Uncategorized – vencercrisostomo http://www.vencercrisostomo.com views, news and updates Thu, 24 Apr 2014 08:17:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.9 Econoynoying: Malacanang math on wage hike erroneous http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/econoynoying-malacanang-math-on-wage-hike-erroneous/ Wed, 28 Mar 2012 14:36:43 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=269


econoynoyingIt’s either a case of poor math or malicious data deception. Or both.

In an attempt to undermine calls to increase wages amidst rising commodity prices, the President, through Malacanang spokespersons,presented data indicating that a P125 across the board increase in daily wages will cost the economy an astonishing P1,605,500,000 trillion (maybe they meant P1.6 trillion instead of billion trillion?), which, with an economy of according to them about P8.5 trillion to P9 trillion, “will not be practicable.”

Valte backed up her claim with some math wizardry:

P125 x 26 days x 13 months = P42,250

P42,250 x 38 million (labor workforce) = P1.6 trillion



Makes sense?

We can only imagine how proud Abigail Valte and her team of twitterers and googlers are of themselves for coming up with such a stunning number. If true, this would have delivered a blow to the arguments of those for wage increase, and more importantly, would have pleased their boss immensely.

There is a slight problem though — their data is wrong. Malacanang, it seems, have been too busy with propaganda that they have forgotten simple logic ang math. That, or they intentionally fed media with false data hoping that no one will notice.

Unfortunately for them, the proponents of wage hike aren’t so fond of noynoying like they are.

In his column, Dr. Giovanni Tapang of Agham, breaks it down for the math magicians in the Palace.

For one, it should be pointed out that P1.6 billion trillion (or sextillion) doesn’t make sense.

But ok, let’s assume they actually meant P1.6 trillion, it still won’t figure. They apparently got the 38 million from the January 2012 Labor Force Survey which is the number of the entire labor force. They got too excited and forgot to check that only 41% of this or 15.56 million are from private establishments and are thus covered by the P125 wage hike proposal.

If we try Valte’s formula using this figure, we’ll get only P0.657 trillion. Not as scary, huh?

But let’s take it a bit further.

Malacanang is trying (desperately) to prove that the economy and the business sector won’t afford a significant wage hike. But research group Ibon Foundation points out that business actually has more than enough profits to support a wage hike. They said that the proposed P125 increase will still leave corporations with P1.435 trillion in profits and will cut profits by a mere 12-percent.

Moreover, it has been indeed “more fun” for the country’s top 1,000 corporations, which combined annual net income increased from P116.4 billion in 2001 to P804.1 billion in 2010, or a cumulative P4.593 trillion over the decade 2001-2010.

This is in stark contrast to the situation of the nation’s workers whose real value of wages actually fell by P24 or 11% from 2001-2011, considering inflation.

Ibon and other groups have repeatedly pointed out that the alarmist scenarios of runaway inflation and massive job losses are baseless. In fact, a significant wage hike may actually give the economy a boost as the transfer of money from rich to poor households will increase aggregate demand. Ibon notes that high-income households have the propensity to save while low-income households tend to consume, which will stimulate the economy.

What was that again you said about critics Mr. President?

How do you show the truth to people who do not want to see? How do you make people listen to you if they do not want to listen?

Exactly our thoughts. None is as blind as he who refuses to see, who manipulates data, or is noynoying. Or in this case, Econoynoying.

It all adds up. The President’s recycled arguments against wage increase shows clearly his bias for big foreign businesses and the elite few which has appointed him as spokesperson and implementor of policies which enable them to rake high profits at the expense of workers.

In this case, the mathematics can easily be corrected but Aquino’s corrupt, pro-foreign, anti-people formula will take more than recomputations to repair.

Written for BlogWatch

How the Palace can stop Noynoying http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/how-the-palace-can-stop-noynoying/ Sat, 24 Mar 2012 14:39:14 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=271


noynoying_in_the_rice_fieldsDespite the “working photos” the Palace have been feeding the media during the past few days and their PR blitz to try to respond to“noynoying,” the term has continued to make viral rounds in social networking sites and has now recently been brought to international attention via Wikipedia and the Wall Street Journal.

The more pikon the President gets about it and the more his PR team tries to deny and “disprove” noynoying, the more the term sticks. If their efforts were successful in one thing though, it is to have added a meaning to noynoying — “busy-busyhan” or acting as if doing something important.

There is no one Aquino can blame for the growing public perception that he is doing nothing for the people but himself. There is no denying that oil and commodity prices have been spiking and that no significant pro-people reform measure to address rising poverty and hunger has been presented, much less implemented by the current administration.

But in fairness to the president, he has not been entirely lazy and inept. He has in fact been masipag when it comes to protecting his family’s stake in Hacienda Luisita, defending his kaklase, kamag-anak, kaibigan andkabarilan, promoting the interests of the elite few and his foreign bosses.

Instead of photo releases and denials, here are some things the President can do immediately to stop noynoying:

  • Stop the successive oil price hikes and implement a significant rollback in overpriced fuel prices. Mobilize allies in the House of Representatives to scrap the Oil Deregulation Law and Value Added Tax on fuel.


  • Distribute Hacienda Luisita immediately and unconditionally, withdraw HLI motion for reconsideration and P10 billion “just compensation” and implement genuine land reform across the nation.


  • Implement a significant increase in wages. Call on Congress allies to immediately pass P125 wage hike bill.


  • Education for all: stop tuition hikes and drop-outs this year. Impose a moratorium on fee increases and order the scrapping of dubious and redundant school fees. Increase significantly the budget for state universities, colleges, public education in general and other social services.
  • End impunity and human rights violations, release all political prisoners, immediately prosecute and arrest military and police officers involved in violations of human rights and media killings. Pursue peace negotiations and work for a just and lasting peace, instead of military psy-war and terror.
  • Stop special treatment and political accomodation for Arroyo and other officials involved in corruption. Immediately file plunder and human rights cases against Arroyo. File charges and make accountable his kaklase, kamag-anak and kabarilan involved in anomalies. Pass the FOI bill in congress.
  • Don’t be such a US fanboy and stand up for PH sovereignty against US military intervention and plunder of resources. Say no to 6,000 more US troops and fulfill promise to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement. “Yung Pilipino walang lupa sa sariling bayan tapos pag dayuhan sige at papapayagan pang maghari-harian?”


  • Stop mining and foreign plunder of our natural resources. End violence against anti-mining advocates and provide swift justice for victims.

