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No to the 300% Tuition Fee Increase In Cordillera State Universities and Colleges
Petition Background (Preamble):
JP Laurel St. San Miguel 1005
CC: Senate of the Philippines
Committee on Education, Arts and Culture
Rm. 504 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
CC: 15TH Congress of the Philippines
Committee on Higher Technical Education
Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City 1126
Hon. Ma. Jocelyn Bernos of Abra
Hon. Ronald Cosalan of Benguet
Hon. Eleanor Begtang of Apayao
Hon. Teodoro Baguilat Jr. of Ifugao
Hon. Bernardo Vergara of Baguio City
Hon. Manuel Agyao of Kalinga
Hon. Maximo Dalog of Mt. Province
Dear President Aquino III, Members of the Senate and Congress:
We, the students, teachers, non-academic employees, school administrators and parents in the Cordillera Region are outraged over the continuous budget cuts on education and other social services. Your administration seems deaf over the constant calls for greater subsidy for education, health and social services in general, and has persisted in ballooning the budget for debt payment, military and dole-outs. More so, we condemn the 300% increase in tuition that your administration, through Secretary Abad, proposed to the Cordillera Administrative Region State Universities and Colleges last November 2011.
The numbers speak for themselves. For 2012, an accumulated amount of P79 million is slashed on the budget of 6 state colleges and universities. The zero allotment for Capital Outlay (CO) is carried on for this year. Meaning that despite the large number of youth that SUCs are unable to accommodate, your administration will not support the construction of new buildings and improve the facilities. The budget for Personal Services (PS) has also been decreased by P403.3 million despite the supposed automatic increase in PS for each year, due to the Salary Standardization Law.
While the budget for public tertiary education is continually undermined, the dire budget shortage experienced by the basic education sector and the Department of Education has again been overlooked in this year’s budget. The 238.8 billion pesos allocated for basic education is far from 6% GDP allocation recommended by the United Nations. The allocation is not even an exercise of political will, but an automatic increase mandated by law. This will not even address the chronic problem on the shortages in books, chairs, rooms and teachers.
In addition to this burden, your administration even proposed to add two years to basic education. Parents are now concern where to get the additional budget for their children’s schooling, while the teachers are coping to adjust on this new scheme while using minimal and outdated facilities. We have seen that the haphazard addition of the Universal Kindergarten level without addressing the perennial shortages of basic education have resulted to 5 year old kids traumatized by the lack of facilities to accommodate their first touch with schooling.
In the region, through the Budget secretary Butch Abad, your administration even recommended that the Cordillera Administrative Region Association of State Universities and Colleges propose a 300% increase in tuition to be effective in the School Year 2012-2013. Most of the youth of the Cordillera Region come from poor peasant families who have no or limited land and other livelihood. Government statistical data showed that most of the provinces in the Cordillera are among the poorest provinces in the country. This is even worsened by the fact that they are in danger of being evicted from their ancestral land due to extractive industries such as mining that is supported by your administration.
Most of the families in CAR cannot afford the current tuition and other school fees, not to include rent of boarding houses as most of the students live far from the state universities and colleges. However, even with meager resources, the families tried their best to send their children to school as they value education and in their aspiration to achieve better living conditions.
However, instead of addressing these perennial problems in CAR and other regions in the country, the Philippine Government added burden to the families in the Cordillera with the 300% increase in tuition fee. We will not be surprised if there will be a low turnout of enrollees for the coming School Year. Moreover, this may even create conflict between parents and students, who can no longer shell out money, with school administrators who can no longer find ways of augmenting their meager budget.
We believe that the role of the government is to provide for the needs of its people and ensure their well-being as what your administration also stated in previous speeches. However, allocating meager and even slashing budgets for education, health and social services in general, your administration is clearly acting against the interests and welfare of the Filipino people.
With this conditions;
We urge each and every member of the CARASUC to join hands with us in lobbying the Philippine Government for a higher state subsidy on education budget and finding other possible solutions for our dire conditions. We implore you to release the necessary documents for us to determine the financial situation of the school. This also for us to join hand in hand in looking for ways and means to make ends meet.
We urge our Cordilleran members of Congress to oppose the education budget cuts and re-channel funds intended for debt servicing, the military and dole-out programs to education, health and social services. We specifically call the attention of our respective representatives here in the Cordillera region to re-align some of their pork barrel directly to the capital outlay, MOOE and personel services of our state universities and colleges.
We appeal to our local government units (barangay, municipality, city and provincial) to express their support in this fight through resolution making and other means to help our state universities and colleges and other public schools in the primary and secondary level to cope with this dire condition.
In particular, we appeal on the Aquino government to ease the burden of its constituents in the Cordillera Administrative Region by:
1. Stopping the 300% increase in tuition fees as approved by the Cordillera Administrative Region Association of State Universities and Colleges;
2. Allocating 6% of the GDP to education as recommended by the United Nations;
3. Stopping the harassments and vilification of youth and students, by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, in CAR who are members of democratic organizations and who are only speaking for their rights to quality and affordable education and decent living;
4. Listen to the pleas of his people by reversing this injustice and instead fund for the people’s future and welfare.
Above all, we call on the Aquino government to live to its words in ensuring the welfare of the Filipino People.
The No to the 300% Tuition Fee Increase In Cordillera State Universities and Colleges petition to Office of the President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III, was written by Kabataan Partylist, CEGP Cordillera, Anakbyan Cordillera, NUSP Baguio Benguet and is in the category Education at GoPetition. Contact author here.