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 Bakit dapat labanan ang academic calendar shift? http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/bakit-dapat-labanan-ang-academic-calendar-shift/ Thu, 24 Apr 2014 08:14:41 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=467

Ang academic calendar shift, kasama ng programang K-12, ay bahagi ng pangkalahatang atakeng neoliberal sa edukasyong Pilipino. Higit na papasahulin ng planong calendar shift ang edukasyong komersyalisado, kolonyal at elitista sa bansa.

Bahagi ang shift ng mga imposisyon ng US sa planong “integrasyon” ng ASEAN na naglalayong higit na patindihin ang mga patakaran ng liberalisasyon, pagragasa ng dayuhang kapital at pagsasamanatala sa murang lakas paggawa sa rehiyon.

Sa kabila ng mga napatunayan nang mga praktikal na kapalpakan ng paglilipat sa Agosto / Setyembre ng pasukan noong 60’s at malawak na pagtutol ng mga mag-aaral, magulang at guro sa kampus, niratsada pa rin ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas (UP) at iba pang mga mayor na mga paaralan sa bansa ang plano.

Nagpapanggap ang Commission on Higher Education (CHED) na ayaw nito ang calendar shift pero wala naman itong ginagawa para pigilan ito. Sinuportahan ng Malakanyang ang calendar shift at sinabing may laya ang mga pamantasan na gawin ito. Matatandaang ang opisyal ng LP na si Frank Drilon ang unang bumuhay sa panukala.

Higit na ipagkakait ng shift ang edukasyong kolehiyo sa kalakhan ng kabataang Pilipino. Higit na hihirap para sa mga kabataang magsasaka ang makapaghangad pa na makapasok sa kolehiyo dahil itataon ang pasukan sa panahong kailangan silang tumulong sa sakahan. Ang enrollment naman, sa panahon na “taghirap” ang mga pamilya ng magsasaka. Ngayon pa lamang, marami na ang lubog sa utang at hindi na nakakapasok sa pamantasan sa taas ng matrikula at kahirapan.

Paglulubos ang shift ng plano ng gubyernong Aquino na ipagkait na ang kolehiyo sa kabataan sa ilalim ng programang K-12. Sa pagdesynchronize at paglalagay ng matagal na pagitan sa batayan at sekondaryang edukasyon sa kolehiyo, mas marami ang pipiliting maghanap na lamang ng trabaho kaysa pumasok pa sa kolehiyo.

Kasabay nito, lalong itutulak ang komersyalisasyon sa mga pamantasan at patuloy na pagkaltas ng gubyerno sa badyet ng edukasyon. Itinutulak ang mga pamantasan na humanap ng pondo sa pamamagitan ng pag-akit sa mas maraming mga dayuhang estudyante, pag-aalok ng mga programang popondohan ng mga dayuhan at pagpapapasok ng dayuhang kapital sa edukasyon.

Ang “internasyunalisasyon” at “integrasyon” ay nangangahulugan ng todo-todong pagkakaloob ng mga pamantasan at ng buong edukasyong tersaryo sa dayuhang interes. Sang ayon ito sa layunin ng imperyalismong US na palobohin ang reserbang murang lakas paggawa sa bansa at sa Asya na malaya nitong pagsamantalahan. Ipinapataw nito ang pag-ayon ng mga programa ng pamantasan sa rehiyon sa iisang “standard” na tutugon sa pangangailangan nito at magtutulak pababa ang sahod sa rehiyon.

Lalong isasadlak ng mga “reporma” sa edukasyon na ito ang kabataan at mamamayan sa malawakang kawalang trabaho, mababang sahod at matinding kahirapan.

Sa pagsang-ayon sa mga programang makadayuhan, lalo ring susupilin at aalisin ang mga makabayan at makamamamayang mga aralin, programa para paboran ang mga kursong ayon sa dikta ng merkado, popular at mapagkakakitaan.

Dapat puspusang labanan at biguin ng kabataan, mga guro at mamamayan ang academic calendar shift at labanan ang mga neoliberal na atake ng rehimeng Aquino sa edukasyon. Dapat magpunyaging labanan at ibagsak ang komersyalisado, kolonyal, pyudal at pasistang edukasyon at tumindig para sa edukasyong makabayan, siyentipiko at pangmasa.

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Aquino is top NPA recruiter http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/aquino-is-top-npa-recruiter/ Thu, 27 Mar 2014 00:50:15 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=459 The government claim that the country’s revolutionary movement has ended with the arrest of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon is wrong and misguided.

The country’s top NPA recruiter is still around — BS Aquino. His policies and the worsening crisis under his government are fueling the flames of people’s revolt. Aquino’s policies which worsen poverty and injustice in the country are the reason why many are being pushed to revolt and join the revolutionary movement. Rising tuition and prices of commodities, continuing landlordism and haciendero rule in the countrysides, the criminal neglect for the victims of calamities, corruption, continuing human rights violations committed by the military and foreign domination in the country drive the people to fight.