So far, there are no indications that the Palace will do anything other than PRs and publicity stunts. That means, and unfortunately for us, that noynoying is here to stay.




Its been more than a week since noynoying has been introduced to the public, and it is only getting more popular. The public will continue to embrace its use not only because it is amusing and clever, but more importantly because the President and his government have continued to do nothing to address its roots. Instead of listening and doing something about the nation’s woes, they have resorted to cheap PR spins and more noynoying.




The Palace should be thankful that the public is still laughing about his presidency. If they continue ignoring the people’s concerns, soon enough, there will be nothing left but anger.

As Bayan puts it aptly: The proof of the pudding is in the eating. However, Malacanang appears content with the fine art of doing nothing.


Written for BlogWatch

What you need to know about #Noynoying http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-noynoying/ Mon, 19 Mar 2012 14:41:00 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=273

Here are some basics to sharpen your noynoying knowledge.

What is Noynoying?

According to youth group Anakbayan:

Planking is out, noynoying is in. Just sit or lie on the ground and do nothing.

Guide to Noynoying has also been released:

A guide to #Noynoying 1) Get a group, 2) Find busy public space, 3) Abruptly, everyone sits / lies on the floor and acts lazy and stupid.


Noynoying has also been defined as:

..that idle moment when you are supposed to do something but is not doing anything.

Noynoying has become viral and has become a trending keyword on Twitter and other social media sites. It has a twitter account @noynoying and a facebook page.

Here are some examples of how it is used:

Finals na bukas pero #noynoying muna. via @NormanIsJay


Oh my… I don’t know which is worse: to be called “imeldific” or to be caught “noynoying”!  via @ang_mungo


That’s a good idea. Today, I will go #noynoying! May hostage crisis ba kamo? Kakain lang ako. May bagyo? Pa-party ako! via @MangPandoy


That’s funny, yung “Noynoying” sa amin, verb din na ang ibig sabihin ay “date ng date ng date, pero hindi nagpapakasal.” #VocabHomework via @gangbadoy


Patayin sa noynoying si Barbara, Star Wars: the noynoying menace, Bukas Luluhod ang mga noynoying via#ReplaceMovieTitlesWithNoynoying


#NOYNOYING-nagbibingi-bingihan, nagbubulag-bulagan, nagtatanga-tangahan. via @OgieDiaz


Let me predict what you’re doing now. It’s 315pm and you’re all #NoyNoying at your desk, watching the clock, waiting for 5pm to come. via @djmotwister


Watch this video released by May Tamang Balita:


Palace defines Noynoying


The Palace has contributed to the definition (and actually has defined noynoying very well).

According to Spokesman Lacierda: Noynoying creative but has no effect.

(Spot on Mr. Lacierda! Everyone agrees that noynoying is useless and is no good.)

Spokesman Coloma meanwhile saysNoynoying is annoying.

(Uhm.. yeah. We all hate noynoying. Kills productivity. Super annoying or should we say, annoynoying.)

Noynoy Aquino himself has articulated its definition in his interviewHow do you show the truth to people who do not want to see? How do you make people listen to you if they do not want to listen?

(Exactly, Mr. President. That’s what people think of noynoying too! You hit that sweet noynoying spot right there.)

Photos: Noynoying in action (or inaction)

Protest (in)action:


Noynoying around the world





(Los Angeles, San Francisco, Middle East, New York)


A noynoying signpost has been put-up along daang matuwid



Noynoying baby and decepticons

The Palace have also released an official Noynoying photo which adds “pretending to be working,” “drinking champagne while working,” “as if doing something important but actually watching TV,” “does not have glasses on but pretending to read anyway” to the various noynoying categories:



Noynoying re people’s concerns

Here are top issues to which the Palace has responded with noynoying:

1. Oil price hikes

Various studies indicate that oil prices are grossly overpriced and various sectors have called on the president to stop succesive oil price hikes which has become such a burden to various sectors. Many have pointed out that if Malacanang has the will, it could gather enough signatures to scrap the Oil Deregulation Law and lift the tax on oil, as shown by its blitzkrieg passage of the Corona impeachment complaint.

2. Tuition hikes and education crisis

More than 300 colleges and universities have expressed intention to hike tuition rates this year, according to the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd). Due to Aquino budget cuts during the past years, state universities and colleges (SUCs) are also set to hike tuition and fees.

As it is, 8 out of 10 college students drop-out of college due to poverty and about half of the school-aged population is out of school. Many complaints have been filed regarding unjust tuition rates and absurd redundant fees. Despite promises to provide education for all, gov’t will not be doing anything to regulate tuition rates.

3. Jobs and wages

Workers have been repeatedly asking for wage hikes amidst the rising prices and costs of living. Labor groups say the current wage levels are only 2/5 of what is needed by a family daily. Up to 80% of the population lives under $2 or about P104 a day. Meanwhile, more graduates will be noynoying again this year due to lack of decent jobs in the country.

4. Land reform

Noynoying like a haciendero, the government and the Cojuangcos have continued to block land distribution and have used the Corona impeachment trial to reverse the Supreme Court (SC) decision for the the distribution of Hacienda Luisita. The Cojuangcos want P10 billion in exchange for Luisita as “just compensation.”

5. Migrant concerns

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos and families Migrante International enumerated at least five instancesthat prove how Pres. Benigno Aquino III has been “Noynoying big time” on issues beleaguering OFWs:  1) Noynoying on OFWs on death row, 2) Diplomatic boo-boos, 3) Slow repatriation efforts in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) crisis, 4) Closure of PH embassies for austerity measures, 5) Still no jobs at home and no genuine reintegration program.

6. Arroyo prosecution and KKK

It took more than 500 days for Aquino to prosecute Arroyo and to file a case against her. If not for the growing public outrage brought about by her almost-escape, the government would not have filed a case against the former president it has vowed to make accountable. It has been noted that high crimes of plunder and human rights violations were not filed against Arroyo. Malacanang has also approved special hospital arrest for Arroyo despite doctors statements that she is no longer ill.

Meanwhile, questions regarding scandals and corruption under Aquino’s own government have been avoided and cases overlooked.

7. Human rights

Human rights groups have slammed the Aquino government for continuing human rights violations and media killings under his government. Groups note that there has not been significant moves to end the culutre of impunity and has branded the Aquino government’s “Oplan Bayanihan” as no different from Arroyo’s and Palaparan’s “Oplan Bantay Laya.”

