Archive for the ‘education’ Category

“Prosti-tuition” rises with school fees

June 12, 2008

BAGUIO CITY — As tuition increase, more and more students are pushed to engage in prostitution to raise enough money for their schooling, thus the term “prosti-tuition.”

According to Theresa Manglicmot of Gabriela Youth (GY), students both male and female resort to this decadent practice because of the high cost of education and the perennial economic crisis in the country.

“It is a disturbing fact, but because of extreme poverty the students are forced to opt for this as their last resort just to finish their studies,” said Manglicmot.

In a study made by GY back in 2006, the number of students engaged in prostitution increase during enrollment and exam periods, the time when students need to pay their dues in school.

“Based on the interviews we conducted, it is a seasonal affair and one can really point out that their main concern for doing this is to be able to pay for their school fees,” said Manglicmot.

According to Manglicmot, the prostituted students are either seasonally hired by prostitution dens or by pimps, and earn through commission basis.

Most of the time the pimps wait outside school premises with a client to see the students and choose whoever the client wants to have sex with.

“But now, because of the advance in cyber technology, the Internet becomes a more lucrative means to earn extra money because they are directly paid by the customers for the cyber sex services they render,” said Manglicmot.

According to Director Rosario Marzo of the Office for Linkages and Exchange Programmes of the Saint Louis University (SLU) during a press conference, students are forced to resort to these activities because they have spent their money that their parents gave to them.

“These students resort to prostitution mainly because they misuse the funds intended for their school budget,” said Marzo adding that the lack of family values is the main reason why these students engage in prostitution.

Manglicmot on the other hand said “this increasing incidents of prosti-tuition is not based on the lack of family values but because of how the education system here in the country is becoming more of a privilege than a right, making it not accessible to those who cannot afford.”

Manglicmot also said Filipinos are driven by the hope to improve their economic status, thus they value education and view gaining a university diploma betters their chances for a more stable employment and brighter future.

“The status of the national economy and present government policies have however further constricted the right to and opportunities for education,” concluded Manglicmot # Cye Reyes(NorthernDispatch)

State School Tuition to Match Private School Rates by 2010

June 11, 2008

The leader of a youth group, citing the Philippine government’s own Long-Term Higher Education Development Plan (LTHEDP), said that tuition in state schools will match that of private schools by 2010.

BY BULATLAT
Vol. VIII, No. 18, June 8-14, 2008

The leader of a youth group, citing the Philippine government’s own Long-Term Higher Education Development Plan (LTHEDP), said that tuition in state schools will match that of private schools by 2010.

The plan prescribes the following targets for 2010: (1) the reduction of the number of SUCs by 20 percent; (2) the conversion of six SUCs to ‘semi-corporations;’ (3) the generation of income by 20 percent of SUCs through the sale of intellectual property rights and grants; (4) the establishment of active income-generating projects in 50 percent of SUCs; and (5) the collaboration with big business of 60 percent of SUCs.

One of the more controversial targets, according to Kabataang Pinoy chairman Dion Carlo Cerrafon, is the pegging of tuition rates at a level similar to that of private schools in 70 percent of state schools by 2010.

“These targets clearly go against present back-to-school government posturing on public tertiary education.”

He said incessant hikes in tuition in state schools, particularly at the University of the Philippines (UP), are clear indicators of the government’s resolve to meet the LTHEDP’s targets by 2010.

“Most state schools have already implemented the plan by increasing their internally-generated funds (IGF) through the privatization of auxiliary services and other revenue projects in the university. A number of SUCS, like UP and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), have already entered into joint ventures with profit-oriented entrepreneurs and big businesses, as already evident in the new ‘science and technology’ park being built in UP property Commonwealth avenue and call center offices and training center in PUP main campus,” he explained.

He added that in two separate memoranda by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in 1999 and 2000, 86 CHED supervised institutions (CSI) have been or are in the process of being integrated into SUCS. In six year, the number of SUCs was reduced by 154, from 264 in 1998 to 111 in 2004.

“LTHEDP slowly transforms state schools into efficient income earning entities with the long-term goal of making them self-reliant capable of running their institutions without government subsidy.

“Such policy not only justifies state abandonment of its responsibility to educate young Filipinos, but it also serves as the basis for schools to engage in money-making activities like joint ventures with corporations, selling of intellectual properties and other assets, income-generating projects, tuition adjustment and imposition of new fees. This ensures corporate dominance even in public education, making tertiary education the province of the elite,” Cerrafon pointed out.

“Unless we begin investing more on education and start reversing education policies that encourage commercialization, we will continue to see more students leaving college because of high fees and poverty,” he said. Bulatlat

More Students Transfer from Private to State Schools

June 11, 2008

But fee hikes, limited slots force transferees to dropout, says youth group

A growing number of the country’s college students are transferring from the private schools to state colleges and universities due to rising costs of private-school education. But state schools have been increasing their tuition and other fees in recent years. Because of this, thousands of college hopefuls might be forced to drop out of school this year.

BY BULATLAT
Vol. VIII, No. 18, June 8-14, 2008

A growing number of the country’s college students are transferring from private schools to state colleges and universities due to rising costs of private-school education. But state schools have been increasing their tuition and other fees in recent years. Because of this, thousands of college hopefuls might be forced to drop out of school this year.

