As the deadline ends for the filing of tuition increase applications with the Commission on Higher Education, members of Anakbayan stormed Gate 7 of Malacañang on Monday to prod President Benigno Aquino III to stop all increases in tuition and other fees.
“The tuition hike proposals tendered by schools with CHED today are good as approved regardless of student opposition as long as they handed the required documents under CHED Memo Order 3 Series of 2012,” said Anakbayan national chair Vencer Crisostomo.
Anakbayan called for the immediate scrapping of “Education Act of 1982” and the policy of education deregulation.
Crisostomo said CHED has no teeth to curtail tuition increases and go after profiteering schools because of the continuing implementation of the “Education Act of 1982” which allows schools to set tuition rates without any government regulation.
“In all his speeches, the President always hides behind the legacy of Daddy Ninoy and Mommy Cory while railing against Marcoses. And yet he himself continues to pursue the Marcosian policy of blatant commercialization of education,” said Crisostomo.
The group added that the president has the power to stop these unjust hikes if he really wants to by issuing an executive order for a tuition moratorium.
“Ang problema sa pangulong ito, kapag pabor sa kaibigan niyang malalaking negosyo lusot agad ang anumang pagtaas. Pero kapag kahilingan ng karaniwang mamamayan ang daming palusot,” said Crisostomo in reference to the P2,000 SSS pension hike.
The youth leader said average annual tuition rates have risen from P30,000-50,000 in 2010 when Aquino came to power to as much as P60,000 to 100,000 this year near the end of his term.
He said the soaring cost of education under Aquino has pushed five students to take their own lives out of desperation. Earlier this month, Central Bicol State University of Agriculture agriculture student Jessaven Lagatic committed suicide after losing his scholarship.
Thousands of students across the nation walked out of their classes last Feb. 24 to push their demand for Aquino to stop the commercialization of education.
Another campus walkout is set on March 11, the third year anniversary of the tragic suicide of UP student Kristel Tejada over tuition woes.