MEMORANDUM NO. 1, SERIES OF 2013
ATTENTION : Elected chapter/formation officers, coordinators and member publications
RE : Assessment of 2013 Midterm Elections
Campaign against K-12, Tuition and Other Fee Increase
DATE : 27 May 2013
Greetings from the National Office!
Suffrage is the right and obligation of qualified citizens of a country on selecting certain national and local positions in the government and deciding of public questions presented to the people. In a republican and democratic form government such as the Philippine government claims, the people are given the power to elect leaders who they think can serve the interest of the general public.
The Philippines has recently conducted the second automated elections which aimed to have a faster election process. This year’s election was marked by various issues pertaining to the transparency and credibility of the automated election system (AES) such as the late review of the source code by concerned parties, problems with precinct count optical scanner (PCOS) machines, transmission of votes to the central server of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), among others.
As campus journalists, we should understand how AES affects the overall outcome of elections in the country. The Guild, as a patriotic and democratic institution, assesses the 2013 National and Local Elections with the following points:
- The 2013 election is no different from previous elections because it was still dominated by so-called traditional political clans and dynasties from local to national level.
According to the initial results, 75% of elected members of the House of Representatives come from political families. Top-running candidates of the Senate will either extend their parent’s or relative’s career. No one of them came from the basic ground sectors of the society.
No fundamental gains from the 2013 elections benefit the Filipino people as the elections only reinforced the control of the ruling class over the government and its bureaucracy. The election was conducted under the guise of “democracy” where the “power” of the people is restricted in selecting from among the ruling elite and voting for those who will make or implement policies that will oppress and exploit them.
- Due to the complete lack of transparency, the results of the 2013 automated elections are widely criticized.
From the lack of a public review of the source code, to the built-in secrecy of the counting of votes by PCOS machines and the national canvassing of votes, the absence of transparency is evident. The electronic counting and canvassing of votes have become more untransparent and undemocratic.
The AES used in the country is owned, controlled and administered by foreign companies that are profit-driven and not by any patriotic obligation. There are no means for the public and political parties to independently verify the software from the compact flash (CF) cards and review the numbers transmitted to central computer servers of the COMELEC and its private company partner Smartmatic Inc.
Several groups advocating honest and fair elections are united in rejecting AES in the Philippines. The process of automated counting alienates the voters from the votes they have cast. The groups insist that automation should be done in the transmission of votes after being counted manually and openly counted in the precincts. Precinct-level counting in the history of Philippine elections was never secretive, compared to the municipal, provincial and national levels where tampering of election returns are at its worse.
Reports on corrupted CF cards, failed transmissions, malfunctioning PCOS machines, and delays on canvassing of votes highlight the prevalent doubts on the results of the polls.
- The Aquino administration will take advantage of the results of the 2013 elections to help consolidate its oppressive and repressive rule with majority of elected senators allies of the president and likely to support the IMF-WB programs.
The US-Aquino regime is set on further the liberalization of trade and investment policies in the Philippines. They are asserting to revise the 1987 Constitution to remove the restrictions on 100% foreign ownership of land and basic public utilities by Charter Change or enacting new laws overriding such provisions.
The US is also pushing Aquino to provide legal justification on the presence of US military forces in our shores and remove the prohibitions of military facilities in the constitution and foreign businesses are very vocal in pushing for the removal of constitutional provisions against re-election of the president beyond one six-year term.
With the control over the Congress, Aquino pursues to liberalize the mining industry to attract foreign businesses into mining which disregards the opposition of Filipinos to commercial large-scale mining, plantation and logging operation resulting to foreign plunder of our patrimony and environment.
The absence of a strong opposition block in the Congress ensures that the Aquino government can go on signing contracts with private companies with no fear of public rebuke and blue-ribbon investigations. The administration is geared toward the privatization of public services and utilities such as the Metro Rail Transit system, public hospitals and state universities and colleges.
Aquino is reassured by the electoral victory to intensify his regime’s Oplan Bayanihan thru the collaboration of the Philippine Congress to increase the budget for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP). The regime’s counter-insurgency program under the cover of humanitarian aid in the provinces shall result to more human rights violations by the uniformed personnel.
- The elections did not address the most pressing concerns and problems of the Filipino people on land reform, national industrialization, higher wages, lower prices, local employment and affordable housing.
With the exception of progressive parties, election discussions and debates failed to focus on the abovementioned urgent needs of the people. The people have no choice but to advance the struggle against foreign domination and anti-people rule of Aquino. The Filipino people are compelled to further their struggle for national and social liberation to attain their interests.
Since the first election in the country between Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo, Philippine elections are tainted with fraud and violence. Several citizen groups advocating for clean elections share the same sentiments on the AES being flawed, untransparent, undemocratic and undermining the legitimate supremacy of the people to choose the leaders who will serve the interest of the toiling masses.