Citing recent trends in enrollment, youth group Kabataang Pinoy revealed that due to the rising cost of education, more and more students enrolled in private higher education institutions are either forced to transfer to state schools or find themselves dropping out altogether.

Records from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) show that in 1980, only 10 percent of college students were studying in state schools. By 1994, the number went up to 21 percent and at present already accounts for almost 40 percent of the country’s tertiary-level student population.

“But many of these transferees will find themselves dropping out of college. The problem is, there are no more rooms in state schools either,” Kabataang Pinoy President Dion Carlo Cerrafon said.

“State universities and colleges (SUCs) are confronted by similar problems. Poor education spending and annual budget cutbacks force state schools to impose enrolment quotas and increase fees, forcing many state scholars to leave,” he added.
As a result, Cerrafon said, access to public higher education institutions, which is the last resort for students who want to obtain a college degree, has become impossible to many college hopefuls.

“While it is true that SUCs offer tuition lower than private schools, tuition rate and miscellaneous fees in state schools and universities have seen the biggest increases in recent years, thus making SUC education also inaccessible to ordinary students,” he explained.

Last year, the University of the Philippines (UP) increased its tuition by 300 percent, from P300 ($6.50 at last year’s average exchange rate of $1:P46.15) to P1,000 ($21.67) per unit.

Another state institution, the Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST) in Manila, implemented a 600-percent tuition hike, resulting in a 50-percent drop in enrollment last school year. From last year’s P15 ($0.32) per unit, EARIST now charges P100 ($2.27 at the June 6 exchange rate of $1:P44.14) per unit. Laboratory fees also increased from P25 ($0.54 at 2007 rate) to P500 ($11.33 at June 6 rate).

The Philippine Normal University (PNU) had already increased its tuition by 400 percent in 2003.

The country’s biggest state school in terms of population, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), was also poised to hike its tuition by 525 percent last year but was forced to shelve its plan due to massive student protests. It would have increased tuition from P12.50 ($0.27 at 2007 rate) to P75 ($1.62) per unit.

Cerrafon said state schools are also forced to accept only a limited number of students due to budget cuts.

Last year, the University of the Philippines (UP) Office of Admissions said some 66,000 high school graduates all over the country applied for the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT). But only an average of 12,000 applicants are admitted each year. For example, some 14,000 applicants on the average seek to enter the UP College of Nursing but only 70 or 0.5 percent are admitted.

The same goes with PUP. PUP has 16 branches and extensions in Luzon and each unit conducts its own PUPCET (Polytechnic University of the Philippines College Entrance Test). In PUP’s main campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila, more than 50,000 thousand students take up the entrance test every year but only 10 to 13 thousand on the average are admitted. One of the lowest passing rates in PUPCET history was recorded in 2006, when only 7,357 examinees passed the entrance test.

Cerrafon added that the increases in tuition and other fees would certainly have an effect on the enrolment of poor but deserving students coming from the provinces.

“Rising fees will certainly daunt bright students from depressed and remote areas of the country from enrolling in UP or other big state schools and eventually force them to settle for poorly-maintained state colleges in the provinces or worse, give up their college dream.”

Studies from private think-tanks and international organizations show the effects of rising cost of education, even in public higher education institutions. In June 2004, the Wallace report pegged college dropout rate at a staggering all-time high of 73 percent. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) National Commission of the Philippines, on the other hand, reported a measly 22-percent overall student survival rate from 1st to 4th year college. Bulatlat

School papers flood 1st-day-of-class protests with ‘Pubs Baha’

June 10, 2008

Campus publications flooded today’s opening of classes as the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) welcomed students with their traditional ‘Pubs Baha.’

‘Pubs Baha’ is a customary protest activity for CEGP’s member publications. It is characterized by the distribution of old and new issues of a campus publication to students by editors and staff, especially if the publication is experiencing campus press freedom violations.

CEGP member publications simultaneously distributed their respective campus papers today in different colleges and universities as ‘a symbol of the campus press’ renewed commitment to uphold youth and students’ rights and welfare, and to be instruments of social change.’

“For this year’s school opening, we are giving ‘Pubs Baha’ a twist. Our message is for students to meet the school year aware and vigilant of past and present issues that have hounded them as published in our publications, ” said CEGP national president Vijae Alquisola.

Alquisola said that among the most pressing issues that students should address head on are the yearly education and tuition woes, press freedom violations, the economic crisis, corruption in government and human rights violations.

Among the publications which participated were the University of the PhilippinesPhilippine Collegian, UP Manila’s Manila Collegian, Ateneo’s Matanglawin, Polytechnic University of the Philippines‘ The Catalyst, the EARIST Technozette, University of Makati’s The Makati Collegian, Philippine Normal University’s Torch and the Arellano Herald.

The ‘Pubs Baha’ was the CEGP’s main participation in the Youth Action Day planned by different youth and student organizations for today’s school opening.

Simultaneous protest actions commenced at lunchtime today along Taft Avenue, the University Belt and Katipunan consortia of schools with the theme, ‘Balik-Eskwela, Balik-Sigla ang Protesta.’

Alquisola also announced that the CEGP is set to release a pooled editorial calling for ‘renewed youth vigilance and action for truth, accountability and social change’ to be published by CEGP’s 700 member publications nationwide in the first weeks of classes. ###

College editors to spearhead first-day-of- school ‘Pubs Baha’

June 9, 2008

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) today announced that it would greet school opening with its traditional ‘Pubs Baha’.

