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

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. ###