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Amidst tuition fee proposals and the nearing graduation season: Youth groups to defend right to education “Katipunan style”

Media Advisory:

During the Spanish occupation of the country more than a century ago, a momentous scene occurred in Balintawak which would later become an oft-cited example of the Filipinos’ nationalist spirit in the face of oppression – the Cry of Balintawak.


Today, even as the Spaniards are long ousted in the country, the Filipino people continue to be haunted by various kinds of oppression. Among the youth, one of the areas where their rights are grossly violated is in education. As we are now in the first quarter of the year, it is time to be vigilant of the proposed tuition fee increases within higher private educational institutions. The studentry must ensure that these tuition increase proposals undergo proper consultations following the guidelines issued by CHED. Our recent experiences have led to documentation of various means to bypass the proper consultation process such as the lack of information dissemination to the students and the school administration’s inability to show the school’s fiscal report. On the basic levels of education, as March approaches, we must guard against graduation fees which are already forbidden by the Department of Education. The KABATAAN Partylist already created a hotline where complaints against imposition of graduation fees can be made. Lastly, the controversial K Plus 12 program continues to be implemented and Grade 7 will begin this June. However, the old problems of insufficient facilities, books, classrooms and teachers persist and cast immense doubt on the effectiveness of the program. The government is clearly not heeding its constituents.

Tomorrow, February 21, the youth of Baguio City shall voice out their indignation regarding the current plight of the education system. Led by Anakbayan Cordillera, different youth groups will reenact the Cry of Balintawak with a contemporary twist –instead of acting against a colonial power, the youth will denounce the existing policies and mispriorities in education. Join us at 12 noon at the Main Gate of Saint Louis University and at 12:30 at K.M.O as we protect our right to education.

Media Coverage is likewise requested.


For Reference:

Tracy Anne Dumalo, Anakbayan Cordillera



No, statistics and rhetorics are not edible


Again, we are ruled out by economics and numerals and figures composing a collection of jargon seemingly hard to question.

Last October 01, the toll fee hikes begun to be implemented on major expressways going to and within Metro Manila. No one needs to hear again the mighty justifications for the increase, touted economists and politicians have spoken enough. We have to think about the aftermath now. The Toll Regulatory Board, the approving body of this toll hike, said that the increase will generate an additional annual income of 2 billion. Ideally, and this is where the policy-makers and approving bodies are always coming from, the added revenue will be for the betterment of the services in the toll ways, something that will, as they claim, benefit the ordinary people, commuters and drivers alike.

With the seeming straightforwardness and matter-of-factly manner of expressing this statement, the increase seems well-justified. But we should not refuse from wondering further. We are talking about public expressways here, not some elitist, private highway owned by specific group of people. The expressways where the toll hikes took effect are major ones, not the type where only few vehicles pass by. These are public highways. These are supposed to be subsidized by the government since they are part of the basic transportation services which the state must provide for its people.

So here we go again, the issue of state subsidy on basic social services resurfacing, scratching our heads, reminding us of itself. While the government is busily negotiating with various corporations for public-private partnerships, the people are left in a situation where they have to adapt to raising prices caused by the privatization of services that were once given to them at no big price. While the government shirks form its responsibility of providing basic services to its people and private corporations exploiting the situation for their own good, the people are left in shambles. This is an old tale, an old tale that constantly reinvents itself that now we can also see it in public expressways.

Courting the middle-class anger

An interesting remark amidst the string of events recently is Senator Ralph Recto’s warning about the possible explosion of a middle-class revolt, or something like that. On initial contemplation, Recto’s observation sounds very valid. Middle-class people are the primary users of the transportation system where the expressways are included. Upper middle-class people ply the expressways with their private cars while the lower middle-class avails of the public transport that is mainly situated within the metro.

