of the fee increases implemented last school year “remains unresolved and unaddressed.”

Peters revealed that the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) had released two memoranda which amended CHED’s highly controversial Memorandum No. 14 (CMO 14): CHED Memo Order 42, series of 2006 and CHED Memo Order 7, series of 2007. Students had protested CMO 14 for having placed exemptions to student consultations, namely for tuition increase proposals below or equivalent to the national inflation rate and fee increases for incoming freshmen.

“CHED has essentially conceded that CMO 14 is illegal for having removed student consultations in the first place,” Peters said. “By amending the illegal memo order, CHED has validated the students’ demand that tuition and other fee increases imposed this school year using CMO 14 are all illegal and should be refunded.”

CHED Memo 42 amended CMO 14 by in effect setting the prevailing national inflation rate as the tuition cap and restoring mandatory consultation for all levels.

But Peters maintained that amending CMO 14 still remains “not good enough, especially in the light of a new round of tuition and other fee increases and despite the failure to refund illegal fee increases for the current school year.”

Peters said that several schools have already held tuition consultations using the amended CMO 14 as the guidelines for the proposals for fee increases in June. “St. Scholasticas College concluded their tuition consultation Wednesday with a proposal 6 percent tuition increase, while the Technological Institute of the Philippines-Manila and QC campuses have announced plans to increase tuition by 6.2 percent, the national inflation rate as declared by CHED. Some schools according to Peters are also allegedly proposing increases above the 6.2 percent national inflation rate, such as the Asian School of Arts and Sciences with a proposed 10 percent tuition hike.

“As long as these yearly increases in school fees continue unabated and tuition spirals ever higher, tertiary education will continue to remain a distant dream for millions of Filipino youth,” said Raymond Palatino, KABATAAN Partylist national president and nominee. “And hence, in the coming 2007 elections, the youth will present this challenge to the aspiring lawmakers, whether or not these potential lawmakers take up our challenge will be our standard for electing them,” Palatino said.

Youths gear for nationwide class boycott

Last updated 04:02am (Mla time) 02/18/2007

MILITANT student and youth organizations nationwide are gearing for a boycott of classes in Metro Manila and key cities across the country on Feb. 22 to protest the new round of tuition and other school fee increases.

"Tuition and other fee increases in these times of economic hardship and poverty are clearly uncalled for. These only make college education more elusive to young Filipinos," Kabataan Party-list president Raymond Palatino said in a statement.

Aside from the Kabataan Party-list, several chapters of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines and the National Union of Students of the Philippines in major private schools in Metro Manila and other cities nationwide are also set to join the protest action.

According to Palatino, his group and the NUSP—together with student representatives from De La Salle University, Araneta University, University of the East, Mapua Institute of Technology, Philippine School for Business and Arts, Lyceum of the Philippines, Centro Escolar University and University of Santo Tomas—already filed a consolidated complaint at the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) last Feb. 15 against their school administrations over violations in the guidelines for tuition and other fee increases.

He reiterated the students' call for a full refund of illegally collected tuition and other fee increases for the current school year.

"Private schools and CHEd should first settle the issues over the illegal implementation of tuition and other fee hikes this school year... before approving proposals for another round of school fee increases," Palatino said.

He said the school year was about to end but private schools which increased tuition and other fees have not yet started giving refund to the students.

"If these school administrators will get away with the illegal tuition hikes they implemented this school year, it's likely that they will implement even bigger increases for the upcoming semester without student consultation," he warned.

"While CHEd issued an en banc resolution last May, it only stipulated a refund for tuition hikes which exceeded the inflation rate," Palatino added.

He argued that tuition and other fee increases imposed this school year are illegal since a CHEd memorandum, which became the basis for these increases, violated Republic Act No. 6728, Section 10, which provides that any proposal for school fee increase should undergo student consultation.

In the same statement, NUSP secretary general Alvin Peters and CEGP president Jose Cosido called on CHEd and lawmakers to investigate dubious fees which are being collected by various private schools in the country.

"These fees are not only superfluous, these are downright ridiculous. Private schools are imposing exorbitant fees to jack up their profits," Peters said.

As an example, he said the Philippine Maritime Institute is charging its students with a safety on land and seas fee that is worth P5,000 to P6,000 while UE in Manila is charging cultural fee that is worth P162 and Internet fee of P976.

"The Asian School of Arts and Sciences is collecting P250 for athletic fee even if the school doesn't have a varsity team," Peters revealed.

The group claimed that more dubious fees are being charged by private schools like energy fee, development fee, accreditation fee, centennial fee or foundation fee and aircondition fee. Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon

Campaign Memorandum No. 1, Series of 2007: Campaign Memorandum and Student Leaders’ Guide to Tuition and Other Fee Increases

8 February 2007


This month, students from different colleges and universities nationwide face another round of tuition and other fee increase (ToFI) proposals. Private schools have made a routine out of the annual increases in school fees as they mouth “inflationary adjustment” to justify their motive. Quite unfortunately too, CHED memo order 14, as amended, implicitly echoes the same argument of school owners.

But, as student leaders, we are borne with the responsibility to critically analyze the situation and campaign for the protection of our right to education against incessant school fee increases. We are tasked to confront the problem head-on through well-planned mass campaign, creative and sustained collective actions, and well-strategized dialogues and negotiations.


This academic year (2006-2007), we pressed for the scrapping of CHED Memo Order 14 as we criticized its bias towards school owners and administrations regarding tuition and other fee increases. Our main points of criticism to CMO 14 (not exhaustive) were:

1. It provided exemptions to consultations if the increase is within the declared national inflation rate and when the increase is applicable only to incoming freshmen;

2. It legitimized exorbitant fees and new fees to be collected by the school without proper guidelines on the nature of fees allowable to be collected;

3. It lessened student and multi-sectoral participation in the consultations and reiterated the long-criticized faulty consultation processes allowed by the CHED memo.

In addition to the first point of criticism, we found out that CMO 14 violated RA 6728 as the former contradicted the consultation requirement of the latter. To be more specific, the exemptions to consultations in CMO 14 violated Section 10 of RA 6728, which states that “In any proposed increase in the rate of tuition fee, there shall be appropriate consultations…”

Because of this, we called for the refund of the illegal tuition and other fee increases. Hence, we launched the Tuition Refund Campaign. Aside from this, we also encouraged student leaders from various schools to lodge their complaints at CHED and call for the same refund.


In the local scene, students from NCR schools UST, UE Manila and Caloocan, DLS-AU, Mapua, filed complaints to CHED and the efforts solidified the efforts of the students, as well as exposing their schools’ mechanisms in increasing school fees. St. Louis University of Baguio, meanwhile filed a complaint to the Regional Trial Court against SLU’s “carry-over sheme” of tuition increase. Student leaders in Davao City successfully gathered signatures from students in different private schools and lodged the complaint jointly to CHEDRO-Davao. These are some examples of local actions and activities regarding the ToFI campaign.

In the national scope, CHED issued an ante-dated memorandum that nullified ToFI above 7.6% (national inflation rate). CHED en banc Resolution 334-2006 dated 8 May 2006 became the basis for partial refund of ToFI in schools that posted increases above 7.6%. However, the implementation of the refund was not well coordinated and monitored. Moreover, it is still far from our call for full refund of the illegal ToFI.

Last September 2006, CHED called for a meeting of the Technical Committee for the Amendment of CMO 14. NUSP is a member of that committee, and we asserted for urgent reforms in the memo. It is not until January this year that we found that CHED issued another antedated memo that amended CMO 14. CHED memo 42, s.2006, dated 27 September 2006, provided the following amendments:

1. Section 8 of CMO 14 was amended as follows:

“Section 8. Tuition and Other Fees. The allowable increase in tuition and other fees in all levels should not be more than the prevailing national inflation rate.

Any increases in tuition and other fees in all levels to be made by private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) shall be subject to consultation with stakeholders, in accordance with the processes set forth in this Order, and approval of the Commission on Higher Education through the CHED Regional Offices.” (CMO 42 s.2006 section 1)

2. Section 10 of CMO 14 was deleted. (CMO 42 s.2006 section 2) Remember that sec10 of CMO 14 is the provision that provided for the exemptions to consultations.


The amendment of CMO 14 further validated the correctness of our call to refund the illegal tuition and other fee increases, and in essence, proved the rightness of our criticisms against CMO 14. As such, we must learn to utilize these victories and developments to further the cause of the studentry and restrain the round of ToFI for the next school year.

