Archive for June, 2011

A year to protest about

June 30 marked the first year in office of President Benigno Aquino III. Basking in the glory of his popular parents, Aquino’ election into office a year ago created a euphoric atmosphere among the nation. Majority of the people went with and put faith in his “Daang Matuwid Tungo sa Pagbabago.” Today, a year after his election into office, it is opportune to assess the quality of service Aquino has rendered to the Filipino people.

The College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines Baguio-Benguet gives the Aquino administration no better than a flunking grade in its first year. The Guild has noted no significant change in the national condition since Aquino assumed the presidency. So far, his vaunted policies such as the Public-Private partnerships (PPP) and the Kindergarten plus 12 are not directly resolving the roots of the worsening condition of every Filipino citizen. The PPP Program is only leading to the gradual privatization of basic services which the government must actually provide for its people. In the past year, the most glaring example of this is the LRT/MRT service which is a basic mode of transportation in Metro Manila. Early this year, MRT/LRT passengers were greeted by fare hikes in the rail transportation. On the other hand, the KPlus 12 program also does not address the main problem in the education sector; that is, the budget insufficiency. While Kplus 12 appears as a good program in theory, it is highly questionable how this can be actualized given the funds required for its implementation.

It is very notable characteristic of the Aquino administration to rely on “band-aid solutions” in answering the people’s plight. No better proof of this is its line of “Pantawid” programs” whose very name connotes a negative impermanence. One example is the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program which aims to shell out Cash Conditional Transfers worth P500 a month and P300 a month per children to poor families. More recently, with the searing price of oil products came the “Pantawid Pasada” program which will give fuel subsidy to tricycle and jeepney drivers. Although helpful in a certain level, these programs give nothing more than temporary relief to its beneficiaries and the Guild asserts that the Filipino people deserve more lasting aids from the government.

Another striking indication of this administration’s incompetence in serving the interest of the Filipino people is its inability to indict ex-President Gloria Arroyo who has committed numerous crimes against her constituents during her term, most glaring of which are the cases of corruption and the Hello Garci scandal. Already a year in his office, Aquino is yet to make Arroyo face the judgment of the people who were so enraged during Arroyo’s term. This scenario seems to imply that Aquino is not directly against its anti-people predecessor. In other words, that this present administration is no different from previous regime.

Lastly, Aquino’s term sees no punctuation to the Philippine’s subservience to US control. The Aquino regime has bragged about receiving $434M from the US, the highest in the long history of US-RP “partnership.” Also, the regime is keen at reviewing, instead of scrapping outright the Visiting Forces Agreement with the USA which only legitimizes the massive entry of US armed forces in the country. At present, the Spratly’s dispute with China where the US has expressed its support on the Philippines and which the Philippines has eagerly embraced is the latest exemplification of the unequal relation between the two countries. This intervention from USA is motivated by its interest in the oil resources in Spratlys which they can have access if the Philippines wins the dispute over China. In the worsening economic condition of the country under Aquino’s regime, it is an imperative that we continue raising our demands to the administration. What the Filipino people need are quality and affordable basic services, decent jobs and just wages and not a longer period of education, monthly 500-peso allowances or US military bases setting up in the country. While Pnoy declares that he will be an “education president” during his first SONA, what the people received is a huge education budget cut and a longer education that does not seem to answer the problem and hence, belie his statement. While Pnoy exclaims about the Filipino people being his “boss” during his first SONA, the people feel and see otherwise. A year after his election, Pnoy is not heeding his boss’s call for a better livelihood.

With such distress, marking Pnoy’s first year in office is not about celebrating his achievements for the country and its people, there being none. Marking his first year in office is stressing the need for the people to keep on pressuring the administration to abide by our demands and protesting against its anti-people policies and decisions. First year anniversaries are not always cheerful and happy, often they are more significant when they call for a people’s protest.

CEGP Baguio-Benguet

For Reference:

Ivan Emil Labayne, CEGP Media Officer 09268105915

*CEGP Cordillera proudly announces Allalim: Cordillera-wide Training and Workshop for Young Writers which will be held on July 16-17 2011 at Teacher’s Camp, Baguio City. The Guild will provide lectures and workshops on basic, intermediate and advanced journalism and writing skills. And as part of the Guild’s dedication to educating student journalists regarding the plight of the country, various socio-political discussions will also be featured.


A call for quality and affordable education for every Filipino

With the expected surge in the transference of students from private schools and universities to state universities and colleges (SUCs), the College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) have nothing but the increasing cost of education to point out as the primary cause.

This trend is not surprising as the increasing cost of education is happening simultaneously with an economic crisis manifested by regular increases in oil prices and other commodities and services, lack of employment and the consequent disparity between the workers’ wage and the cost of living. However, this case becomes more problematic as the preparation of SUCs for this exodus is doubtable. The budget cut in education for this year, particularly the 1.69 billion cut in the funds of SUCs nationwide, only increases the doubt on whether the quality of education in SUCs will still serve well the interests of the students. The budget cut will compel school administrators to find other means by which they can continue their operation. The easiest resort they can think of is also increasing the school fees, making them almost alike private institutions.

In the end, the students are caught in a quandary, definitely a no-win situation. Forced to do with SUCs, students are greeted with fees that are not far from the fees in private schools and facilities that are obviously sub-par with those of private schools. Here, we are pointing out the commercialized orientation of education in the country which leads to the blurred distinction between SUCs and private schools. SUCs that are supposed to offer quality education at a cheap cost are no longer living up to these expectations. Ultimately, the students find themselves at the losing end, as education seems to them no longer a right for everyone but a privilege for those who can pay.