Logically, the increase in toll fees will be burdensome to the vehicles that traverse along these roads. For public utility vehicles such as jeepneys and buses, the toll fee hike will surely take a brunt out of their scant daily earnings. This can only agitate them and demand fare hikes later on, something that the thousands of commuters have to shoulder, and most definitely aversely and not without clamors, shall these take effect. And what about provincially operating transport groups and other vehicles which also pass along the toll hike-affected expressways? What about provincial buses and fruits and vegetable dealers? It would not be surprising to see rising prices of fruits, vegetables and other perishable goods and provincial bus fares in the near future.

Prices will rise, that is an easy expectation. The vital issue now is whether the majority of the people, even the relatively well-off middle-class included, can still do with the economic pressure these hikes put on them. Will their old salary rates still suffice for them to have a decent living? Or they will sense the acuteness of the crises more strongly and who knows, be more active and participative in actions that condemn the government’s policies leading to the hikes and their eventual burden? There is a very high likelihood for the second possibility and if that happens, I can sense a burgeoning of the people’s collection action against the grave misconduct and selfish expediency of the government.

More importantly, what about the greater part of the populations leaving below poverty line? What will they do when all imaginable means to make ends meet and forge daily survival have seemed to be already exhausted? Perhaps we can silently nod to the forthcoming trend of more kidneys sold, more sexual innocence brought into flames, more cases of petty crimes and even more abstracted pinning of hopes on and pining for working abroad, by all means possible legal or not – all for the dream of greener pastures, all for the sake of even the barest survival.

Ultimately, let us not invoke jargon-filled economics and statistics here. Let us not turn to facts and figures and elitist-obscurantist discourses here, their accuracy and proximity to reality and what is valuable to majority is highly doubtable nonetheless. This is privatization yet again. This is the state coolly, mindlessly abandoning its people yet again. This is another practically evil scheme that bestows no bane, all peril and onus to the majority of the people – tougher daily existence, less food on the table, more temptation to resort to inhumane practices just to get through the day.  Let us do away with facts and figures, once and for all. And rhetorical justifications, too. The people cannot eat them.

Media advisory regarding Budget Cut Campaign

September 12, 2011

Media Advisory:

It is again the time for budget deliberations and confrontations as the Aquino administration released its budget proposal a day after Aquino’s second State of the Nation Address last July 25 and its “anti-people” orientation is again revealed by the numbers.

We speak again of the old dilemma: the bulk of the budget going to debt servicing and military spending and the budget for social services are noticeably lower and arguably insufficient for what the people need.

P357 billion is allocated for interest payments this year, making up 70% of the whole national budget. The military budget increased from 104.7 billion to 107.9 billion this year. Also, 39.5 billion is allocated for Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) – the notorious dole-out answer of the government on poverty. CCT funds were only 10.9 billion last 2010 and 29.2 billion this year.

In stark contrast, the budget for social services is on the decline. Despite a seeming increase in the Education budget from more than 200 billion to 238.8 billion this year, the 30 billion increase will mainly go for Personal Services — not as an exercise of political will, but an automatic increase mandated by the law. This budget proposal for education is way below the 6% recommendation of the United Nations and is grossly insufficient to address the shortages in books, chairs, rooms and teachers.

Moreover, the Universal Kindergarten program needs P18 billion to hire teachers for the 2.3 million 5-year old kids but the government allotted only 1.9 billion for this. The Aquino government targets to build only 45,231 classrooms out of the 152,000 shortage. Only 13,000 new teachers will be hired despite the need for 103,000.

The Aquino government also decided to slash the budget of hospitals and social services. The P44.4 billion allocated for health services is far from the P90 billion actually needed for the people’s health needs.

In essence, while the government allocates increasing budget for debt payment and military, it is unwilling to spend for education and health. This only shows the kind of orientation the government wants the national budget to take – a budget that is anti-people because of systematically neglecting social services which they should provide for its citizens.

