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
(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
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
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
Around 2000 students from various schools such as
“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
“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.
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 theand the National Union of Students of the 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 inis 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.
INITIAL STUDENT VICTORIES
In the local scene, students from NCR schools UST, UE Manila and
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
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
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.
TASKS AND PROSPECTS
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.
GUIDE IN THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST TOFI THIS YEAR
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.
Students’ Critique to CMO 14, prepared by NUSP, May 2006.
Restrictive school fees reduce access to college education, NUSP, June 2006.
26 January 2007
“There are circumstantial evidence that point that the persons who stalk
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
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. ###