Karapatan has reported 67 cases of extrajudicial killing under Aquino and thousands of other cases of human rights violations

8. Disasters

Aquino has also been criticized for inaction regarding disaster preparedness and management. Last year, it was reported that he was partying as Sendong hit Northern Mindanao. Groups also questioned why the Palace has vetoed a disaster management fund in its approved budget, and why there is no clear disaster management plan in place.


Written for BlogWatch

March 15 is ‘Day of Rage’ vs oil price hikes http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/march-15-is-%e2%80%98day-of-rage%e2%80%99-vs-oil-price-hikes/ Sat, 10 Mar 2012 15:09:55 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=281

Various organizations are calling for campus and workplace walk-outs, mass actions and assemblies nationwide against oil price hikes on Thursday, March 15. In a unity statement, about a hundred groups under “Kilos na Kontra Kartel at Overpricing sa Langis” urged the youth and people to wage big nationwide protests.

“Kami ay lubusang nababahala sa sunod-sunod na mga pagtataas ng presyo ng langis. Hindi na matitiis ng
taumbayan ang grabeng pahirap sa mamamayan ng overpricing at paniniba ng mga kartel sa presyo ng langis,”
said the unity statement.

The groups assailed the Aquino government for its failure to stop oil price hikes and for “acting like a spokesperson and a protector of the oil cartel.”

“Hindi katanggap-tanggap ang pagbubulag-bulagan ng gubyernong Aquino sa pahirap na idinudulot na pahirap
ng oil price hikes sa taumbayan. Nakakabahala na nagiging protektor at tagapagsalita pa ito ng malalaking
kumpanya ng langis sa pagsasamantala sa bayan,” the groups said.

They pointed to “greed” of the oil cartel as reason behind the successive oil price hikes. They said the monopoly control that big oil companies have enable them to manipulate supply and overprice pump prices.

“Dahil monopolyado ang industriya, minamanipula nila ang suplay at presyo sa daigdig at sinisirit pataas ang presyo ng langis para tumubo. Itinutulak ding pataas ng ispekulasyon ng mga kumpanya ng langis at malalaking bangko ang presyo para kumamal pa ng sobrang tubo. Pinapatungan nila ng sobra-sobra ang lokal na presyo ng produktong petrolyo,” they said.

They demanded that the government immediately act to stop the oil price hikes, scrap the value added tax on oil, scrap the oil deregulation law, and push towards nationalization of the oil industry.

Among the signatories of the statement are youth groups Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, National Union of Students of the Philippines, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, Student Christian Movement and Kabataan Partylist.

Student councils and organizations from University of the Philippines (UP) – Diliman, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, UP Manila, Philippine Normal University, Far Eastern University, University of the East, University of Santo Tomas and others.

Transport groups, factory workers and government employees also vowed to participate in the protests against oil price hikes next week. According to labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno, a historic show of rage is needed to stop the price hikes such as what have been done in Nigeria against oil price hikes and in the Middle East against hunger and poverty.

“The ‘Big 3’ continue to rob the working people of hard-earned income while the Aquino government continues to connive with them by doing nothing and acting as their spokesperson,” said Lito Ustarez, KMU vice chairperson.

Oil prices have increased nine times this year by as much as P5 per liter for diesel and P3 gasoline. The price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas have also increased by almost P200 per tank. Under the Aquino administration, oil prices have increased by P14.39 per liter for diesel and P15.03 per liter for gasoline.

In a discussion guide published on their website, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), explained why the
oil price hikes are unjust. According to their research, as much as 62% to 74% of world crude prices account to overpricing. For instance BAYAN estimates that Dubai crude is overpriced by as much as $67.63 to $81.46 per barrel.

On top of this, BAYAN estimates that local pump prices are further overpriced by an accumulated P8.61 per liter for diesel, and P16.83 for unleaded gasoline since 1999. The computation is done by comparing movements of Dubai Crude and foreign exchange rates on one hand, and local pump prices on the other.

According to IBON foundation, oil prices increase 20-22% faster in the Philippines compared to rise in world crude prices. BAYAN also cited former National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) director Ralph Recto’s statement stating that oil prices are overpriced by P8 per liter in 2009.

“Ang ganap at pangmatagalang solusyon sa pagtaas ng presyo ng langis ay ang lubusang pagsasabansa sa
industriya ng langis at buong sektor ng enerhiya sa Pilipinas,” BAYAN said, asserting that the root of the problem lies in the monopoly foreign control of the oil industry in the country.

“Susi ang tuloy-tuloy, sama-sama, at papalaking pagkilos ng mamamayan para gapiin ang dambuhalang dayuhang monopolyo sa langis at itatag ang isang bansang may seguridad sa enerhiya at tunay na maunlad,” BAYAN said.

On March 15, assemblies start at 6-7 in the morning in various points in most cities and regional centers in the country. In Metro Manila, protest areas will be put up in Sta. Mesa, Divisoria, Taft Ave, Cubao, Monumento, Philcoa and many others. The groups leading the day of protest are encouraging everyone to put up their own protest centers and take part in activities near them.

Read: Arnold Padilla’s Facts and Figures re Oil Prices http://arnoldpadilla.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/facts-and-

Watch: Mayday productions educational video on Oil Price Hikes http://www.youtube.com/watch?

More cases of harassment vs students: Military spies hound campus journalists http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/more-cases-of-harassment-vs-students-military-spies-hound-campus-journalists/ Mon, 05 Mar 2012 15:21:24 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=286

Last February 26, 2012, Pauline Gidget Estella, spokesperson and National Deputy Secretary General of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) together with other officers were trailed by suspected military men in Catarman, Samar. Estrella was attending a CEGP convention in Samar held in the University of Eastern Philippines (UEP).

Estrella, was leaving UEP at around 8pm together with Mica Rubenecia, secretary-general of CEGP-Samar; Angelo Karl Doceo, chairperson of CEGP-Samar; and Darrel Tibre a staff of The Pillars, official student publication of UEP. They were approached by a suspicious-looking individual who insisted that they tell them where they were going and when they refused, demanded that he escort them to wherever they were heading.

Estrella and her companions at that moment had plenty of reasons to fear for their safety. Estrella already noticed that men were following her when she arrived a few days before. They were in Samar: an island where the military men are known for record of rights violations, abductions and extrajudicial killings. In 2005, the notorious “butcher” Jovito Palparan was the commanding general of the military’s 8th Infantry Division operating in the island.

Estrella and her companions fleed immediately and went to the house of a friend nearby. Later, they noticed men in scooters surveilling the area they were in and asking neighbors regarding the whereabouts of fellow members they knew. The men were reportedly heard telling each other “to prepare” and look for the students the next day.