To protest about this dire situation and to call on the government to increase the budget for basic social services like education, health and housing, different organizations from different sectors like KABATAAN Partylist and ACT Teacher’s Partylistwill hold a press conference on Friday, September 16, at UP Baguio Galeriya Kordilyera. After the press conference, a symbolic t-shirt cutting activity will be done to signify Pnoy’s budget cut on social services and call on to stop these cuts.

Then on September 26, join us as we conduct a trooping among the offices of our Congressmen all over the region. This aims to present the initial signatures gathered under the “A Hundred Thousand Signature Campaign against Budget Cuts” launched last August 25 and will continue until December 01 all over the Cordillera region. Also, we aim to earn the support of the Congressmen in lobbying for a higher subsidy for basic socials services.

 We invite all members of the media to cover this event. Thank you!


For Reference:

Ivan Emil Labayne, 09268105915

CEG Baguio-Benguet

Lawmakers, groups protest in Congress for higher social services budget


*news release from KABATAAN Partylist, released August 25, 2011

On the scheduled budget hearing of the Office of the President and the Department of Education today, lawmakers and members of sectoral groups protested in Congress calling for a higher budget allocation for social services like education and health.

While mass leaders were delivering solidarity speeches, the police stationed at the Congress main gate interrupted the program by firing water canon at the 300 protesters. Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raymond “Mong” Palatino and ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio, who during the early part of the protest joined the crowd before attending the DepEd budget hearing, immediately rushed to the scene.

According to Kabataan Rep. Raymond “Mong” Palatino, “As the people grow strong calling for sufficient government spending for social services, the repressive acts of those in power will expectedly intensify. But the people, united in their hopes and principles, will not back down. Aquino government has made detrimental budget cuts to social services like education and health, while it increased the budget for Public-private partnerships, Conditional Cash Transfer, intelligence funds, and other questionable budget items. This kind of budget framework will be definitely met with bigger protests.”

Palatino cited that in the proposed 2012 budget for State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), there is a P250.9 million cut to the Maintenance and Other Operating Expensed (MOOE) of 45 SUCs; P403.3 million cut to Personal Services of 58 SUCs; and zero allocation for Capital Outlay of all SUCs.

He also said that for the health sector, the MOOE of twelve major NCR-based hospitals like the Philippine General Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, and National Kidney Institute was slashed by P70.8 million. The MOOE of hospitals outside of NCR was slashed by P363.7M

On the other hand, the budget for the controversial Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) increased by 86% or P18.3 billion; the budget for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) increased by P7.1 billion.

“Our call is for the re-channeling of funds from budget items that do not address the fundamental problems of our social services sector. The Aquino government should not focus on CCTs or PPPs and should instead fortify our social services. Doing that will benefit more Filipinos,” Palatino said.

Palatino also clarified that the boasted 15.2% or P31.5 billion increase in the budget of the Department of Education is deceiving for the increase will not sufficiently address the shortages of classrooms, teachers, chairs, and textbooks.

Palatino cited that out of the total 152,569 classrooms needed, the Aquino government only targeted 41,381 for 2012; 13,000 new teachers out of the 103,599 shortage; 2.47 million chairs out of the 13.2 million shortage; 45.5 million textbooks out of the 95.6 million shortage.

“Again, it is worth repeating, that the touted increase is not substantial to properly address the urgent needs of the basic education sector,” Palatino said.

The 2012 proposed budget for both SUCs and DepEd only translates to 3% of country’s GDP, far from the the 6% recommendation of UNESCO. The 2012 health budget, on the other hand, is a far cry from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation of 5% GDP which translates to P440 billion instead of P42.7B proposed budget for 2012.

Palatino said that today’s protest marks the start of the people strikes for higher social services budget which will be staged from September 15-26, 2011. ###


Campus journalists slam proposed 2012 budget as ‘anti-student’ ‘Budget fits in flawed Philippine Development Plan’

News Release from CEGP National Office

The trend of state neglect continues in the second year of President Benigno Aquino III’s term, as the proposed 2012 budget for education remains “grossly insufficient” and several state universities and state colleges (SUCs) again suffered budget cuts, said campus journalists.