‘Pubs Baha’ is a customary protest activity for CEGP’s member publications. It is characterized by a ‘downpour distribution (baha)’ of old and new issues of a campus publication to students by editors and staff, especially if the publication is experiencing campus press freedom violations.

CEGP National President Vijae Alquisola announced that their member publications will simultaneously distribute their respective campus papers tomorrow, June 10, the first day of classes, in different colleges and universities.

“For this year’s school opening, we are giving ‘Pubs Baha’ a twist. Our message is for students to meet the school year aware and vigilant of past and present issues that have hounded them as published in our publications, ” said CEGP national president Vijae Alquisola.

Alquisola said that among the most pressing issues that students should address head on are the yearly education and tuition woes, press freedom violations, the economic crisis, corruption in government and human rights violations.

Campus publications expected to participate are the University of the PhilippinesPhilippine Collegian, UP Manila’s Manila Collegian, Ateneo’s Matanglawin, Polytechnic University of the Philippines‘ The Catalyst, the EARIST Technozette, University of Makati’s The Makati Collegian, Philippine Normal University’s Torch and the Arellano Herald.

The ‘Pubs Baha’ will be the CEGP’s main participation in the Youth Action Day planned by different youth and student organizations for tomorrow’s school opening.

Simultaneous protest actions are expected to commence at lunchtime tomorrow in Taft Avenue, the University Belt and Katipunan consortia of schools with the theme, ‘Balik-Eskwela, Balik-Sigla ang Protesta.’

“We are enjoining our fellow editors and writers to participate and launch their own ‘Pubs Baha’ as a symbolic action of the campus press’ collective vigilance,” Alquisola said.

He announced that they are set to release a pooled editorial calling for ‘renewed youth vigilance and action for truth, accountability and social change’ to be published by CEGP’s 700 member publications nationwide in the first weeks of classes. ###

Leapfrogging basic education quality into global standards

June 9, 2008

By Fernando del Mundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:30:00 06/09/2008

MANILA, Philippines—He has a reputation as a crisis manager, one who thinks out of the box to solve problems.

No less is required of Jesli Lapus as he confronts a task that requires the perseverance of Sisyphus ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain.

Since he was named secretary of the Department of Education in August 2006, Lapus has done more than his five predecessors under the 7-year-old administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

To accomplish his mission at DepEd, Lapus has used every bit of the experience he has amassed as an accountant, banker, congressman, Cabinet member in two previous administrations and UN diplomat.

“We’re seeing a lot of convergence of support because when I came in I went to town,” he says, catching his breath, wiping sweat dripping down his red shirt with letters in white saying “Brigada Eskwela.”

Lapus, 58, had just returned from two launchings of the Brigada project, which mobilizes communities, non-government organizations and business groups to clean schools in preparation for the opening of classes.

“I told the businessmen this is where you have the highest return on investment. We have to show that in deed, not just lip service.”

He gave the Philippine Daily Inquirer a 12-page summary report of what the DepEd had accomplished over the past decade, including record achievements in the one year and eight months he had been its secretary.

Lapus says that in the last year, the business community alone had donated a record P4 billion to the government’s “adopt a school program.”

He has wangled from Congress, where he was once deputy chair of the powerful appropriations commission, the highest budgetary outlay for DepEd in the last two years, reaching P149 billion this year.

Fair share

“We’re getting a fair share of what is available,” says Lapus. “What’s available is defined as the limits of government in revenue generation.”

As a representative of Tarlac province in Congress, where he served for nine years, Lapus spearheaded fiscal reforms that had resulted in budget savings, a credit upgrade, low interests and strengthening of the peso.

In the last two years, he has built 20,102 classrooms, appointed 5,890 head teachers and principals. Before 2006, about 58 percent, or 26,644, of the nation’s public schools were “headless,” Lapus says.

He also added 7,237 teachers in 2006 and 16,334 in 2007, bringing the total to over 471,000 attending to the needs of 17 million students in public schools.

Assistance to private high schools hosting students subsidized by the government went up to P625,083.

Beneficiaries of the DepEd’s feeding program soared by over 300 percent in 2006, costing the government P2.7 billion last year. Hunger and malnutrition are keeping children out of school.

Upward curve

There has been a slight upward learning curve, still depressing but nevertheless welcome in a regime of steady decay in the past decades.

National achievement test results for Grade 6 and fourth year high school students have increased slightly, although way below passing standards, but Lapus is upbeat that with all the combined initiatives of the DepEd and the private sector more improvements will be forthcoming.

Lapus has initiated innovations in the procurement of textbooks and other supplies, earning commendation from the World Bank. He has also lowered the cost of textbooks and “unbundled” the bidding process, so that contracts are separate for content, publishing and delivery.

All of his activities are directed at achieving objectives laid out in the basic education sector reform agenda or BESRA. The idea is to “leapfrog the quality of basic education into global standards” by tightening system governance and enhancing “school-based management.”

“I’m just passing by this department,” Lapus says. “What I try to do is to institutionalize internal controls.”

But with a burgeoning population, four babies born every minute that translate into one classroom every 10 minutes, education is a mind-boggling catch-as-catch-can task.(PDI)

Rice dole in schools a burden to parents

June 9, 2008

By Jocelyn Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:59:00 06/09/2008

MANILA, Philippines—The government’s food-for-school program has become more of a burden than a relief to parents and teachers because of poor distribution, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).