“Buti na lang nagkamali ng bahay. Ano kayang nangyari kung tamang bahay ang nakita nila?” she said, terrified by what happened. She and her companions texted updates to the national headquarters of CEGP, PinoyWeekly and National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) based in Manila. The next morning, Estrella was escorted by the NUJP-Samar to the airport to board her scheduled flight back to Manila.

Meanwhile in Metro Manila, Ma. Luisa “Issa” Purugganan, Associate Editor of The Warden, student publication of Pamantasang Lungsod ng Muntinlupa and a member publication of CEGP also reported that military spies were also harassing her.

On February 26, at around 1:00am, two men riding a motorcycle, aged between 35 to 40 years old with military-like built stopped on the street near their house. The two men asked the bystanders where Purugganan lives and then left. The same day, around 2:00pm, the two men came back and again asked some bystanders where she lives and if she goes home regularly. The bystanders asked the men why they are asking, they said they were her “friends.”A few days after, Purugganan noticed that a man on motorcycle were consistently roving around their house.

Purunggan is an active organizer of CEGP-National Capital Region and also a member of the Regional Executive Council of Anakbayan-National Capital Region.

These incidents happened a few weeks after three University of the Philippines (UP) students were harassed in Pampanga and a student leader was attacked inside the office of the University Student Council in UP Diliman. A cultural activist-organizer was also attacked a few weeks ago on his way home.

The CEGP and other youth organizations condemned the harassment against its members and said it expects intensifying human rights abuses under President Noynoy Aquino’s “Oplan Bayanihan.”

“The recent attacks on campus journalists show that the Aquino administration is insincere in ending the culture of impunity. His administration tolerates harassment and killings of journalists and cause-oriented groups,” said CEGP in a statement.

CEGP-NCR promised to continue its activism and said that they will not be cowed by “repression” and “state fascism.”

“We have battled the worst in our 80 years of existence, CEGP has survived 13 presidents, Martial Law, Oplan Bayanihan 1 and 2 and a long list of multi-faceted forms of harassment and repression. We will not bow down,” they said.

They called on the people to be vigilant amidst the “psy-ops” being done by the military and warned of heightened military terror as American “anti-terror” troops set military exercises and trainings in the country in the next few months.

Written for Blogwatch

Protests vs tuition, oil price hikes set this month http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/protests-vs-tuition-oil-price-hikes-set-this-month/ Thu, 01 Mar 2012 15:22:00 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=288

As tuition, oil and commodity prices continue to rise, youth groups led by Anakbayan, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), League of Filipino Students (LFS) and other groups are calling for protest activities and marches starting tomorrow against price hikes and government inability to stop the abuse and overpicing of foreign businesses and oil cartels.

The youth groups will lead mass-ups and protest activities nationwide to express “disgust over government inaction  amidst rising costs of education and unabated oil price increases.”

In a press conference yesterday, the Commission of Higher Education (CHED), announced that more than 300 schools are set to increase their tuition rates this coming school year.

Student and youth groups are dismayed over CHEd’s “inutility and insensitivity to the plight of the youth and students.” They are are worried that drop-outs will again be on the rise this year due to the Aquino government’s refusal to fulfill its mandate to regulate fee increases. Students are also protesting the cuts in education and state universities and colleges (SUC) budget, which pushes tuition and fee rates in SUCs up.

Stop tuition, oil price hikes

The groups are calling on the Aquino government to implement a stop on all tuition fee hikes this year, reverse the trend of commercialization and privatization of education, and increase subsidy for state colleges and universities.

They are also calling on government to act on oil price hikes and stop the overpricing being done by the big oil companies. Many sectors point out that the Aquino government is clearly in cahoots with big business and foreign corporations in abusing and robbing from the Filipino people as proven by its inability to stop the successive increases in oil prices.

The youth groups are set to hold campus activities in the morning and will march to Mendiola in the afternoon.

March 8: Protest on Women’s Day

Meanwhile, women’s group Gabriela is expected to lead tens of thousands in protest of oil overpricing and intensifying US military intervention in the country on March 8, International Women’s Day.

According to Lana Linaban, Secretary General of Gabriela, the continuing refusal of the Aquino government to heed the people’s calls for genuine change shows that the people is left with no other recourse but to intensify street protests and militant action. Gabriela led several picket protests against rising oil prices these past weeks.

Gabriela also recently launched “AltaPresyon” campaign, which aims to gather millions of signatures against price hikes.

Gabriela’s slogan for the March 8 protest is “Monopolyong Kontrol sa Langis, Wakasan! Tumitinding interbensyon ng US, Labanan!”

March 15: People’s protest vs oil price hikes

On March 15, various groups led by Kilusang Mayo Uno and Koalisyon ng Progresibong Manggagawa at Mamamayan, are calling for a “National People’s Protest vs Oil Overpricing.”

According to KMU, the Big 3 oil companies are exploiting price movements in the world to boost their profits.

“The Big 3 oil companies continue to rob us of our hard-earned income and the Aquino government constinues to connive with them by doing nothing and acting as their spokesperson,” said Lito Ustarez, KMU vice chairperson.

KMU revealed that since the Oil Deregulation Law was implemented in 1999,prices of diesel and unleaded gasoline have been overpriced by P9 and P10 per liter, respectively.

“The Big 3 is able to increase prices at will and overpirce their products because they are free to do so (under) the Oil Deregulation Law. The government, meanwhile, is benefitting from the oil price hikes (through its implementation) of the Value Added Tax (VAT),” KMU added.

The various groups are calling on the Aquino government to immediately stop oil price increases, rollback oil prices, scrap the VAT on oil and repeal the Oil Deregulation Law. They are calling on Filipinos to gather in a historic show of rage, such as what was done in Nigeria and in the Middle East, and to further develop the movement for genuine change and people’s welfare.


CHEd chair Licuanan should resign http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/ched-chair-licuanan-should-resign/ Fri, 24 Feb 2012 15:22:49 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=290

Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) chairperson Patricia Licuanan should resign from her post for failure to stop tuition and other fee hikes for the past years and in light of looming tuition hikes set again this year. CHEd under Licuanan has failed to fulfill its duty to regulate school fees and stop annual tuition hikes, causing an ever increasing number of drop-out rates among the youth.

It should be noted that Licuanan, in behalf of the Aquino government promised greater access to education and regulation on fees at the start of their term. After more than a year in office though, nothing has been done. The problems regarding skyrocketing tuition rates have worsened and the number of drop-outs have increased.