The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had recently submitted the proposed 2012 budget, in which there was a P146.57 million net cut in the allocation for SUCs. Also, not a single centavo was allotted for the capital outlay (CO), or the budget for infrastructure construction, of SUCs.


“Last year, the SUCs went on strike against the budget cut. Aquino did not seem to learn anything from the experience. His administration has again played deaf to the clamor for greater state subsidy,” said Trina Federis, national president of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), the oldest and widest alliance of student publications in Asia-Pacific region.


There was a “massive discrepancy” between the budget proposed by the SUCs and the amount approved by the DBM, said Pauline Gidget Estella, CEGP national deputy secretary general.


“In the case of many SUCs, the approved budget is always 30 to 40 percent of the proposed,” Estella explained, adding that the budget for education is only three percent of the GDP, only half of the prescribed six percent of the United Nations.


Flawed development plan

While SUCs were left scrimping with the meager state subsidy, the budget for debt servicing and military expenses still take up a lion’s share in the budget pie with P356.1 billion and P107.9 billion, respectively, said Cristopher Pasion, CEGP national secretary general.


“It has long been established that our foreign debt is onerous because it was not used for the benefit of the Filipino people. Clearly, it should be cancelled out, but the government still chooses to allot a huge portion of the budget for debt servicing,” said Pasion.


The budget for the conditional cash transfer program increased from P21 billion to P39.5 billion, but these “dole outs will not really address the problem of poverty and will only act as a temporary relief for the underprivileged majority,” said Pasion.


The 2012 budget fits in Aquino’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2011-2016, said Federis.


“The PDP will operate in a manner similar to Gloria Arroyo’s policies of privatization, which were patterned after the tenets of free market economics. Aquino will only repeat the policies of globalization that have further worsened the state of social services in the country and allowed unbridled exploitation of our natural resources and manpower,” said Federis.



Why dissent is necessary on July 19

This July 19, students and youth groups all over the country will stage a nationally-coordinated action (NCA) to show its protest against the Aquino administration which has neglected its interest and welfare after a year in office. The College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), the oldest and broadest alliance of college publication nationwide, being an organization that advances the interest of students and youth, supports this nationally-coordinated action.

Every student and members of youth organizations all over the country are expected to participate in this action that shall assert the true State of the Youth in the present. One of its main agenda is the exposure and condemnation of the Aquino’s administration overt deprivation of the right to education to its citizens. The primary manifestation of this is the huge budget cuts that the education sector, particularly State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), have received last year. 1.69 billion has been slashed from the budget of SUCs, public tertiary institutions whose funding mainly relies and should rely on the state. In the region, the funds of UP Baguio as part of the University of the Philippines System has been slashed by P1.39 billion or by 20.11% while the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenditures (MOOE) for Benguet State University has been slashed by 20.95%.


CEGP Baguio-Benguet maintains that this is part of the administration’s larger scheme of abandoning SUCs and privatizing the basic service of education. It promotes an educational system that does not promote the national interest and is not accessible to its entire people. This serves as the basis for the Guild to support the nationally coordinated action happening on July 19. It encourages all the youth nationwide to join in this mobilization and expose the situation of the youth which is in contrast to what Aquino has promised for them and has been doing since his election into office.

With this, let us all wear black on Tuesday, July 19 and join in the program and cultural jamming at People’s Park, Malcolm Square from 3pm onwards. Altogether, let us register our demands and express our dissent to Aquino’s administration. Let us show that the youth deserves to be heard in the political process and that we are sick of the way Aquino has neglected our interest and welfare.


Wear black and join in the nationally-coordinated action on July 19!

Stop all budget cuts!

Fight for Higher State Subsidy!

Call for a nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented education!



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

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