The childish and foolish taunting of the NPA shows lack of character of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Instead of conducting useless propaganda, they should look at the human rights violations and the extrajudicial killings being committed by the soldiers – these further drive the people to take up arms against them.

The Aquino administration, through the arrests of NDFP consultants, is sabotaging the peace talks instead of sincerely examining and addressing the roots of insurgency. The Aquino government is using lies and false propaganda to justify the illegal arrest of the consultants.

Read this point per point explanation of why the arrest of the Tiamzons is illegal and unjustified via NUPL and PILC:

Why the arrest of the Tiamzons et al is illegal and unjustified

By the legal defense team of the PILC and NUPL
26 March 2014

1. The Tiamzon spouses are covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) arising from the peace negotiations and thus must not be arrested by the Government of the Philippines (GPH).

2. Benito and Wilma Austria Tiamzon are holders of documents of identification (more popularly known as “safe conduct passes”) numbers ND978227 and ND978226, respectively, as consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Both have also been issued Letters of Acknowledgement by two Chairmen of the GPH Negotiating Panel, Howard Dee in 1996 and Silvestre H. Bello III in 2001.

3. Wilma Austria Tiamzon is publicly known by her real name to be involved in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations since the 1990s, and must be afforded recognition and protection as such. The use of assumed names by accredited or protected persons, such as “Crising Banaag” by Benito Tiamzon, is justified by:

3.1. Accepted practice in peace negotiations with underground organizations, and as agreed upon by the Parties.

3.2. Additional implementing rules pertinent to the JASIG signed by both Parties explicitly allowing such use.

3.3. Historical lessons during the 1986 peace negotiations when a number of participants from the NDFP were exposed, arrested, and even killed.

3.4. Security and privacy considerations, to encourage those who want to participate in the negotiations, and as assurance against present or future reprisals.

4. The status of the Tiamzon spouses as consultants of the NDFP is not questionable. There is no need for further or additional verification/validation of their identities.

4.1. They are in possession of and presented documents of identification and letters of acknowledgement. Further verification is only obligatory when there are no other means of establishing identity. (JASIG Implementing Rules)

4.2. Out of 427 political prisoners in the Philippines, only 14 are being claimed by the NDFP as consultants.

5. Arresting the Tiamzon spouses constitutes bad faith on the part of the GPH in complying with its obligations under binding bilateral agreements.

5.1. JASIG was crafted precisely to facilitate the peace negotiations, to create a favorable atmosphere conducive to free discussion and free movement during the peace negotiation, and avert incidents that may jeopardize the peace negotiations. It actually benefits the panelists, consultants, staff and security of both Parties to safety and immunity guarantees.

5.2. Under the principle in international law of “pacta sunt servanda” (Latin for promises must be kept), agreements are binding between the Parties and must be kept and performed in good faith.

5.3. A Party like the GPH cannot use its domestic law as a justification or excuse for the non-performance/compliance with its obligations under a binding international agreement like JASIG.

6. Protection of the Tiamzon spouses under the JASIG subsists.

6.1. JASIG can only be terminated by written notice of either Party to the other and will only be effective 30 days upon receipt (JASIG Part III. No. 5). No written notice has been sent or received by the NDFP for the termination of the negotiations by GPH under the Aquino administration.

6.2. There is no provision in the JASIG allowing for suspension or “inoperatibility” of its protections as this will render nugatory its objectives and practical value.

6.3. The whole peace process or negotiations are huge and elaborate and do not only involve scheduled formal talks across the negotiating table. It equally involves continuing phases such as consultation, research, study, education, information, advocacy, backchanneling, exploratory meetings, informal talks, and formal talks. Absence, suspensions or impasses in formal peace talks do not mean the whole peace negotiations/process are automatically absent, suspended or terminated.

7. The Tiamzon spouses are engaged in activities directly related to their role as consultants in the peace negotiations.

7.1. The Tiamzons were conducting intensive consultations with peasants and basic sectors in the Visayas at the time of their arrest particularly with respect to socio-economic issues and the effects of supertyphoon Yolanda.

7.2. Even the GPH alleges them as leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New Peoples’ Army. It stands to reason and common sense that they should be monitoring implementation of agreements on the field, be consulted by and conduct consultations with members of the NDFP and pertinent individuals and groups, in such a significant work as the peace negotiations.

8. Four days after their arrest have passed yet still no valid warrants have been presented against the seven detained.

8.1. The detained and their counsels have not received, nor have been furnished previous valid warrants against any of them. Even present attempts to procure these are being blocked by the military. It is not implausible that shotgun warrants would eventually surface as the Tiamzon spouses are mechanically made default respondents or “usual suspects” in incidents allegedly involving the New People’s Army.

9. The belated inquest proceedings for the trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives are highly irregular and cannot be given legal credence or effect.