Tuition hikes are again expected this year, as the deadline for consultations for tuition hike proposals end on February 28. According to the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), about 400 schools this year are proposing tuition increases ranging from 10 to 15 percent, not including other miscellaneous fees. According to data from CHEd, more than 80% of college students drop out due to rising tuition rates.

Not a few student leaders have filed complaints regarding unjust tuition increases and other fee impositions during the past years but CHEd approved these increase proposals anyway. Due to the increasing number of complaints, Congress held several hearings and agreed that government should address “unjust and absurd fees” which prompted a statement from Malacanang promising the public that CHEd will soon come up with new guidelines.

To the dismay of students, CHEd has not issued new guidelines in time for the consultation period. They presented various drafts, but said they intend to implement new guidelines not this coming school year but in 2013-2014. This is tantamount to tolerating abusive and questionable fee impositions. CHEd executives should be ashamed of themselves.

The government should be more sensitive to the plight of the poor families which, due to increasing tuition rates, are not able to send their children to school. Licuanan shoulde explain personally to the families which will not be able to enroll their children to school this year.

Directly or due to their gross neglect, CHEd has been in cahoots with capitalist-educators in raking record high profits while robbing the youth of their rights.

The financial records of the top 5 highest earning schools reflected net profit of P3.45 billion during the past 6 years, raking P15.43 billion in gross revenues. In 2010 alone, Far Eastern University (FEU) posted P585 million in profits, while University of the East posted about P300 million. FEU also registered an increase in profits in the past 9 months after it increased tuition rates last year.

Some of the schools set to increase tuition this year are University of Santo Tomas, which proposed a 3-6%  increase for most colleges and as much as 19% for freshmen; University of the East will likewise increase tuition by 3-6%; FEU by 4.8%; and De La Salle University by 5%.

ANAKBAYAN, NUSP and other youth and student groups said a moratorium on all tuition and other fee hikes should be imposed by the government this year and a thorough review of all tuition increases during the past years should be done.

The youth and people have had enough of government neglect regarding tuition hikes. Ultimately, government should make sure that every Filipino has access to free and quality education at all levels and should stop further commercialization and privatization of the educational system.

Edukasyong eksklusibo: Tuloy-tuloy na pagtataas ng matrikula sa ilalim ni Aquino http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/edukasyong-eksklusibo-tuloy-tuloy-na-pagtataas-ng-matrikula-sa-ilalim-ni-aquino/ Thu, 23 Feb 2012 15:25:51 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=296

Dagdag pabigat na naman sa mga magulang at pamilya ang pagtataas na naman ng matrikula ngayong taon. Pagkatapos ng nakatakdang mga moro-morong konsultasyon ngayong Pebrero, daan-daang eskwelahan na naman ang inaasahang magtataas ng matrikula at magdadagdag na naman samu’t-saring mga bayarin sa skwela.


Ngayong taon, aabot muli sa nasa 400 na pamantasan ang magtataas ng mga matrikula ng hanggang 10-15% at iba pang mga bayarin. Sa University of Santo Tomas 6% at aabot sa 19% para sa mga freshmen, sa University of the East tinatayang nasa 3-6%, sa Far Eastern University 4.8%, sa De La Salle University nasa 5% ang mga proposal. Katumbas ang mga ito ng aabot sa ilang libong piso na dagdag na gastos.


Kasabay nito, nagbabanta din ng mga dagdag-bayarin sa mga state universities and colleges. Dahil sa mga budget cuts ng gubyernong Aquino nitong nagdaang mga taon, prublemado na ang mga pampublikong pamantasan sa operasyon at ipinapasa sa mga mag-aaral at magulang ang mga gastusin.


Tiyak na madadagdagan na naman ang mga kabataang pagkakaitan ng karapatan sa edukasyon, magdodrop-out o out-of-school. Sobra-sobra ang pagtaas ng matrikula habang padausdos ang kita at kabuhayan ng mamamayan.


Walang tigil na pagtataas


Taon-taon, walang tigil ang pagtaas ng matrikula sa daan-daang pribadong pamantasan sa buong bansa.


Ngayong 2011, umaabot na sa P537/unit ang average na matrikula sa buong bansa, at P1,078.60/unit sa Metro Manila. Higit na doble ito kung ikukumpara sa matrikula noong 2001-2002, mula P257.42 per unit lamang o 108.35% ang itinaas at P439.59 lamang sa NCR o nasa 145.93% na itinaas.


Ibig sabihin, sa 18 units bawat semestre, gagastos na ngayon ng mula P19,307.16 hanggang P38,829.60 sa matrikula pa lamang bawat taon. Hindi pa kasama dito ang iba pang mga bayarin.


Batbat ang mga paaralan miscellaneous and other fees na minsa’y mas mahal pa kundi kasingmahal ng matrikula. Ang mga ito ay kwestyunable dahil ang iba kasama na dapat sa matrikula, doble-doble, sobrang mahal at hindi naman kailangan o napapakinabangan ng mga mag-aaral.


Halimbawa nito ang development fee, registration fee, accreditation fee, internet fee, insurance fee, athletics/sports fee, cultural fee, aicondition fee, email fee, test paper fee, energy fee, medical / dental fee, infrastructure fee at iba pang mga absurd  na mga bayarin.


Sinasabi nilang ang mga bayaring ito at ang pagtaas ng matrikula ay para sa pagpapaganda ng pasilidad at para sa pagpapataas ng kalidad sa edukasyon. Pero ayon mismo sa pag-aaral ng CHED, 5.5% lamang ng mga pamantasan ang may maayos at sapat na pasilidad. Pabulusok din ang kalidad ng mga pamantasan kung pagbabatayan ang mga kulelat na ebalwasyon dito.


Sa pagtaas ng gastusin sa pamantasan, lalo namang nadaragdagan ang ang bilang ng mga mag-aaral na drop-outs at out of school. Sa kasalukuyan, sa bawat 100 na mag-aaral na papasok sa grade 1, 14 lamang ang makakapagtapos ng kolehiyo. Sa mga papasok din sa kolehiyo, ayon mismo sa CHED, higit 80% o nasa 2.1 milyon ay hindi na makakapagtapos.


Lumalaki din ang enrolment sa mga state universities and colleges dulot ng pagtaas ng mga bayarin sa mga pribadong pamantasan. Mula sa 31% lamang noong taong 2000, nasa 36.5% na ito noong 2011. Ngunit sa pababang budget, di rin naman lumalaki ang kakayanan ng SUCs at nagtataas na din ng mga bayarin.


Hindi nakakagulat ang malaking bilang ng hindi nakakapag-aral kung ikokonsidera ang patuloy na pagbulusok ng kabuhayan ng mamamayan. Ayon sa mga pag-aaral, 8 sa 10 sa populasyon ang nabubuhay sa mas mababa sa P100 sa isang araw. Nakapako sa nasa P400 ang sahod ng ordinaryong manggagawa, na hindi kakayaning makapagbayad ng limpak limpak para sa matrikula at iba pang mga bayarin.


Negosyo, hindi serbisyo


Sa kabila ng mga ito, nagrerehistro naman ng papalaking kita ang mga pinakamalalaking private schools sa bansa. Sa loob ng nakaraang anim na taon halimbawa, nagtala ang Top 5 School Earners pa lamang ng P15.43 bilyong revenue at nagkamal ng P3.45 bilyon na malinis na tubo.


Noong naraang taon, kumita ang Far Eastern University (FEU) ng P585 million, ang University of the East (UE) ng P300 million at Centro Escolar University (CEU) ng P275 million – mga paaralang kilalang taon taong nagtataas ng matrikula. Hindi pa nababanggit ang mga “non-stock, non-profit” katulad ng University of Santo Tomas, De Lasalle University, at Ateneo de Manila na taon-taon ding nagtataas ng matrikula at tiyak na kumikita.


Kaya naman ang mga pinakamalalaking negosyante rin ang nagmamay-ari ng mga paaralan. Si Lucio Tan ay may ari ng UE, si Henry Sy sa National University at Asia Pacific College, si Emilio Yap sa CEU, Alfonso Yuchengco sa Mapua Institute of Technology, ang mga Montinola sa FEU at iba pa.


Malinaw na ginagawang gatasan ng tubo ang edukasyon na dapat sana ay serbisyo sa mamamayan. Sa halip na karapatan, higit na nagiging pribilehiyo na lamang ng iilan ang edukasyon.

Kasabwat sa abuso: Higit pang komersyalisasyon bilang tunguhin 

Kasabwat ang Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) at ang gubyernong Aquino sa pang-aabuso na ginagawa ng mga malalaking “kapitalista-edukador.” Sa kabila ng samu’t saring mga reklamo at taon-taon na lamang na pagtaas ng matrikula, pinapanatili ng gubyerno ang palpak na guidelines sa pagtataas ng matrikula at inaapruba ang mga pagtataas.


Ang CHEd memo order no. 13 (CMO 13) na una pang ipinatupad noong 1998 na siya pa ring tanging regulasyon sa pagtataas ng matrikula ay bigo sa pagpigil taon-taon at di makatwirang pagtaas ng matrikula, at sa katunayan ay siya pang nagbibigay-daan dito.


Sa CMO 13, sinasabing rekisito para sa pagtataas ng matrikula ang mga “konsultasyon” sa mga mag-aaral at iba pang mga sektor ng pamantasan sa paghahain ng mga planong pagtataas ng matrikula.


May mga rekisitong itinatakda sa konsultasyon na maaaring magamit para mailantad ang hindi makatwirang pagtataas ng matrikula at mapalakas ang paglaban dito, halimbawa ang rekisito ng 15-day notice bago ang konsultasyon, ang paglalahad ng mga proposal sa pagtataas at paliwanag dito, at paglalabas ng financial statement ng paaralan. Subalit karaniwang hindi naman din ito sinusunod.


Kung tutuusin, wala din namang silbi ang mga konsultasyon para pigilan ang mga pagtataas ng matrikula at mga bayarin. Nagagawa pa rin ng mga administrasyon ng pamantasan na magtaas ng matrikula kahit pa tinututulan ito ng mga mag-aaral sa mga konsultasyon. Rubber stamp lang din o halos awtomatiko na ang mga pag-aapruba ng CHEd sa mga proposal sa pagtataas ng matrikula taon-taon.


Hindi din kasama kahit sa mga moro-morong mga konsultasyon na ito ang mga miscellaneaous fees at ang pagtaas ng matrikula sa mga freshmen.


Sinasaad sa mismong patakaran ng CHED at sa batas na dapat ilaan ang 70% ng tuition increases sa sweldo ng mga guro at kawani, at 20% sa pasilidad. Subalit habang taon-taong nagtataas ng matrikula, di naman tumataas ang sahod ng mga guro, gayundin, may mga dagdag singil pa para sa mga pasilidad.


Malinaw sa kainutilan nito at sa taon-taong pag-apruba ng pagtataas ng matrikula ang pagprotekta ng CHED at gubyerno sa mga administrasyon ng mga pamantasan at pagkakait nito sa karapatan ng mamamayan sa edukasyon. Mismong gubyerno ang nagsasabi sa mga pahayag nito na “kung nais ng edukasyon, maging handang magbayad.” Samakatuwid, ang mensahe: pribilehiyo ng iilan ang edukasyon, lalo na sa kolehiyo, at hindi karapatan.


Taliwas ito sa isinasaad ng mismong Saligang Batas: “the State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all (Article XIV, Section 1).”


Pagsahol ng komersyalisasyon sa ilalim ni Aquino


Wala na ngang makabuluhang aksyon para itigil ang pagtataas ng matrikula at mga bayarin, papasahulin pa ng gubyernong Aquino ang krisis at komersyalisasyon sa mga patakaran nito sa edukasyon.


Bunsod ng malawak na protesta, nangako ito noong nakaraang taon na kokontrolin ang mga miscellaneaous fees. Pero wala pa ring aksyon hanggang ngayon at ang tanging nagawa ng CHED ay mangako na sa susunod na taon ay maglalabas na ito ng bagong guidelines na magpapasok daw ng other fees sa mga walang kwentang konsultasyon.


Samantala, sa plano ng CHED para sa 2011-2016, nakadiin sa rasyunalisasyon at pagpapatidi ng komersyalisasyon. Bahagi nito ang pagnanais umano nitong tanggalin ang “substandard” at “non-performing” schools. Sa kampanyang ito, ang pinupuntirya ay yung mga mababa ang matrikula gaya ng nangyari sa mga kurso sa Philippine Maritime Intitute kamakailan.


Ito ay habang maluwag naman sa paglabag sa proseso ng mga malalaking pamantasan sa direksyon umano ay “flexible” na balangkas ng regulasyon. Dagdag pa dito ang mas matinding pagtutulak para sa accreditation ng mga eskuwelahan at pagbibigay sa mas marami sa deregulated o autonomous status.


Habang nagtataas ng matrikula sa pribado, binabawasan naman ang bilang ng mga SUCs at Local Universities and Colleges. Ang mga matitira, kinakaltasan ng pondo at itinutulak na magkomersyalisa at mag-“ispesyalisa.” Dahil dito, lumiliit ang kapasidad ng mga pampublikong pamantasan na tumanggap ng paparaming mag-aaral at lalo namang lumalakas ang loob ng mga pribadong institusyon na magtaas ng matrikula.


Hayag namang sinasabi rin ng gubyerno na sa programa nito sa K-12, hindi na nais pang patungtungin ng kolehiyo ang mas maraming bilang ng kabataan. Malinaw ang tunguhin kung gayon: pasikipin ng pasikipin ang espasyo para makapag-aral pa ang mamamayan at lalong gawing eksklusibo ang edukasyon at mga pamantasan.


Sama-samang paglaban


Dapat pigilan ng nagkakaisang lakas ng kabataan at mamamayan ang mga pagtaas ng matrikula at mga bayarin ngayong taon at mga susunod pa. Marapat lamang na tumindig ang malawak na hanay ng mga mag-aaral, guro, adminstrador at mga magulang para ipaglaban ang karapatan ng mamamayan sa edukasyon at laban sa pagtaas ng matrikula at komersyalisasyon.


Hindi na maaari pang palampasin ang pagtataksil ng CHED at ng gubyernong Aquino sa mamamayan sa usapin ng matrikula. Dapat labanan ang mga hakbangin ng gubyerno na magpapatindi pa ng pagkakait sa karapatan sa edukasyon. Dapat ipaglaban ang sistemang pang-edukasyong na tunay na para sa mamamayan – makabayan, siyentipiko at pangmasa.


Walang pinakamainam na sandata kundi ang mga sama-samang pagkilos. Dapat ilunsad muli ang mga malalaki at makasaysayang walk-out sa mga pamantasan, mga martsa, pangangalampag, strikes at boycott para labanan ang pagtaas ng matrikula at komersyalisasyon ng edukasyon. Mula sa mga konsultasyon sa mga pamantasan, hanggang sa CHED at sa mga lansangan sa buong bayan, padagundungin natin ang ating pagkakaisa at paglaban.

Justice for Lordei Hina http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/justice-for-lordei-hina/ Mon, 20 Feb 2012 15:23:39 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=292


Last February 1, Lordei Camille Anjuli Hina, a 20 year-old Political Science senior and a student leader in the University of the Philippines (UP) – Diliman, was attacked inside the University Student Council (USC) office at around 230 in the afternoon.

Hina was stabbed several times in the head using an ice pick which pierced through her temples. She was found lying unconscious on a pool of blood about an hour after she was attacked. She was immediately rushed to the hospital, was critical and in a coma for several days. Doctors said possibility of brain injury was high because of the wounds she sustained.

Guards and the campus police arrested one of the perpetrators identified as Dan Mar Vicencio, 38 years old. According to reports, Vicencio, together with two other companions, one identified as Dante Santos, went to the USC office, in Vinzons Hall UP Diliman and pretended to ask questions regarding booth lease in the UP Fair. Vicencio was later caught by the guards fleeing the building with Hina’s and her companion’s belongings which included laptops and cell phones.

Student leader

Hina was no ordinary student. She was secretary-general of the Center for Nationalist Studies (CNS), and an organizer for the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND UP). She played a key role in the nationwide strike against budget cuts in UP and social services last year.

According to CNS, Hina is committed to organizing students and youth not just in campuses, but also in urban poor communities in struggles for basic rights and genuine social change:

As a member of the Center for Nationalist Studies (CNS) and a student-leader, Lordei dedicated her life to defending the democratic rights of the Filipino people– students’ right to free and quality education; genuine agrarian reform for Filipino peasants; and just, living wages for workers– to ensure that every Filipino is able to live a life of dignity.

STAND-UPUP KILOS NACongress of Teachers for Nationalism and Democracy, the Office of the Student Regent and many other groups organized support and solidarity activities for Hina. The groups called for justice for Hina and called for the arrest of other assailants. They condemned the downgrading of the charge the fiscal approved for the perpetrators.

They also said the issue is “beyond security” and that addressing the issue should not compromise the “public character” of the country’s premier state tertiary institution. The groups also pointed out that due to the budget cuts approved by the Aquino administration for UP, a measure which the UP community stood fervently against last year, campus’ security personnel have been reduced.

No ordinary crime

After careful evaluation and analysis of circumstances before, during and after the incident, however, there is reason to believe that what happened to Hina was politically motivated and not just an ordinary crime.

The fact that Hina was attacked in the USC office, a known place where student leaders and activists gather, as she was about to attend an important meeting is telling. Important information regarding her activities were also kept in the laptop and cell phones which the assailant stole.

A day after the attempted murder of Lordei, a former student leader and known cultural activist Ekis Gimenez of Sining na Naglilingkod sa Bayan (Sinagbayan) was also attacked on his way home. He suffered a skull fracture and had to undergo surgery in the head.

A few weeks before, three UP students were also harassed and assaulted by miltary men in Porac, Pampanga as they were conducting field work.

Portraying political assasinations as criminal acts is not new. Bishop Alberto Ramento of the Aglipayan Church, a human rights advocate and staunch supporter of the Hacienda Luisita strike was stabbed several-dozen times while he was sleeping in his Tarlac residence in October 2006, after the Luisita massacre. The police tried to cover up the political killing by saying that it was a “gang-related” incident.

Many older activists also noted that the same method was used in the ‘80s under the president Cory Aquino’s “Total War” and “Low Intensity Conflict.”

Oplan Bayanihan

Many groups note the Aquino government’s covert method in dealing with dissent under Oplan Bayanihan. The new military plan focuses on psy-ops and propaganda using “people-centered” approach, “civic-military” and “non-combat” operations. The recent attacks and military activities have “psy-ops” written all over them.

Incidentally, fake statements have also been consistently released to media to confuse the public, sow intrigue and maliciously malign the progressive movement. The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) recently disowned a statement which was run in major newspapers saying it in support of the current administration’s quest for “justice” and that it believes that there is a wind of justice prevailing under the administration.

While it is sabotaging the peace efforts, the government and the military have also consistently been trying to paint a picture that the progressive and revolutionary movements have “surrendered” and have “reintegrated” to the Aquino goverment. Among these, the fake rumors that Jose Ma. Sison is coming back to the Philippines to join Aquino’s cabinet.