Primarily, we have to campaign to “STOP ToFI!” or to stop tuition and other fee increases in schools. Student leaders must take the step forward to arouse, organize, and mobilize the students to stop ToFI in their schools. This will be done through mass campaign and collective action.

Secondarily, we have to continue to campaign for the full REFUND of illegal ToFI in the present academic year. This secondary call should be made complementary to the primary by using the argument that schools must not venture to another round of ToFI because their previous ToFI is still on question because of the illegality of the process it underwent. (non-consultation with sectors involved; also because of the exemptions provided by CMO 14 before it was amended.)

Translating that to the national level, we must assert to the Commission on Higher Education that they should finally issue a memorandum ordering the refund of the fee increases in AY 2006-2007 in the schools nationwide. Also, further progressive amendments to CMO 14 must be pushed.

Local (in schools) and national campaigns must complement each other.


Because of CMO 42, which amended CMO 14, we expect consultation notices to be posted in conspicuous places around campuses as early as January. (Some had their consultations at the last quarter of 2006.) Strictly speaking, according to CMO 14, consultations must be “conducted not later than February 28 prior to the Academic Year the intended increase shall take effect.” Therefore, we have every right to question if the consultation of a school shall be conducted after February 28.

Particularly, here are some pointers for student leaders on what we should do in case the school proposes tuition and other fee increases:

Ø Build on the principle that education is a right. It is not acceptable, fair, and just for schools to increase their fees at a situation when the Filipino youth has already been eased out of education because of its inaccessibility.

Ø Conduct extensive research on the fee increase proposal (How much? For what purpose? Is it acceptable?), current school fees collected, and the financial stature of the school. Demand for the pertinent documents. It is your right. (RA 6728 and even CMO 14)

Ø Inform the students about the issue. Conduct forums and symposia regarding the subject matter.

Ø Organize tactical and issue-based alliances with fellow students, parents, faculty, and non-academic personnel against the new round of fee increase.

Ø Student councils/members in the consultation panel must ally and prepare negotiation tactics with the other like-minded members of the panel (i.e., faculty association, alumni association, employees union)

Ø Mobilize students on the call. Conduct creative and sustained collective actions like manifesto signing, colored-shirt wearing, streamer hanging, pin-wearing, mass actions, and the like.

Attachments and immediate references:

CHED Memo Order 14, s. 2005.

CHED Memo Order 42, s. 2006.

NUSP Campaign Memo, November 2006.

Complementary references:

Students’ Critique to CMO 14, prepared by NUSP, May 2006.

Restrictive school fees reduce access to college education, NUSP, June 2006.

Armed Men in Motorcycle Stalk UEP Student Regent

26 January 2007

University of Eastern Philippines (UEP) Student Regent Jean Orsolino is now on hiding after she nearly escaped possible abduction by alleged military men around 10am today in Catarman, Northern Samar. In a text message, she related that she was having a haircut in a salon when a “dark-skinned man in military shorts and haircut” entered and was apparently looking for someone.

Di siya kilala ng salon owners. Ako ang tinitignan niya. There and then, kinabahan na ako,” said Orsolino. She knew that the man has other companions outside the salon. Instantaneously, she called her classmates from the College of Law to fetch and accompany her back to the campus. Along the way, they decided to go to a safer place rather than go directly to UEP.

“There are circumstantial evidence that point that the persons who stalk Jean are the same to those who murdered Prof. Jose Ma. Cui, also from UEP, just a week ago,” said National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) President Marco Delos Reyes. “During our national student convention early this month, she related to us that she is in the order of battle (OB) of the military in Northern Samar. A week after, Prof. Cui was cold-bloodedly murdered inside his classroom. During the wake of the professor, news spread that a law student was the next target,” added Delos Reyes.

Jean Orsolino is the current president of the UEP University Student Council and member of the university’s Board of Regents as student representative. She became Eastern-Visayas coordinator of NUSP during her undergraduate years in the mid-1990s. She builds the NUSP chapter in Northern Samar now that she has returned back to school to study law.

Delos Reyes remarked, “Jean’s case is not isolated. We have received the same reports from our chapters and members from other provinces since last year. Mrs. Arroyo’s hands are indeed tainted with the people’s blood, and we cannot allow this to continue.” He added, “We call on the auxiliary government agencies like the Commission on Human Rights, CHeD, and even the National Youth Commission to conduct investigation to safeguard the lives of the students.”