9.1. It was conducted 44 hours after the arrest, way beyond the GPH maximum period of 36 hours of legal detention without charges being filed; thus the detention is arbitrary and illegal.

9.2. It was conducted not at the place of the alleged crimes in Cebu, but some 355 miles away, in Quezon City.

9.3. Evidence has been planted. It is incumbent now upon the GPH prove the integrity and admissibility in court of the firearms and explosives allegedly taken from the detainees. The presumption of innocence subsists and the burden of proof and evidence does not shift to them.

9.4. New, false, and fabricated charges were filed as an afterthought to cover previous fatal infirmities in supposed warrants almost two days after the incident.9.5. Police CIDG officers did not inform counsels for detained about the inquest despite presenting themselves the day before. Counsels were surprised with and only informed about the inquest for the new and fabricated charges only three hours prior by members of media.

10. The practice of charging common criminal offenses, instead of political crimes, against consultants of the NDFP (and other political prisoners) cannot legalize the arrest and detention of the Tiamzons.

10.1. Filing criminal charges , false, anomalous and fabricated at that, are precisely calculated to undermine and remove the very protection of the JASIG; conversely, the JASIG was intended to shield participants of the peace process from harassment and other acts that hinder their work, like the filing of such charges.

10.2. These new false charges are designed to ensure the detention of the Tiamzons when other possible old charges against them wither in the face of intense scrutiny.

10.3. These trumped up charges violate the political offense doctrine, which mandates that all crimes in furtherance of political beliefs must be subsumed under one political crime of rebellion. Any person investigated, charged, arrested, prosecuted or convicted in violation of this judicial doctrine must be released as mandated by the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), which the GPH co-signed with the NDFP way back 1998.#

FTW, Pixel Offensive. Re “deadly weapon:”

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Sarah Raymundo writes on why the government has failed to depict the communist leaders as common criminals:

How is it possible that they are able to maintain a composed sense of dignity despite the terrifying consequences of their incarceration? How can they continue to challenge a force that coerces them to bow down and accept defeat? How is it possible that political struggles continue to explode even after a series of failures?

Meanhile, a human rights advocate was slain by military agents; and lumad areas are being militarized.

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Tiamzons’ arrest exposes Aquino ignorance http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/you-can-cut-all-the-flowers-but-you-cannot-stop-the-spring-from-coming/ Tue, 25 Mar 2014 01:54:20 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=441 The BS Aquino government’s bragging about the arrest of Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria and 5 others shows everything that’s wrong about how it (mis)understands things.

Last March 19, like a KSP child with low EQ trying hard to impress people, BS Aquino declared that “big fish” will be captured soon. On everyone’s doubtful mind was Jovito Palparan or some big time smuggler, tax-evader, or plunderer with military protection.

Instead, the government announced the arrest of peace consultants, both senior citizens, who they claim are currently the chairman and secretary general of the Communist Party of the Philippines. They go on full party-like-a-rockstar mode and celebrate the impending end of the Philippine revolution.

 

Sorry to pop BS Aquino’s bubble, but his uberhappiness is misplaced. The arrests are nothing to be proud of, in fact, the way the government acted further exposed brat Aquino’s haciendero kababawan and ignorance.

The arrests of the peace consultants clearly violate the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) signed by the government and NDFP. According to the NDFP, Austria is holder of NDFP Document of Identification ND978226 under her real name and Tiamzon is the holder of NDFP Document of Identification ND 978227 under the assumed name “Crising Banaag.”

The GPH panel denies this by effectively suspending JASIG unilaterally, saying that JASIG is no longer in effect, ridiculously putting the blame on a “corrupted diskette” which the panels failed to open. #throwback #sillyargument

This claim is refuted by former GPH peace panel head Silvestre Bello III.

According to human rights group Karapatan, there are 12 NDF peace consultants who are in jail because of trumped-up criminal charges and 10 NDF consultants who are victims of enforced disappearance. How will peace talks possibly continue when one side is arresting negotiators of the other?

Filed against the two are trumped-up criminal charges which violate the Hernandez Doctrine, which states that crimes committed in the course of a rebellion should be subsumed by rebellion charges.

BS Aquino is clearly destroying whatever advances the peace talks have previously attained and is not interested in seeking just and lasting peace. By hailing the arrests as major victory his government shows ignorance of history much like how Marcos predicted the fall of the revolutionary movement whan it arrested Joma Sison in 1977.

KMU says arrest aimed at causing chilling effect vs Aquino critics.

The Tiamzons’ arrest is surely aimed at causing a “chilling effect” among critics of Aquino at a time when the chief executive continues to earn the people’s ire for his defense of the pork barrel system, criminal negligence when super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the country, and implementation of anti-worker and anti-poor policies.

The CPP statement provides a stark contrast between BS Aquino’s government and the CPP leaders.