In a report, the COA said students, parents and school officials had to spend personal money to transport rice doles from National Food Authority (NFA) drop-off points to their schools and that much of the staple they received was of “poor quality.”

In the 24 schools in Northern Mindanao (Region 10) alone, students had to shell out P30 each while parents and teachers P500 to P1,000 each to cover various expenses in transporting sacks of rice from NFA delivery points to their schools last year, the COA said.

In the Ilocos (Region 1), 825 parents of schoolchildren entitled to receive the rice doles were found to have spent a total of P83,240 just to haul the supplies from the depots.

The Department of Education first launched the program during school year 2004-05 in a bid to arrest the rising incidence of malnutrition among public elementary students and improve school attendance.

Under the program, each elementary student is provided a kilo of rice each day for five days. Sometimes, school officials prefer to distribute five kilos of rice on a Friday or the last school day of the week to save time.

In its 2007 report on the DepEd, the COA said P36.9 million worth of rice (or 1,808,127.39 kilos) was delivered by the NFA to selected drops instead of the designated storage areas of 456 school-beneficiaries nationwide.

It noted that this was contrary to the agreement between the NFA and DepEd, which stated that the food agency must ensure that the rice allocations were delivered directly to the schools. In cases where rice was delivered to drop-off centers, the NFA will shoulder the expenses for the final stretch to the school recipients, the agreement stated.

Losses to pests, thieves

But a survey conducted by the COA revealed that in most instances, the rice subsidies were instead delivered to drop-off points “selected at will” by the NFA delivery personnel on grounds of poor roads and long distances.

“Noncompliance with the DepEd guidelines … resulted in unnecessary expenses and waste of time and effort by concerned school personnel and parent-pupil beneficiaries,” the COA said.

It further noted that the lack of adequate storage rooms in target schools in at least eight regions, including Metro Manila, exposed the rice doles to pests and thieves.

A total of 101 sacks and 23 kilos of rice were spoiled by pests while 62 sacks and 25 kilos of the staple were lost to robbers.

Rat-infested warehouses

Some of the rice allocations were found kept in rat-infested and dirty, dilapidated school bodegas and in storerooms with heavy-duty padlocks.

Thieves carted away 435 kilos of rice from Julian V. Antonio Elementary School in Bolo, Masbate City, last year. Four elementary schools in the Division of Capiz reported that 290 kilos of NFA rice worth P5,800 were stolen.

Robbery incidents were also reported in schools in Bohol, Eastern Samar, Dipolog City and Mutia town in Zamboanga del Norte, among others. The COA described the loss as minimal.

Not iron-fortified

The government spent double for the program last school year from P1.3 billion covering school years 2004 to 2006 to P3.4 billion, it noted.

The COA also found the NFA to have distributed some P4.5 million worth of rice (238,625 kilos) that was not “iron-fortified” and was “poorly sealed” in six regions last year.

These areas were identified as Albay and Catanduanes in Bicol (Region 5); Antique and Capiz in Western Visayas (Region 6); Leyte and Eastern Samar in Eastern Visayas (Region 8); Zamboanga Sibugay in Western Mindanao (Region 9); Davao del Norte in Southern Mindanao (Region 11) and all the division offices in Caraga (Region 13).

Under the provisions of the program, one sack of 50-kg iron-fortified rice should be repacked into one-kilogram bags to facilitate distribution. But if the rice variety was not available, the NFA could give out well-milled rice as a substitute.

“Most deliveries by the NFA were well-milled rice instead of the iron-fortified rice required under the program guidelines,” the COA said, “weakening the attainment of the program’s objective of improving the nutritional status of the pupil-beneficiaries.”

Insects, weevils and other pests, staple wires and a foul smell were detected in the rice distributed in Eastern Visayas. Schools there had been asked to return the staple.(PDI)

‘No classroom shortage? Lapus should tell us another’

June 9, 2008

THE militant Kabataang Pinoy yesterday belied the claims of Education Secretary Jesli Lapus that there would be no classroom shortage despite the projected increase in students for this school year.

“While the Department of Education displays a business-as-usual-attitude for the school opening on June 10 we expect that back-to-school problems will be worse than ever,” Kabataang Pinoy president Dion Carlo Cerrafon said.

This year’s students reached 21 million from 20 million last year.

Cerrafon cited what he called the dismal state of classrooms and facilities and the severe shortage of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools.

Lapus has assured no classroom shortage saying 10,472 classrooms are under construction.

He also said they aim to reach classroom-student ratio of 1:45 this school year from the previous 1:50.

But Cerrafon said based on the data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) the class size in the Philippines still pales in comparison to Malaysia (1:31.7), Thailand (1:22.9), Japan (1:28.6).

He said in India the ratio is 1:40 despite its one billion plus population.

The Unesco data showed the Philippines has an average high school class size of 56.1, higher than Malaysia’s 34, Thailand’s 41.5, Japan’s 33.9 and India’s 39.

The data also show that teacher-pupil ratio for the primary level in the Philippines (1:35) far exceeds that of Thailand (1:18), Malaysia (1:17), Indonesia (1:20), Japan (1:19), and China (1:18).

Cerrafon said previous studies made by the DepEd also show that 80 percent of public schools have no running water, 60 percent have no toilets, 40 percent have no ceilings and 50 percent have no electricity.