“We warn the Arroyo government and the military not to lay even a finger to youth and student leaders throughout the country. We will fight back,” he finally said. ###

Salubungin ang Kabataan Party

Angel L. Tesorero

(Reposted from Pinoy Weekly, pinoyweekly.org)

Tiyak, marami na namang pulitiko ang manliligaw sa kabataan ngayong halalan. Mangangako sila, na kapag nahalal, isusulong nila ang interes ng "pag-asa ng bayan." Ngunit pagkatapos ng eleksiyon, gaya ng mga nagdaang halalan, mapapako ang lahat.

Hindi tuloy masisi ang karamihan sa kabataan, sakaling mawalan na sila ng gana na lumahok pa sa anumang eleksiyon. Pare-pareho lang anila ang nauupo sa puwesto, wala nang pag-asang mapalitan ang bulok na sistema ng gobyerno. Bagaman higit sa 50% ng mga rehistradong botante ang nasa sektor ng kabataan, mahirap na hamon ang pagbuklurin at pakilusin sila bilang nagkakaisang puwersa - bagay na siyang haharapin ng Kabataan Party ngayong darating na halalan.

Sasabak muli

Kahit maraming kabataan ang hindi na umaasang mababago ang lumang sistema, may tugon ang Kabataan Party: Pulitika ng Pag-asa, Pakikibaka at Pagbabago. Ito ang ibinungad sa PINOY WEEKLY ni Raymond Palatino, tagapangulo ng partido, kilalang lider-estudyante at dating tagapangulo ng Konseho ng mga Mag-aaral sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas at presidente ng NUSP (National Union of Students in the Philippines).

Ito ang ikalawang pagkakataong sasabak sa halalan ang Kabataan Party, na kilala noon sa pangalang Anak ng Bayan Youth Party-list. Lumahok ito noong halalang 2004, at nakalikom ng halos 216,000 boto - kulang na lang ng halos 35,000 boto para makuha ang isang puwesto sa Kongreso.

Edukasyon at trabaho para sa mga kabataan ang pangunahing platapormang dala-dala ng Kabataan Party. Ayon kay Palatino, isusulong ng kanilang partido ang batayang karapatan ng kabataan para sa edukasyon sa pamamagitan ng paggigiit ng dagdag na pondo sa edukasyon at kagyat na pagpapatigil sa tumitinding komersiyalisasyon ng edukasyon.

Ipaglalaban din ng partido na mabigyan ang mga kabataan at mga mamamayan ng disenteng empleyo, pantay na oportunidad at makataong kondisyon ng pamumuhay. Ang mga ito ang tugon sa sitwasyong nagtutulak sa kabataan para mangibang-bansa, gaano man ang panganib.

Bagaman may iba pang partido ng kabataan na lalahok sa halalan, pinakamalaki at pinakamalawak na partidong angkabataan ang Kabataan Party. Mayroon itong mga sangay sa iba't ibang pampubliko at pribadong paaralan sa buong bansa. Malawak ang kasapian nito sa mga komunidad sa kanayunan at kalunsuran. Nakarekluta na ng mahigit 100,000 volunteers ang Kabataan Party na magsisilbing makinarya nito ngayong eleksiyon.

Kampanya ng Kabataan Party

Kapos man sa pinansiya, malawak naman ang network na sumusuporta sa Kabataan Party. Binubuo ito ng NUSP, alyansa ng mga konseho ng mga mag-aaral; CEGP (College Editors Guild of the Philippines), pambansang samahan ng mga pahayagang pangkampus na itinatag noon pang 1931; Anakbayan, komprehensibong organisasyon ng mga kabataan na kinabibilangan ng mga batang propesyunal, estudyante at mga kabataan sa komunidad; LFS (League of Filipino Students), organisasyon ng mga estudyante na aktibong kasapi sa Asian Students' Association at International Union of Students; at SCMP (Student Christian Movement of the Philippines) , relihiyosong organisasyon ng mga estudyante sa mga paaralan.

Simple lang ang pangangampanyang gagawin ng Kabataan Party, hindi magarbo, maaaring walang naglalakihang streamer at poster at komersiyal sa radyo, telebisyon at diyaryo. (Hamon nga ng Kabataan Party sa mga tradisyunal na pulitiko na ipambili na lang ng pagkain para sa mga nagugutom ang kanilang gagastusin sa kampanya.) Subalit tinitiyak ng Kabataan Party na aabot hanggang sa pinakasulok na mga komunidad ang kanilang pangangampanya.