Sneak signing of K-12
On May 15, 2013, Aquino, while all eyes are on the elections, stealthily signed the Republic Act No. 10533 or Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 which will institutionalize K-12 program as introduced by the Department of Education (DepEd).
This step by the Aquino government to institutionalize the implementation of K-12 proves its determination to provide cheap labor for foreign companies and to further the labor-export policy which are band-aid solutions in the problem on unemployment. This will further the exploitation of our labor force with low wages and poor working conditions.
As the school opening this June is drawing near, the dismal state of our elementary and secondary public schools nationwide remains the same with the lack of proper classrooms, chairs, textbooks and other school facilities and equipment, and number and performance of teachers.
By adding two years to the education cycle through K-12, the government is just adding up to the current problems to the education system instead of solving the various deficiencies stated above.
K-12 also aims to extinguish the sense of nationalism and the tradition of critical thinking among the youth as it reinforces the colonial mindset of the people to study for the individual gain of earning abroad. The curriculum of the program is largely based on the US curriculum as several essential subjects were removed. The program also fails to address the need of the Philippines for a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented form of education.
The condition of our colleges and universities are also affected with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) approving 354 out of 451 schools nationwide which filed proposals to increase tuition and other fees despite the lack of proper consultations with parents and students, and complaints filed by students and student leaders to stop such increase on school fees. According to CHED, an average increase of 8.4% or P40 per unit will be added. Adding to that, 260 elementary and secondary schools nationwide will increase its fees.
Not only these will add burden the parents who send their children to school in hope of a better future, but these make education inaccessible to the poor, contrary to what our Constitution says that the state should ensure that education at all levels is accessible to all citizens.
We call for the scrapping of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013. Aquino is hell-bent in pushing K-12 but oblivious of the present condition of the education system which needs higher funding and priority. He is also pushing to make state universities and colleges more “self-sufficient.” Instead of addressing the urgent needs, his administration is putting more problems to our education system.
Rising up from the rubble
Last December 2012, southern Mindanao, particularly Davao Oriental and Compostella Valley, was devastated by Tyhoon Pablo (international name Bopha) leaving 1,067 deaths, 844 missing, and 80,000 people homeless.
The damage by Typhoon Pablo in Mindanao made it the worst calamity that hit the Philippines in 2012 affecting the homes and livelihood of most residents. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Pablo’s damage reached to P36.9 billion on agriculture, infrastructure and private property.
As more people are in need of help and relief from the calamity, the government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), had been very irresponsible and cold-hearted on immediately providing the needs of our countrymen who lost their homes and livelihood.
Our countrymen are in need of relocation and livelihood programs to rebuild and rehabilitate their communities. And in lieu with the opening of classes, they are also in dire need for school materials and equipment. The typhoon left southern Mindanao with damaged school buildings and classrooms.
We call for monetary assistance for shelter, food and medicine. Please deposit your cash donations at BALSA-Mindanao:
Account Name: United Church of Christ in the Philippines
Peso Bank Account Number: 002083866449
Bank Name: Bank Of Philippine Island (BPI)
Branch: Davao City
The Guild is also calling for Mindanao Guilders to conduct basic masses integration (BMI) in affected areas, particularly in Compostella Valley and Davao Oriental, to help with relief and rehabilitation efforts. Luzon and Visayas Guilders are encouraged to release propaganda materials to inform the people of the condition of our countrymen in Mindanao.
Here is some schedule of activities:
May 27 CHED action against tuition and other fees increase (TOFI)
May 28 TRO filing against CMO No. 3 and TOFI, 9am at the Supreme Court
May 30 Media forum and all leaders unification, 9am at ACT Office
May 31 DSWD action
June 1 Press conference on K-12 (Tentative time and venue)
June 3 Opening of classes mobilization against K-12, 7am at DepEd NCR and 11am march from UST to Mendiola
June 10 National day of protest against education crisis, 10am at UST
June 19 Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s birthdate, State of the Youth Address, Kabataan Partylist anniversary
Our general objectives:
- Inform our fellow students on the flaws of the automated election system and maneuvers of the government on results and how this will further its abuse to the youth and people.
- Release statements and other propaganda materials on the 2013 elections, K-12 and tuition and other fees increase. Urge the students to support and engage with the campaign to junk K-12 and put a halt on fee increases.
- Release support statements and appeal for donations for the victims of Typhoon Pablo in Mindanao.
- Conduct activities condemning the implementation of the K+12 and the approval of fee increases in 354 higher educational institutions.
For our noble advocacy,
Marc Lino Abila
National Deputy Secretary General