Cerrafon said government mis-prioritization and poor education spending, aggravated by rampant graft and corruption, are to be blamed for a worsening crisis in education.

The 2008 budget for education is P149 billion from last year’s P132 billion.

NO COLLECTION FEES

Franklin Sunga, DepEd under-secretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs, said collection of fees in public schools will not start until July.

Sunga said contributions for Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP), Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP), Red Cross, Anti-TB fund, for the campus publication and the Parents Teachers Community Association (PTCA) may only be authorized or collected on the second month of the school year onwards.

“The collection of the fees will be on a specific day next month and it is the organization itself which will collect the amount and not the teachers,” he said.

Sunga reiterated that these rules apply to Grade 5 up to fourth year high school students, adding that all collections from Grades 1 to 4 are banned.

Under the rules, he said the BSP and GSP will take charge of their contributions.

He said teachers are not allowed to collect fees for anti-tuberculosis programs, identification cards and the school paper.

The DepEd Order also requires that PTCAs can only collect fees once they have presented to their members and to the school administration a report on the utilization of the previous school year’s collection.

The school publication fee shall not be more than P60 per elementary school pupil and P90 per secondary school student, it said.

But most importantly, Sunga said these contributions should all be voluntary.

OPLAN BALIK PAARALAN

The PNP alerted its 125,000 personnel to implement a security and public safety plan dubbed “Oplan Balik Paaralan” in time for tomorrow’s school opening.

“On June 10, as early as 4 a.m., we will start the deployment of policemen in the vicinity of schools with the support of barangay tanods, security guards, and local government officials,” Director Leopoldo Bataoil, chief of the directorate for police community relations, said.

Bataoil said that policemen were instructed to watch out for petty crimes such as snatching, robbery-holdup.

Chief Supt. Nicanor Bartolome, PNP spokesman, said PNP chief Avelino Razon gave regional police directors the discretionary authority to raise alert levels as they see it fit to effectively implement Oplan Balik Paaralan.

The Traffic Enforcement Group (TEG) of NCRPO will spearhead traffic management operations particularly in the University Belt area in coordination with the Metro Manila Development Authority. – Ashzel Hachero, Jocelyn Montemayor and Raymond Africa

Campus press reports 279 cases of campus press freedom violations

June 8, 2008


CEGP calls halt to censorship, harassment

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) today reported that it has documented a total of 297 cases of violations against campus press freedom, mostly involving tuition-related issues.

Of these, 61 are cases of adviser/moderator intervention, 64 of censorship and 41 of harassment. Other complaints concerned with publication fee collection, the non-release of publication fee funds and illegal closure of publications are also included in the report.

The 279 cases of violations from 53 respondent campus publications nationwide were gathered in a caucus held during the CEGP National Convention last May.

CEGP National President Vijae Alquisola said that violations against campus press freedom sprung mostly from tuition-related issues and students’ assertion of their right to education and other democratic rights in campus.

“Campus editors and writers are easy victims of campus repression, censorship and harassment because of their orientation to uphold the interests of students,” Alquisola said.

Alquisola earlier demanded a halt to censorship, harassment and campus press repression in light of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’ s announcement of a tuition hike freeze.

Alquisola said that one of the gravest cases of harassment reported to them is that of false theft charges filed against Tandem editor-in-chief Ma. Criselda Diocena. Tandem is the official campus publication of the University of Northern Philippines, and a member publication of the CEGP.

The UNP-Vigan administration filed false charges of theft against Diocena who it accuses of stealing a computer CPU (central processing unit).

Diocena has denied the charges and has cried harassment by school administrators because of her hard stance against the university’s proposed tuition increases. UNP increased tuition last year eliciting widespread protests from students.

Diocena was unable to get a clearance to take her final exams this summer and, as a result, is unable to enroll for the incoming school year. The case has also resulted in the UNP administration’ s illegal closure of the publication.

In a press conference held this morning, Diocena said that she is mulling over filing counter charges of grave slander and harassment against the UNP administration. She had already filed a complaint to the Commission on Higher Education last year but the agency is yet to address her case.

Alquisola said that they are also set to present Diocena’s case and other complaints to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Technical and Higher Education (CTHE) hearing on June 11.

WAYWARD AND FANCIFUL: A radical solution. By Gail Ilagan/MindaNews

June 8, 2008

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 June) — The progressive economic crunch has forced many quality schools to adopt an open admission policy for their own survival. There are two ways to go from there: one, the school also lowers its standards to maximize cohort survival of an increasingly heterogeneous mix of students; or two, teachers have to adjust teaching strategies to bring the competencies of less prepared students up to a level that would allow them to deal with college material.

It’s safe to say that we would all prefer the second option. It would be very unfair for the school to knowingly accept ill-prepared students, only to process them through the revolving door. That’s like we take your money, you take your chances. The call to education is more than just taking someone’s money and helping him spend it. We must believe that there are still teachers out there who still get their kicks from seeing the lesson sinking in, and never mind if their own stomachs are growling from hunger because, oh you know why. We’re not whining. Nope.

We – you included – are not in denial anymore. The concern for the decline in the academic competencies of our young has been mainstreamed for some years now. Schools at all levels all over the country are in various stages of implementing interventions to address the concern. Much effort and resources have been devoted both by the government and the school systems to prioritize proactive measures. There must be a few that work – mostly in that rare small classroom where the teacher:student ratio is higher, but on the whole, we seem to just blunder on for lack of inspiration.