At the time of their arrest, both Tiamzon and Austria were performing tasks and duties assigned to them by the CPP and the NDFP. Up to recently, both were busy conducting first hand investigation into the conditions of the working class people in the Visayas region whose lives were devastated by supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and who continue to suffer from the Aquino regime’s antipeople, crony-controlled, corrupt and grossly inept response to the calamity.

As leaders of the CPP, Tiamzon and Austria are the opposite of the landlord Aquino and his coterie of corrupt officials. Tiamzon and Austria are the epitome of simple living. Neither of them own a private home nor drive their own sportscar. Neither do they play with guns for fun or personal satisfaction. They are not like Aquino and his officials who plunder public funds to aggrandize themselves or perpetuate their political rule.

Inquirer looks at the killing of an activist in Iloilo and makes a good point: how will government end the insurgency when unarmed activists are being assasinated by the military?

Until he rids himself of haciendero ignorance and childishness, Aquino will never understand why people are critical of this government and why many are fighting to change the current system.

If he wants to understand the roots of insurgency, no better way than to look at what’s happening in his own backyard. In Hacienda Luisita, the landgrabbing and bulldozing of the houses of peasants continue.

 

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Originally posted at the Philippine Online Chronicles.

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Shifting school time: Changing the academic calendar http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/shifting-school-time-changing-the-academic-calendar/ Wed, 12 Feb 2014 03:00:44 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=455 sunflower

Last February 6, the University of the Philippines (UP) decided to shift the academic calendar for all campuses except for Diliman. Ateneo De Manila, De La Salle, and University of Santo Tomas are expected to follow.

Earlier, it was the “big man” Senator Franklin Drilon who revived the proposal.

In the new calendar to be “pilot tested” this year, the first semester, which previously starts on June and ends on October, will start on August and end on December. The second semester which previously starts November and ends April, will start January and end May. From May to June, summer vacation will be shifted to June to July.

According to UP President Alfredo Pascual, “the decision to shift the academic calendar is part of the continuing efforts of UP to develop into a regional and global university and to maximize the opportunities offered by ASEAN integration and global educational partnerships.”

Proponents have also earlier stated that the shift is to adjust to climate changes and to spare students from floods which happen in June and July.

Protests greeted the move. UP student leaders decried the “railroading” of the decision and the lack of consultations among the stakeholders. Various sectors have previously also expressed their opposition to the plan.

Adjusting to climate?

Billy Formoso recalls that “Roxas tried it, scrapped it in the 60’s:”

The students complained it was too hot to be cooped up in a classroom in April and May, thus making it not conducive to learning.

The new vacation months— July and August—were also still stormy and wet and so the kids and their families could not go anywhere for a vacation. They experienced cabin fever in their own homes. Resort owners weren’t too happy either—they had no customers.

And, it still stormed and flooded in September, October and November so that many school days were lost.

 

Jun Verzola discusses interesting points regarding the “Pinoy summer” which he says is mythical.

Mon Ramirez posts interesting charts on his Facebook page.

Disastrous for peasant families

Earlier, Karlo Mongaya expressed worries re the effects the shift will have on peasant families, saying August is the worst time to start classes because of practical issues:

For the poor peasants and farm workers, los muertos is literally the season of the dead..

 

The rural poor of Negros and Panay islands have another name for this dead season: “tigkiriwi,” a Hiligaynon term for a face in severe pain. Tiempos muertos is also the “tinggulutom,” the time of hunger.

 

Many farm hands would go down to the cities to look for work to augment whatever cash advances that they can scrape from the landlords. Loans are taken from sharks at usurious rates. Peasant girls are sent to work in the mansions of the hacienderos for extra income.

 

School opening during tiempos muertos would therefore only add to the burden of poor families who would have to think of a mountain of school expenses from tuition to uniforms, school supplies, and allowances on top of their day to day survival needs.

Formoso also raised this issue: “April and May are harvest months and the kids were needed by their parents to help bring in the crops. And so many students absented themselves from school.”

Considering that rising tuition rates are forcing more students out of school (remember the UP student who took her life last year because she could not pay tuition?), this should have seriously been considered.

Global integration

Earlier, Professor Winnie Monsod wrote in her column about the shift’s “flawed rationale”:

First, the move is supposed to be necessary for UP to achieve its role as a “regional and global university.” What it does not say is that only the European and North American universities are on the August/September to May/June calendar. And that is because that coincides with their fall, winter and spring.  The other countries in Latin America, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa have academic calendars that start in February, right after their summer months. Does this mean that these countries are not “global”?  Or that we don’t care to cooperate with them?

 

Then, much is made of the fact that we are the only country in the Asean University Network (AUN) that still adheres to a June-March calendar. But the policy paper mentions Thailand’s two academic calendars: one for the Thai system, and one for the international programs. Now that sounds eminently sensible.  Why can’t we examine that alternative, if we are so anxious to attract foreign students (assuming that they will be attracted)?

