Several student and youth organizations rallied to Mendiola demanding to stop impending price increases on electricity, water, petroleum, transportation and tuition fee and the continuing lack of sufficient support and rehabilitation for the victims of supertyphoon Yolanda in the Visayas.
“After the Filipino youth and people faced a number of disasters last 2013, we continue to face man-made disasters caused by the criminal ineptitude and negligence of the Aquino administration to the needs and demands of the people. The Aquino government continues to provoke the ire of the youth by these price hikes,” stated Marc Lino Abila, National Secretary General of the College Editors Guild ofthe Philippines (CEGP), the oldest and broadest alliance of tertiary student publications in the country and Asia-Pacific.
“It is an atrocity to claim that the people are satisfied with efforts of the government on relief and rehabilitation while in reality, the Yolanda victims still have nothing,” Abila said referring to the questionable SWS survey result of a high 73 percent or a ‘very good’ satisfaction rate.
Abila explained that the mobilization of more than 12,000 people in Tacloban City is a proof that the Aquino government is not doing its responsibility to help its people whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed by the typhoon.
“As we are threatened by looming price hikes, schools are now preparing its proposals to increase tuition and other fees,” Abila said. Also, Abila added that the budget cuts on state universities and colleges in Yolanda-ravaged provinces in the Visayas might result to tuition hikes, passing the burden to students who are also victims of the calamity.
Last Monday, student leaders and campus journalists trooped to the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) demanding not to accept and approve tuition and other fees in light of the disasters and price hikes.
“CEGP calls CHEd to not to approve any tuition and other fee increase in higher educational institutions as a consideration to those affected by the recent disasters and price increases in basic needs and service,” Abila said.
“The Guild calls its member publications to enlighten and mobilize the students and youth to demand for the right to affordable and accessible education, lower prices and adequate and living wages. The continuing commercialization of our education and subsequent rise on the cost of commodities are enough reasons for us to go out of the streets to assert our rights,” Abila ended.###