That’s good, too. At least, for the moment. Blundering on is not a very cost-effective way to solve problems, but we do get to understand more about the problem by learning from our mistakes.

The good thing is that we are not in denial anymore. We have gone beyond finding people and causes to blame for the dismal performance of our students in global tests of competencies and have buckled down to really try and understand the problem. Maybe soon, we would be able to hit on the right formula and redirect the trial-and-error measures for optimal gains.

Oh, okay. We – you included – have to find the solution soon. The figures on math performance are screaming red alert. It seems like we tried just about everything.

For example, despite the adoption of a highly recommended textbook for teaching mathematics that had to be imported from the US, a high standard high school in the region was flummoxed to find four years later that their students’ performance in math was progressively declining by two points every year. At that rate, half of the class was projected to fail fourth year math.

So maybe the book was not the solution. After all, it was a “Look west/white man, save me” kneejerk solution. Considering the US’ problem with the math performance of its students in tests of global competency, the school’s administrators should have had reason to find the recommendation of the American textbook suspect in the first place.

Still, a book is a book is a book. That book had all the required basic concepts and more, but it proved little help in arresting – much less reversing – the decline in math performance of the students.

Don’t blame the teachers either. These are among the best trained, highly qualified, tech-savvy instructors who have had a lot of input on using multi-media to impart concepts and procedures. And they use all these newfangled teaching complements with a very enthusiastic hand, too. Their classes are in awe of the computer effects and all.

But – and it’s a very big but- the kids still can’t compute without a calculator. Don’t wonder why. All that these multi-media demonstrations do is to subliminally suggest to the student that the solution will emerge at the push of a button, complete with the sound of magic for effect, lest you miss it. We just assume that learning is fun under these circumstances. It’s fun, alright. But little learning takes place. You see, student and serious go together. The best learners care enough to be serious about it.

For math, at least, there is no substitute for the paper-and-pencil and board work techniques which we have so readily abandoned for more creative teaching strategies. But don’t take my word for it. Study upon study show that multi-media techniques are no more effective than the tried-and-true method of teaching math. The fixation for this newfangled crap is just to dignify how we have all been suckered by the aggressive marketing and glossy advertisements. Schools acquire them and use them as a selling point. Parents demand state-of-the-art technology for their children because it has been equated with quality education. It assures them that they’re getting their money’s worth.

But really? It’s hard to see that when the math competency is still on retrograde.

Please pause. Take the blinkers off. Has the human mind changed in the way it processes abstract information? Why fix something that ain’t broke? Skimming the surface, the way audio-visual information does, is not the way to lay a solid, deep-below-the-surface-that-no-one-can-take-away foundation to the student’s education. That’s how the young end up broken.

The multi-media generation is likely to get to college with a lousy understanding of mathematical concepts and an erroneous grasp of the rules. They just don’t know when these rules are applicable. You see, people weaned on the pushbutton don’t learn to make judicious decisions. But don’t take my word for it. Study after study on this generation shows that computational errors are most frequent for interpretation and application of concepts underlying set notations, real number systems, algebraic expressions, special products, factoring, and rational expressions.

Prof. Gina Lapaza-Montalan of the ADDU Math Department shared during the general faculty meeting last 2 June 2008 that an incoming freshman told her he was not taught radicals in high school. “But when I drew a square root, he recognized it was a square root. It was not a radical for him, though,” she said.

Probing further, Gina found that the student was fixated with the “square root, square root,” such that even when she gave him a cube root or a fourth root, he still thought of it as a square root. Very strange indeed.

Anyway, that student would be among the incoming freshmen at the Ateneo who would be having daily class sessions for college algebra. Students like him constitute more than half of the incoming freshmen. The ADDU hopes that with intensive practice and instruction, these students would be able to bridge gaps in basic education enough to pass college algebra at the ADDU. Give it the old college try, or else don’t let the revolving door hit you on your way out.

The 5-unit algebra class, by the way, is Ateneo’s response to the lack of good news from the employment of the bridging program. In the previous years, freshman applicants who failed the math subtest of the entrance exam were advised to take a 4-week refresher course before their entry to college. However, records show that while their performance improved, it did not improve enough for a significant number to survive college algebra.

So, we’re trying another way. Or, if you must, you can say that we at the Ateneo soldier on, as most schools are probably doing these days, too. Oh, well – it’s a lot better than sitting down and pointing fingers, don’t you think? Let’s hope that Gina and her teachers have a lot of paper, pencils, and chalk, as well as a well-developed ear to really hear what students have to say when gently asked “Why did you do it that way?”

Maybe then they would be able to adjust teaching strategies to elicit from the poor students that “a-ha! moment” complete with internally-driven sounds of magic, more glorious than any preprogrammed computer effect. (Wayward and Fanciful is Gail Ilagan’s column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Ilagan teaches Social Justice, Family Sociology, Theories of Socialization and Psychology at the Ateneo de Davao University where she is also the associate editor of Tambara. You may send comments to
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“Send at the risk of a reply,” she says)

Bukidnon clergy: all eyes on BOR decision on CMU’s Lao

June 8, 2008

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/5 June) – The Bukidnon clergy, led by Bishop Honesto Pacana, has remained steadfast in its position against Central Mindanao University President Mardonio Lao, who defended himself last week amid calls for his ouster due to tenure and land-related issues.

Fr. Jonathan Tianero, speaking on behalf of Pacana, said the bishop won’t fire back at Lao because “he knows where he stands” even if Lao accused the prelate of helping an investigation for his ouster.

Instead, Tianero said, they are looking forward to the upcoming CMU Board of Regents meeting, where they expect Lao to be stripped of his post and a search committee for his successor would be formed.

He said the BOR, headed by Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chair Romulo Neri, is expected to meet tomorrow, June 6.

Tianero said they are optimistic about a BOR decision against Lao since the CHED’s legal opinion on the extension of Lao’s “services” as CMU president was “void and illegal.”

In a press conference on May 30 in CMU, Lao told members of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas – Bukidnon chapter that it was Pacana who reported him to Malacañang.

Tianero said Lao even allegedly accused the bishop of railroading the investigation conducted by the Presidential Management Staff, following a trail of letters for a probe coming from Pacana and Bukidnon Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr.

The bishop’s letter to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Tianero said, was based on documented complaints not just from the priests but also from the students, faculty, farmers and lumads.

“There is nothing personal in it. He only did it to help the people who sought the aid of the Church,” Tianero said.

Tianero said the process could take a long time involving more people.

Lao said last week he would await a decision from the Court of Appeals on a motion for reconsideration the university filed over the land dispute involving Presidential Proclamation 310 delineating at least 670 hectares of CMU lands to lumads.

CMU has taken a legal course to evade the order, invoking its rights to the titled lands.

“We will give in if there’s a decision on that but until there is none, we won’t allow them (lumads) in,” Lao said earlier.

Tianero claimed the BOR under Neri may treat the issue of land dispute and Lao’s tenure as two separate issues. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)

Bukidnon school exec asks PTCA to refund collections

June 8, 2008

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / June 6) – The chief Education official here has ordered the Parents-Teachers Community Associations in some schools to refund what they collected from parents during enrolment.

Dr. Gloria Benigno, Department of Education Bukidnon chief, told reporters here Friday that she would order a refund of the payments collected “in order to stick to the department order” and identified the PTCA in the erring schools which collected from parents before students were admitted for enrolment.

She said there were five schools which admitted that they allowed the PTCA to collect fees and contributions despite an order prohibiting collection of all types. She clarified that the DepEd in the province had implemented DepEd Order 19 issued by Education Sec. Jesli Lapus on March 19 which
removed all kinds of collections this school year.

Lapuz ordered no collections from school children enrolling in pre-school to Grade VI in the first month of classes, which covers even payments for BSP, GSP, Red Cross, Anti-TB and PTCA. Except for Grade VI and VI, no collection is allowed “at anytime during the school year”.

Benigno clarified it was the PTCA, not the teachers who did it, based on interviews she did with school principals.

Florante Corpuz, DepEd Bukidnon deputy superintendent, told reporters that there were no guidelines though that were passed on how to deal with erring schools for now.

“It’s up for our Secretary (Lapus) to deal with them,” he said.

Benigno said she reported the schools to the national office, which required schools divisions this week to report on the compliance of the order.

Corpuz said collections of voluntary contributions from PTCA would be allowed only in July, but only for higher school levels, for fifth and sixth grades. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)

‘SAFE-4-SR as VAT-deodorant, smokescreen for educ budget cuts’

June 6, 2008

June 6, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Gov’t hitting two birds with one stone via student loan scheme

‘SAFE-4-SR as VAT-deodorant, smokescreen for educ budget cuts’

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) today criticized Malacanang’s Student Assistance Fund for Education for a Strong Republic (SAFE-4-SR) program saying that it is a mere ‘VAT-deodorant’ and that it does not address the problem of poor state subsidy for state colleges and universities (SUCs).

CEGP National President Vijae Alquisola said that the SAFE-4-SR may be described as a ‘double whammy’ for students in that it is ‘not even a genuine subsidy for SUCs but a student loan program meant to pass on the burden to students who are also laden with government’s VAT imposition.’

Under the SAFE-for-SR, P500 million will be allotted to 60 thousand needy Iskolars ng Bayan in their junior and graduating years through a ‘one-time P8,000 interest-free loan’.

The P500 million allegedly came from the ‘fruits of VAT collection’ from oil and electricity during the first quarter of this year.

“With the SAFE-for-SR, Mrs. Arroyo attempts to hit two birds with one stone by flaunting alleged fruits of the highly unpopular VAT while riding on students’ popular protest against the rising cost of education during this season of opening of classes,” Alquisola said.

Smokescreen

Alquisola said that the SAFE-for-SR, like Arroyo’s statement of a tuition moratorium in SUCs, is a mere attempt to smokescreen the problem of yearly budget cuts for SUCs.

Alquisola cited that for this year, SUCs got a meager share of 1.84 percent of the national budget compared to last year’s 2.74 percent allocation. He added, “Malacanang’ s statement that SUCs have no reason to hike their tuitions for this school year because budget for SUCs was increased is completely false.”

“In fact, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines which collects the cheapest tuition fee among SUCs has not had an increase in budget since Arroyo assumed office in 2001. If anything, it has suffered a total of approximately P6 million in budget cuts over the years.”