Kabataan Partylist Rep Terry Ridon raises the issue of education tourism and higher tuition rates due to the calendar shift:

If more higher education institutions join the bandwagon for the academic calendar shift, we fear that the time will come when our universities become so foreign-oriented and overpriced that it will be filled not by young Filipinos but by foreigners who wish to finish their studies in the tropics.

CONTEND-UP says the shift means “Bending over backwards and missing the point of UP education”:

 

The de-synchronization with local private and public high schools would arguably have a greater potential negative impact on enrolment and access of local undergraduate and graduate students than any positive gains which might accrue in attracting students from universities in Southeast Asia and beyond. The question is, who are we really supposed to serve? Are not these still primarily Filipino youth and students? Why should UP bend over backwards to attract foreign students when it should instead be going the extra mile in filling up slots with students from underprivileged and marginalized backgrounds? 

 

“Internationalization” should not mean a blind process of homogenization which disregards national relevance along with natural and cultural factors.

Cleve Arguelles says factors other than the calendar, like access, government spending and tuition rates should be looked into if UP wants to really be a global university.

Former UP student regent Jaque Eroles examines the ASEAN 2015 and said that it will have adverse impacts on the economy:

This regional economic integration program will push for further liberalization of trade among ASEAN countries, including the Philippines. It directs member-countries to eliminate tariffs and other non-tariff trade barriers to enable free entry of imported goods from other ASEAN countries and its global partners. It will also open the gates for foreign business investments to flood our economy and eventually massacre our local business, manufacturing, services, and even agriculture. AEC will have adverse impacts to the Filipino economy, people and even those of other ASEAN countries.

 

So just when you think that shifting of academic calendar is one harmless proposal, look at the bigger picture and think again.

The National Union of the Philippines (NUSP) also looks into ASEAN 2015 and says the shift will further commercialize education. What we need, says the student union, is a “shift in orientation towards a nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented type of education” instead of a calendar shift.

Here’s what UP Professor Gerry Lanuza thinks:

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Btw, aside from the academic calendar shift, UP Student Regent Krista Melgarejo said that UP also railroaded the approval of several controversial moves. Among them, the renaming of the UP Diliman College of Business Administration to Virata School of Business, UP’s participation in the controversial PCARI project, and the involvement of SM Investments Corporation in the UP Professional Schools in Bonifacio Global City. Read her report here.

 

Originally published in Blogwatch.

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Tuition moratorium now! Aquino, CHED should stop tuition hikes in PH http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/tuition-moratorium-now-aquino-ched-should-stop-tuition-hikes-in-ph/ Fri, 08 Jun 2012 10:34:38 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=373 Dear CHED and President Aquino,

The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and President Noynoy Aquino should immediately impose a moratorium on tuition and other fee increases nationwide.

Amidst record high poverty and unemployment rates, a freeze in tuition and school fee increases should be implemented to stop drop-outs and to relieve to parents and students of additional burden.

The Aquino government should be more sensitive to the plight of students and their parents. Many families are no longer able to send their children to school due to skyrocketing expenses. Drop out rates are on the rise.

CHED earlier announced that 267 schools are set to increase tuition by around 10%. The actual number could be much higher as CHED does not include in their list miscellaneous and other fees.

 

Even public universities such as University of the Philippines, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Mindanao State University, which are supposed to provide accessible education are increasing school fees. This situation, which is a direct effect of the cuts in the budget for state universities and colleges is deplorable. At the very least, the gov’t can stop its schools from hiking fees.

Aquino and CHEd’s noynoying regarding tuition hikes has been detrimental to students and parents. The government is abandoning its responsibility to provide quality and accessible education. As it is, 80% of college students do not graduate mainly due to high costs.

The school fee hikes that the CHED has approved recently are unjust and unwarranted. Many schools are profiteering and imposing exorbitant and dubious fees.

In fact, the top private schools in the country are raking hundreds of millions in superprofits. The biggest schools are consistently among the top 1000 corporations.

CHED’s claim that the fee hikes underwent proper consultation processes is simply false. To begin with, their tuition hike memo is flawed and provides for automatic approval in favor of school owners.

Student leaders have filed their opposition to the tuition hikes in these so-called consultations but have been approved anyway by CHED. In a Congress hearing, CHED admitted that it has never rejected any proposal to hike tuition. The CHED approves proposals for tuition and other fee hikes regardless of their nature. In this sense, they are in cahoots with capitalist-educators in robbing students.

We must remind the government of its constitutional mandate to provide quality and accessible education in all levels.

Maybe we need to tell President Aquino that not everyone is born a haciendero. Majority of the people are poor and hungry and will simply not be able to afford a new round of tuition hikes.

Aquino should immediately order a moratorium on all tuition increases this year; regulate tuition rates and scrap dubious fees; and increase significantly the budget for SUCs and education.