For reference:

Ivan Emil Labayne, 09268105915

Another human rights violation, another reminder to continue our struggle for Human Rights

Press statement

Three days after their detention, the seven activists who staged a protest against the Aquino administration in the 150th birthday anniversary of Jose Rizal was finally released, after posing a P12,000 bail, last June 22. The seven activists, five of which were students from UP Los Baños and two from Anakpawis partylist, were nabbed by policemen last Sunday in the commemoration program of the national hero’s birth. The “Calamba 7” expressed their discontent over Aquino, who was present in the event, and his current policies on education which they described as being “anti-people.” In addition, they also lament the issue of land reform which is very prominent in the Southern Tagalog region. CEGP-Cordillera is denouncing the detention of the Calamba 7.

We see no justification in the police’s arrest of the seven activists who were merely staging a protest when they were arrested. On the contrary, we are with the Calamba 7 and believe that they have all the justifications in doing their protest action. First, as citizens of the country, they have the right to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly. Second, the validity of their grievances only further justifies the protest action and renders their arrest as a malicious action. Ultimately, The Guild sees this case as another blatant violation of human rights in the country. The release of the Calamba 7 does not end the struggle for human rights in this country. The 12,000 bail was even illegitimate because no clear and justified case was charged on the arrestees.

We reecho the irony expressed by other youth organizations regarding this event. Even in the birth anniversary of the national hero who hailed the youth as the hope of the nation, violations and suppression of their right to voice out their concerns to the present administration continue. This only speaks of the true nature of Aquino’s regime. It is a regime that does not recognize the issues and welfare of the youth sector that even goes as far as limiting their participation in national concerns. With this, we are calling on Benigno Aquino to be responsible for this illegal detention and more importantly, start doing something significant to protect the human rights of its citizens.




CEGP’s reply to CHED

The College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines would like to rebut some of the statements made by CHED Regional Director Ramon Santiago in the news article that appeared in the June 04-05 issue of Sunstar Baguio.

In the article entitled “Student exodus continues,” Santiago said that the main reason behind the exodus of students from private to public schools is the improving quality of facilities and programs in the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs). CEGP firmly denies the validity of this statement. It stands by its earlier statements that the main reason behind this exodus is the increasing cost of tuition and miscellaneous fees in private schools and NOT the improving quality of education provided by SUCs. It is even ironic that although SUCs strive to sustain the current quality of education they are providing among its students, they are resorting to increasing fees instead of relying mainly on state subsidy. With their demands for higher budget perennially denied by the government, SUCs are compelled to ask their students to pay more just to keep the schools operating.

However, the annual TOFIs do not guarantee a quality education. In SUCs, complaints about sub-par facilities, faculty instruction and shortage of class offerings during enrollments which still exist. Recently, in the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College, students and teachers protested against old issues regarding teachers’ pay and school policies which the past and present administrations are yet to resolve. For instance, the Board of Trustees was said to have approved in 2003 an increase from 75 to 180 pesos per hour in the honorarium of part-time instructors but this is not yet implemented today. Moreover, the students question the lack of tangible results for the continual increase of library fees which they have been paying for all throughout the years. These only prove that the quality of education being provided in SUCs, despite the torrent of fees increase happening in them, is still far from how education should be provided in this country.  Ultimately, many are forced to transfer from private schools to SUCs because of the relatively cheaper cost of education and not the improving facilities and program in the latter.


Press Release June 2, 2011 0

Senator Edgardo J. Angara proposed short- and long-term fixes to excessive school fees in higher education, which is believed to be a major factor in increasing dropout rates. The Senate Committee on Education, Culture and Arts, which Angara chairs, held a public hearing today prompted by Senate Resolution No. 488, which seeks an inquiry into the imposition of redundant and excessive miscellaneous fees. According to the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), only 324 out of the 1,611 privately run higher education institutions (HEI’s) in the country were allowed to raise their tuition this year by an average of 14.37 percent. The increase ranges from P72.77 per unit among HEI’s in Metro Manila to P50.44 per unit among those in Central Luzon. State universities and colleges are prohibited from increasing their fees while 80 percent of 63 deregulated local universities and colleges increased fees by 5 percent to 10 percent. CHEd does not regulate the increase in miscellaneous fees among HEI’s. “Some schools charge imaginative and redundant charges, which sometimes end up costing more than the actual tuition of the students,” Angara warned. As a short-term remedy, Angara repeatedly urged CHEd to consult with stakeholders present at the hearing, such as members of the private education sector and student organizations, regarding the proper regulation of miscellaneous fees. “Short of putting a cap on tuition or other fees, we must draw up a uniform classification of miscellaneous fees that should be allowed,” said Angara said. “CHEd has the authority to impose sanctions on institutions that do not comply with their rules and regulations. Hence, it must be proactive in solving these problems,” he added. Over the long term, he said that a legislative measure addressing miscellaneous fees in HEI’s should be crafted. “Disparity between the cost of private and public education is growing greater. Private colleges now cost five to ten times more than our state colleges and universities. We must make higher education more accessible – not less attainable – for Filipino students,” said Angara. ________________________________________ To write is already to choose. College Editors Guild of the Philippines Baguio-Benguet Chapter / Cordillera Coordinating Body #30 Baranggay Upper P.Burgos, Baguio City, Philippines 2600 Telefax: (074) 446 2106

%d bloggers like this: