Students and student leaders from different colleges and universities in Metro Manila, led by the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), told the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to halt all increase in school fees.
In a consultative forum initiated by the House of Representatives Committee on Higher and Technical Education (CHTE) and Kabataan Partylist yesterday afternoon, students aired their sentiments on the annual increase of tuition and other school fees and the inaction of CHED to the complaints filed by NUSP last March 2013. NUSP said that they followed the procedure stated in CHED Memorandum Order No. 3, series of 2012 but the NCR regional office of CHED lost the complaint.
NUSP National President Sarah Elago presented the continuing surge of the cost of education in the country despite the strong clamor of the students to stop such hikes. Elago pointed out that increasing school fees furthers commercialization of education. She also asserted that education is right of every Filipino at all levels.
CHED’s Dr. Isabel Inlayo gave general answers instead of giving the students with concrete and specific answers to their concerns and grievances.
Meanwhile, CEGP National Secretary General Marc Lino Abila said that campus repression, campus press freedom violations and violations to students’ democratic rights intensify during the period when student leaders and student publications are vocal on their opposition to tuition fee increase and unjust school policies.
Abila presented to the forum files of complaints on campus press freedom violations from student publications nationwide numbering to more than 230 violations of freedom of the press in campuses which the CEGP National Office filed to CHED National Office last July 2013. CHED failed to give immediate and significant actions to the complaints filed by student publications but merely sent letters of inquiry to involved school administrations by the end of 2013.
Student leaders and campus journalists from University of Santo Tomas, National University and Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology also shared the situation of tuition fee increase and consultations in their respective schools.
CHTE Chairperson Cong. Roman Romulo, Cong. Terry Ridon of Kabataan Partylist, CHTE Senior Vice-Chairperson Cong. Evelina Escudero, and other members of CHTE were also present in the forum.###