Ultimately, the government should remember that education is a right, not a privilege of the rich.

Sadly, it seems the Aquino gov’t does not adhere to the same principle.

Sa tuwid na daan, mukhang walang preno ang pagtaas ng tuition.

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UP Student Regent Statement On ‘Revised’ STFAP Scheme http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/student-regent-statement-on-%e2%80%98revised%e2%80%99-stfap-scheme-%c2%ab-kalasag/ Thu, 07 Jun 2012 18:28:19 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=380 Here is UP student regent statement on the STFAP rebracketing:

On the ‘Revised STFAP Scheme’

Office of the Student Regent

3 June 2012

Students from different UP units raised concerns again as they were welcomed by the issue of ‘Bracket B certification/Revised STFAP scheme’ as registration for the 1st semester for AY 2012-2013 starts. This was the same issue that has already been raised to the UP administration last year and favorably resolved thru a dialogue with the UP administration headed by President Alfredo Pascual, the Office of the Student Regent and sectoral representatives from UP Kilos Na.

Adjusting the Default Bracket

While implementation was deferred last year, this revised STFAP scheme shifts the “default bracket” or “base tuition” from Bracket B (P1000/unit for Diliman, Los Banos and Manila; P600 for Baguio, Visayas and Mindanao) to Bracket A (P1,500/unit for Diliman, Los Banos and Manila; P1000 for Baguio, Visayas and Mindanao). This means that students who did not apply to or failed the STFAP will have to pay the tuition fee for the highest bracket (Bracket A). The old scheme put everyone into Bracket B, automatically paying P1000 or P600 per credit unit, unless they apply for a lower bracket or they declare that they belong to the highest bracket. With the new scheme, students wishing to belong to Bracket B or to pay the supposed “base tuition”, have to submit a notarized Bracket B certification signed by the parent and the student together with a vicinity map of their residence, plus other documents* to the office concerned. Failure to submit the certification and other supplementary documents will put the students in Bracket A. This new process was observed in almost all UP units including regional. 

While it has been the position of the Office of the Student Regent and the systemwide-wide alliance of UP student councils KASAMA sa UP that there is a policy change with regards to STFAP especially the change in “default bracket,” it has been the position of the UP administration that there hasn’t been a change in the “default bracketing” because there is no “default bracket” or “base tuition” being followed in the university. The administration even stated that the idea of a “default bracket” only came up because there are no requirements needed to belong to this bracket; therefore many assumed that it is the “default bracket”. However, this position of the UP administration is inconsistent with the policy reports of then-UP President Emerlinda Roman (De Dios Report) used to propose the tuition and other fees increase (TOFI) including the changes in STFAP during 2006.

Is STFAP Working?

Aside from what was aforementioned, President Pascual asserts that there is no new scheme but rather a stricter implementation of STFAP to ensure that students will be honest about their socio-economic standing and that more financial aid applicant will be accommodated. However, the first phase of Office of the Student Regent’s STFAP Review and data from the Philippine Collegian proved otherwise.

In a study done by the Philippine Collegian, 1 out of 10 STFAP applicants during the year 2011 was dissatisfied with their approved bracket and appealed to be put into a lower bracket. Statistics also show that STFAP has consistently increased the number of students in Bracket A and decreased the number of students in lower brackets (Bracket D, E). Worse, even those who were put into lower brackets have to apply for a tuition loan (2out of 3).

On another note, almost all respondents in the first phase of the STFAP Review cited inconsistencies in the requirements and processes and difficulties and expensiveness in the processing of documents required.

Position & Analysis

It is the opinion and the stand of the Office of the Student Regent guided by the reports of the students in the different UP units that the new scheme/policy changes in STFAP effectively changed/raised the “default bracket” resulting to an increased “base tuition/tuition fee.” The high cost of UP education has always been the primary concern of the students as well as the general public weakening democratic access and compromising the public character of the university.

It is also in the opinion of the OSR guided by policy studies as well as direct surveys and inputs from the students that STFAP fails to meet its objective of financially aiding and assisting the students to cope with the high cost of UP education. STFAP has always served against the interest of the students acting as a smokescreen for increases in tuition, justifying the systematic and continuous abandonment of the government to its responsibility to provide enough subsidies, and transforming a public university into an income-generating institution that relies heavily on its own income.

In the immediate, the UP administration must defer the implementation of this new scheme pending policy consultation with other stakeholders as well as a comprehensive review of the STFAP taking into consideration the results of the studies of the different student institutions.

In the long-run, it is crucial that UP must understand that policies such as STFAP, utilization of idle assets, public-private partnerships and other income-generating schemes fit into the long-standing policy of the past and present governments to subscribe to the neoliberal policy of deregulating the education sector- abandoning the responsibility to provide subsidy and privatizing educational institutions.