The UP community, the youth and students, and the Filipino people must be ever critical and vigilant amidst these moves. Let us not fall for state propaganda, terror and repression. We must strengthen our resolve to fight for the people’s democratic rights and boldly advance the peoples’ movement for genuine social change.

Justice for Lordei Hina!

Help raise funds for Lordei Hina’s hospitalization and recovery:  The USC UP Diliman, Office of the Student Regent, University of the Philippines and Center for Nationalist Studies (CNS) are calling for financial help for Lordei Hina. For donations, please contact USC Finance Committee Head Aman Melad (09177507529) or deposit cash donations: UP Diliman University Student Council PNB Account no.: 393989700021.

CHEd inutile vs rising education costs http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/ched-inutile-vs-rising-education-costs/ Wed, 08 Feb 2012 15:24:47 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=294

A consultative forum on regulation of tuition and other school fees was organized by the Committee on Higher and Technical Education and Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino today, which was attended by representatives of Committee on Higher Education (CHEd) and student representatives. Rep. Mariano Piamonte, Rep. Sigfrido Tinga and a staff of committee chair Rep. Sonny Angara was also present.

In the forum, the students said they are “alarmed by the unabated increase in tuition and other fees.” Students also complained of “redundant, exorbitant and dubious fees” being implemented in schools. The youth leaders took a swipe at CHEd for failing to regulate unjust fees and tuition hikes during the past years, which they blame for rising drop-out rates and lack of access to tertiary education.

Student leaders from major private schools were present in the forum, like University of the East, University of Santo Tomas, Trinity University of Asia, Emilio Aguinaldo College, Lyceum University of the Philippines, Mapua Institue of Technology, De La Salle University, University of the Philippines and Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Leaders of various youth organizations led by Anakbayan, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), College Editors Guild of the Philippines and Kabataan Partylist were also present.

Consultations for tuition increases are set this month, with about 400 private schools expected to increase tuition and other fees by about 10-15%. The deadline for tuition consultations is on February 28. Many schools have already expressed their intention to increase tuition rates again this year.

CHEd issues new tuition guidelines for 2013-2014

In response to the growing clamor to regulate tuition hikes and various fees, the CHEd presented during the forum a new set of guidelines on tuition increases and consultation processes. A powerpoint presentation outlined the features of the new guidelines, however, no copy of the memo was provided to the forum.

According to CHEd, the new memo will expand the requirement for consultations to include other school fees aside from tuition. The new memo will replace CHEd Memo Order 13, issued in 1998, which only covers tuition increases. Students have criticized CMO 13 as a “failure” to act as a supposed regulatory framework, pointing to the unabated rise in tuition rates and flawed consultation processes as proof.

In its new memo, CHEd cited Supreme Court rulings in Lina vs. Carino and St. Joseph College vs St. Joseph College Workers Association, which they say contain basis for CHEd’s power to regulate tuition rates.

With its new memo, CHEd promised that it will ensure “reasonableness on tuition and other school fees” while “balancing interests of stakeholders and encouraging private support through the sustainability of school operations in consideration of the prevailing regional inflation rate.”

CHEd said it will consider, to determine reasonableness, among other things: the inflation rate, financial standing of the school, financial capacity of the general studentry, impact of force maheure or calamities, track record of the school and mission vision of the school.

CHEd also promised more stringent monitoring, support and cooperation with student councils and organizations in the implementation of the guidelines.

The memo however, will not be implemented this year but in school year 2013-2014, which means CMO 13 will still cover the current consultation processes.

Students critical

While there are aspects in the new memo which could be better compared to CMO 13, the students have, and understandably so, registered serious criticisms regarding the CHEd move.

For one, it is disappointing that CHEd’s “solution” is not slated to be implemented this coming school year. CHEd, if truly concerned about the problem of rising tuition rates, surely had enough time to draft and finish its new policy which was promised June of last year. Besides, its tuition policy has been wanting of review since 1998 and has been unchanged except for one instance in 2005, when it was forced by protests to impose a cap on tuition rates, but which has quickly been revoked due to political accomodation of the past administration to private school owners.

What does CHEd intend to do as tuition rates are again set to rise this year and as abusive fees are imposed this year? What do we tell the students who won’t be able to enroll this coming school year due to high school costs? Taking the cue from Noynoy Aquino, it seems CHEd is once again displaying a great deal of ineptness and inability to fulfill its mandate to provide education for the people.

It was also noted that the new memorandum fails to correct the essential flaws of the consultation process and pro-administration bias of CMO 13.

Yes, the fees deemed to be dubious will be included in the consultation process. But since when have these so-called consultation processes stopped the schools from unjustly increasing tuition? The students, year-after-year have been complaining regarding “bogus” consultations and have expressed disapproval of the proposed hikes but tuition fees have hiked anyway.

The schools have been violating even CHEd guidelines such as the 70-20-10 in incremental proceeds which states that 70% of tuition hikes should be alloted for the increase of teachers’ salaries. Schools have been increasing their tuition every year, while salaries for teachers remain low. Despite this, tuition and other fees are being allowed to increase every year.

Major private schools which are notorious in increasing their tuition and other fees have been registering billions in profits and are consistently in the country’s top 1000 corporations.

During the forum and in presenting its new memo, the CHEd keeps on stressing that it is the responsibility of the students to be vigilant and to be wise in its participation in consultations. The NUSP retorts by stating that the student councils have been so during the past years. The problem does not lie with the vigilance of the studentry and the community, it is the fact that the CHEd allows tuition hikes despite complaints being filed by the students year-after-year.

Besides, why is the CHEd passing the burden of regulating tuition to the students? It is CHEd’s job and its mandate to regulate the fees with or without complaints. This exposes the real bias of CHEd and the government: the default for them in fact is to allow incessant tuition and other fee hikes. It operates under the assumption that fee increases and impositions are justified, taking the side of the capitalist educators. More importantly, they forget the fact that they should be viewing education as a public service and a right and should first and foremost ensure access of the people to this right.

After the forum, the student leaders held a caucus and planned nationwide actions to stop tuition hikes. It is rightful for the students to assert a moratorium on all tuition hikes this year. As CHEd has clearly failed to address tuition hand other fee increases under its old memo and has failed to come up with new and just policies on time, an immediate freeze on all increases and new fee impositions is in order. Not doing so would be tolerating theft and abuse of capitalist educators, worse, it would deprive millions more of their right to education and a decent future.