Noong nakaraang halalan, nakatoka sa iba't ibang komunidad at barangay ang mga campaign team ng Anak ng Bayan Youth Party-list. Kumatok sila sa bahay-bahay at nakipagtalakayan sa pami-pamilya. Dahil epektibo, muli itong gagawin ng Kabataan Party.

Gagamitin din ng Kabataan Party ang makabagong teknolohiya pang mas malawak pang maipalaganap ang kanilang programa. Papasukin nila ang cyberspace o internet. Pagaganahin nila ang mga Txt Brigade. (Texting ang isang naging susi sa pagpapakilos ng kabataan noong Edsa Dos.) Uugnay rin sila sa mga Sangguniang Kabataan upang magdaos ng pulong-talakayan sa mga komunidad.

Magbubuo ang Kabataan Party ng mga anti-fraud at poll watch team upang bantayan ang pandaraya at karahasan. Handa ring makipag-usap ang Kabataan Party sa mga pulitikong maninindigan para sa kapakanan ng kanilang sektor. Tahasan nilang lalayuan ang mga pulitikong naging instrumento sa panunupil sa kabataan at mga mamamayan.

Pag-asa at kinabukasan

Nangangamba si Palatino na magiging madugo ang darating na halalan. Noong nakaraang eleksiyon, isang buwang ikinulong nang walang kaso ang ikalimang nominado ng Anak ng Bayan na si Ronald Ian Evidente sa Negros. Ilang lider-kabataan na rin ang napaslang at dinukot sa ilalim ng administrasyong Arroyo dahil kabilang sila sa mga militante at progresibong kritikal sa gobyerno.

Gayunpaman, bukas at handa ang Kabataan Party sa pag-aalay ng talino, lakas at kung anupaman ang kinakailangan para sa pangmatagalang pagbabago ng lipunan. Tungo rito, tinatanggap ng Kabataan Party ang hamon sa pagsusulong, pagtatanggol at pagpapaunlad sa interes ng kabataan - na ang hantungan ay ang pagkakamit ng demokratiko, masagana at mapayapang lipunan.

Ang paglulunsad ng paglahok ng Kabataan Party sa halalang 2007 ay gaganapin sa pambansang kumbensiyon nito sa Enero 19 sa San Juan Gymnasium. Ang tema ay nagbibigkis sa iba't ibang amdamin at pag-iisip ng sektor: "Kabataan, Tayo ang Pag-asa at Kinabukasan!"

NUSP alumna Sonia Roco's message to the 3rd National Students Congress

It is a joy to be with you today, celebrating the 50 years of the National Union of Students. None of you present here was already born in 1957 when the NUSP was founded., otherwise you would all look as wise as I do, or as they would aptly put it, we are the forgets, and you are the bagets generation.

Golden jubilees are meaningful occasions to remember those leaders of yesteryears, like Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, Augusto Kimpo, Ever Macatulad, all past presidents from Far Eastern University, Senator and Secretary of Education Raul S. Roco, Oscar Contreras past presidents from San Beda College, Edgar Jopson, from the Ateneo, and many others who went through the pangs of giving birth to NUSP. They laid the strong foundation on which a patriotic, democratic and progressive alliance of student leaders that upholds and defends the rights and welfare of the Filipino students would grow, develop, mature and last through the many ups and downs of it organizational life. As the Philippines' prime student organization, NUSP unites all students in the country through their mandated representative student councils, governments and unions in the struggle for the fundamental right to education. It was true, then, as it is true now.

For this year I congratulate you all, your NUSP Executive Board, the officers, the student councils present here, for choosing a courageous theme of: LEAP FORWARD TO 50! To leap means to take risks- to trust that when you do leap you will land safely with both feet on the ground.

Yes, go forth, we are with you all the way especially when you consolidate our victories and learn to treasure the scars that went with them. Continue the campaign for a relevant and accessible education! Celebrate the fifty years of the in the future but now; always ready to defend the rights of our youth in all aspects of our national life.

From you will rise the hope and the fulfillment of Raul S. Roco’s vision and dream of a beloved Philippines, with “ creative people in a self-reliant nation united under God.”


Sonia M. Roco, St. Joseph’s College
Secretary NUSP Executive Board, 1964