In the end, the UP community must consider ‘enacting more systemic changes in its policies in order to concretely address the issues of democratic access but it should be done within the frame of demanding greater state support to UP; not through increased student fees in whatever form or guise.’ The pledge of the UP administration to strengthen the public character and public service nature of the university will always get full support from the ranks of the students in the context of democratic governance and uncompromised rights, interests and welfare of the students.

###

Sources:

 

Statements and Reports from Student Regent Krissy Conti and UP Kilos Na

Philippine Collegian

KASAMA sa UP

*Raised during the 1280th BOR meeting, 4 June 2012**Meeting with President Alfredo Pascual, 5 June 2012- updates to follow

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“Home schooling?” OH REALLY NOW DepEd http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/home-schooling-oh-really-now-deped/ http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/home-schooling-oh-really-now-deped/#comments Thu, 07 Jun 2012 10:41:00 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=378 Great idea DepEd. Congratulations! Kayo na ang 100% excellent.

DepEd and public schools forcing students to “home school” is tantamount to rejection and abandonment of responsibility to educate the Filipino youth.

“Home study” is actually short for “stay home and don’t study anymore.”

The fact that schools can no longer accommodate students exposes the falsity of DepEd claims that the education situation is improving and that the nation is ready for K12.

Instead of coming up with lame schemes and false propaganda, gov’t should give sufficient funds for education. The current P7 per student daily spending is far too small.

The Aquino administration should rechannel the additional “pabuya” pork barrel and corruption prone CCT dole out funds, as well as unneeded military funds to schools and education.

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Susunod! Arroyo may be allowed to post bail http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/arroyo-may-post-bai/ Thu, 07 Jun 2012 10:38:07 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=375 Here is statement I issued for Anakbayan re possibility of Arroyo posting bail:

We in Anakbayan are dismayed with recent news indicating that former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo may be allowed to post bail and escape detention. This, after co-accused and former COMELEC chair Benjamin Abalos was allowed to post bail re charges of election sabotage due to failure to present witnesses.

If Arroyos manage to post bail and escape, the government of President Noynoy Aquino is to blame. It has been 2 years already, and it has failed to file strong cases against the former president. As it is, Aquino has allowed special treatment via hospital detention for the former president despite doctors’ findings that she is no longer sick.

Aquino’s failure to file a strong case vs GMA reinforces the Filipino people’s belief that the administration’s motive in ousting Corona is personal vendetta and not to bring GMA to justice.

Why are strong charges of plunder and ZTE, human rights violations and cases related to Hello Garci still not filed despite various complaints filed at the Ombundsman?

Is Aquino deliberately giving Arroyo a way out?

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State U student leaders vow to fight for right to education http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/state-u-student-leaders-vow-to-fight-for-right-to-education/ Thu, 07 Jun 2012 02:29:23 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=367 UP, PUP and other SUCs to hike fees

Student leaders from University of the Philippines (UP), Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and other state universities and colleges gathered yesterday in unity against fee hikes set to be implemented in state universities and colleges (SUCs) this school year.

Led by the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and Kabataan Partylist, the student leaders said the fee hikes will mean less access to education and more problems for Filipino students and their families.

Students lament the fact that after CHED has allowed 256 private schools to hike tuition, now government schools which are supposed to cater the poor are hiking fees.

“Gov’t is clearly abandoning its responsibility to send Filipinos to school,” said NUSP secretary general Issa Baguisi.

UP tuition hike

In UP, a P500 increase in tuition rates is expected through what the students call a “tuition rebracketing scheme.”

According to UP Student Regent Cleve Arguelles, the additional requirements for the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistce Program (STFAP) has resulted to a change in the “default bracket” which mean an increase in “base tuiton” from P1,000 per unit to P1,500 per unit in Diliman, Manila and Los Banos and from P600 to P1000 per unit in other campuses.

The UP admin has denied that it has implemented a tuition hike but confirmed that it has implemented a new STFAP scheme. Meanwhile, many students complain of “bracket sliding” or assignment to brackets with higher tuition.

“STFAP has acted as a smokescreen for increases in tuition, justifying the systematic and continuous abandonment of the government to its responsibility to provide enough subsidies, and transforming a public university into an income-generating institution that relies heavily on its own income,” Arguelles said.

He called for the immediate deferment of the implementation of the new scheme “pending policy consultation with other stakeholders” as well as “a comprehensive review of the STFAP taking into consideration the results of the studies of the different student institutions.”

Meanwhile, a #scrapSTFAP campaign has been launched by various groups on facebook and twitter to counter the new scheme.
A photo has been circulated on the internet saying “in UP, one is presumed rich until proven poor.”

PUP fee hike illegal

PUP student leaders meanwhile report a fee hike of at least P490 in insurance, medical and PE uniform fees which, according to them, was passed by the administration illegally.

According to PUP Student Regent Helen Alfonso, the fees are “exorbitant, unwarranted and unjust.”

Alfonso says these fees have not been included during the past because they are not applicable to all students. More importantly, many will not be able to afford PUP education any longer because of these fees.

She said the fees were not approved by the board and was deferred. Despite this, admin officials still implemented it.

Alfonso appealed to newly elected PUP president Emmanuel De Guzman, which the students supported, to stop the implementation of the new fees.

PUP has more than 68,000 students in 23 campuses nationwide.

NUSP also received reports of fee hikes in Ifugao State U, Benguet State University, Apayao State College, Mountain Province State Polytechnic College and Mindanao State University. Reports from other state schools are still being gathered.

Protests set

NUSP and the student leaders said they are gearing up for protests against the fee hikes and to call for greater spending for SUCs and education.

The operations budget for 58 SUCs have been slashed last year despite protests from students, teachers, and administration officials.

For students, these policies prove that Aquino is anti-education and anti-poor. It seems the policy of the administration is to hike education costs and push students to drop out.

Sa tuwid na daan, dirediretso din ang pagtataas ng tuition.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/421479_110830502390745_1210926706_n.jpg

http://kalasagcalupd.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/student-regent-statement-on-revised-stfap-scheme/

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Back-to-school: New tuition bracketing scheme hikes UP tuition by P500/unit http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/back-to-school-new-tuition-bracketing-scheme-hikes-up-tuition-by-p500unit/ Sat, 02 Jun 2012 14:24:09 +0000 http://www.vencercrisostomo.com/?p=255 Amidst rising drop-out rates, the country’s state university will implement schemes which will effectively hike tuition rates by about P500 per unit or about P10,000 each semester.

According to student groups, changes in the application process of the University of the Philippines (UP) Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP) will hike tuition rates by about 50-65%, or from P1000 to P1500 per unit for Diliman, Manila, and LB campuses, and from P600 to P1000 for Baguio, Pampanga, Visayas, and Mindanao campuses.]]> Amidst rising drop-out rates, the country’s state university will implement schemes which will effectively hike tuition rates by about P500 per unit or about P10,000 each semester.

According to student groups, changes in the application process of the University of the Philippines (UP) Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP) will hike tuition rates by about 50-65%, or from P1000 to P1500 per unit for Diliman, Manila, and LB campuses, and from P600 to P1000 for Baguio, Pampanga, Visayas, and Mindanao campuses.

Millionares’ bracket as default

STAF_implementation

A new memorandum released by the Office of Scholarships and Student Services (OSSS) requires students to submit certification and other documents indicating his or her family’s income. Failing to do so would assign a student to Bracket A or a “millionaires” bracket which tuition rates are at P1,500 per unit or P1000 per unit for other campuses.

Previously, a student who does not apply for STFAP is assigned to Bracket B or P1,000 per unit tuition or P600 per unit for the other campuses.

The UP administration has initially attempted to implemented the scheme last year but was withdrawn due to protests. But the damage has been done as reports from the Philippine Collegian indicated that more than half of the freshmen enrolled were classified under Bracket A.

Tuition increase in disguise

The STFAP is a “socialized” tuition rate scheme which the UP administration claims ensures that those with lower income benefit from state subsidy.

However, after over two decades of implementation of the STFAP, the number of UP Diliman students benefiting from free tuition dropped by almost 90 percent, according to data from the Collegian.

In 1991, one in every five undergraduate students in Diliman benefited from free tuition under the program. By 2010, only one in every one hundred students is granted free tuition.

Various student groups have assailed UP’s STFAP as a “smokescreen” for tuition hikes.

“This is tuition increase disguised (as a scholarship program),” said Marjohara Tucay, former editor in chief of the Collegian.

Income-generating scheme

In 2006, UP increased its tuition rates by 300% from P300 per unit to P1000 per unit.

According to reports, more than one third of UPCAT passers or around 1,300 of the 3,826 UP College Admission Test (UPCAT) qualifiers in UP Diliman (UPD) did not enrol last academic year, mainly due to high tuition rates.

The new tuition scheme is clearly an income-generating scheme being done by the UP administration as a result of budget cuts implemented by the government of President Benigno Aquino III during the past years.

Education a privilege under Aquino

The direction under Aquino’s education program for higher education is for state universities to commercialize and abandon its nature as a public university, thus abandoning its responsibility mandated by the constitution to provide free and accessibe education for all.

Taking UP’s cue, other state universities across the country have also expressed plans to increase tuition rates. Miscellaneous fees in Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) are set to increase by as much as P500. State universities in the Cordilleras are also set to increase tuition by 300%.

The government plan to further decrease public spending on education and hike tuition rates is grossly insensitive and condemnable. As it is, 8 out of 10 students drop out due to high tuition rates, according to CHED. Many parents won’t be able to send their children to school this year due to the government’s noynoying on tuition increases.

Various youth and teachers’ groups are calling for protests on June 4, first day of classes, to condemn Aquino’s education budget cuts and tuition increases.

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