Alquisola said that subsidy-sprees and student loan programs such as the SAFE-for-SR fail to address the problem of low government spending for education as the root cause of SUCs’ inability to accommodate more needy students in the tertiary level. ###

University execs explain tuition hikes

June 6, 2008

“SCHOOLS are also affected by outside forces.”

Increase in school fees is imposed not because of the whim of a school’s administration but because they also need to address the clamor of teachers for a salary increase as well as to continually improve their facilities.

University of Baguio (UB) executive vice president Armando Galimba said universities in the city have been considerate of the plight of parents, reason why the increases done are very moderate compared to other schools outside of the Cordillera.

Galimba said even with a modest increase, quality education has been maintained, reason why students from Northern Luzon prefer studying in Baguio, despite the put-up of colleges and universities in their own provinces.

Compared also to state universities and colleges (SUCs) where some of its funds are subsidized by the government, private higher educational institutions (HEIs) depend on fees paid by its students to defray expenses, University of the Cordilleras chairman of the board Benjamin Salvosa said.

But on top of the increases they impose are their mandate to deliver quality education, Salvosa added.

To improve the quality of education, new equipment, facilities, books and training for teachers would have to be done, they say.

And while there are sectors that complain of the increases which is usually done annually, panelists who attended last Thursday’s regular Kapihan sa Baguio said parents usually expect an increase and have actually prepared for this.

What made this year’s increase a burden to parents is that this took place at a time when fare and the prices of basic commodities have gone up.

Asked of the possibility of imposing a one-time increase and later on stop increases for a period of at least five years, Galimba said this will be more burdensome than the staggered increases that schools usually impose.(SunStarBaguio)

=================

My Take: Same old palusot.  Same old lies.  Taun-taon tu,ataas ang tuition pero lagi namang bulok ang cr ng mga schools.  Sira ang mga kisame.  Di tumataas ang sweldo ng mga titser.  Di tumataas ang passing rate sa mga licensure exams.  Hay naku.

UP students stage ‘cultural protest’

June 5, 2008

UP students stage ‘cultural protest’

By KATHERINE ADRANEDA
The Philippine Star

Students of the University of the Philippines in Diliman yesterday staged a “cultural protest” to kick off their weeklong action against tuition fee increase.

With songs, poems and speeches against tuition hike and alleged exorbitant fees in their school, members of the Ugnayang Multi-sektoral Laban sa Komersyalisasyon– College of Mass Communication, an alliance of student organizations in UP, demanded the rollback of the 300-percent tuition increase in their university that was implemented last year in view of the skyrocketing prices of oil, energy and basic commodities. The group held their program in front of students queuing for their enrolment forms.

Marian Rose Uichanco, convenor of UMAKSYON–CMC, said that a rollback on their tuition will definitely bring economic relief to the families of freshmen and sophomores in UP. These batches, she noted, were the ones affected by the tuition hike.

State universities and colleges like UP should be catering to the financially underprivileged during these difficult times. But now that UP has tuition that is comparable to private universities, with P1,000 per unit as base bracket, the country’s premiere state university has conclusively negated its orientation as a university for the underprivileged but deserving students,” Uichanco said. At the same time, the students called for the scrapping of laboratory fees in their college.

Jose Carlos Maningat, spokesperson of the League of Filipino Students–CMC, said laboratory fees in their college range from P200 to P1,200 while there remains pending petitions for laboratory fees hike in more than 10 subjects, which are also set to be approved this semester.

Maningat said that the amount of laboratory fees now has a significant economic value especially since the disposable income of families nowadays has already shrunk from its real value due to soaring prices of basic commodities.

“A laboratory fee of P600 if scrapped, for instance, can mean additional 16 kilos of rice for a Filipino family,” Maningat said.



“Only through militant struggle can the best in the youth emerge. Only through the struggle can the fighting forces be constantly replenished by the ceaseless inflow of new blood.”
-JMS, Youth on the March

Visit the new LFS Website: www.lfs.ph


“Only through militant struggle can the best in the youth emerge. Only through the struggle can the fighting forces be constantly replenished by the ceaseless inflow of new blood.”
-JMS, Youth on the March

Visit the new LFS Website: www.lfs.ph

Students protest in Morayta vs high tuition

June 5, 2008

Militant student groups on Monday afternoon trooped to Morayta near Malacañang to protest the tuition increases in private colleges and universities, GMA’s Flash Report said.

The television report said that the protest started around 1 p.m. when members of College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and other youth and student organizations marched toward C.M. Recto avenue from the University of Santo Tomas (UST)…

To continue reading, click http://www.gmanews. tv/story/ 98698/Students- protest-in- Morayta-vs- high-tuition

COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES
Rm 305, National Press Club Bldg., Intramuros,
Manila, Philippines
Tele Fax.: 524-3937
Email: cegpnational@ yahoo.com
“To Write Is Already To Choose”

CEGP to UNP Administrators: The fight will continue until Tandem re-opens, repression ends

June 5, 2008

04 June 2008

PRESS STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Reference:

Vijae Alquisola, President, 09162034402

CEGP to UNP Administrators:
The fight will continue until Tandem re-opens, repression ends
This should be the prime agenda of today’s University of Northern Philippines Board of Regents meeting: to hold the violators of students’ democratic rights accountable.
The closure of TANDEM, the official student publication of UNP is nothing but a desperate attempt by UNP President Lauro Tacbas and his cohorts to prevent the issue of the “illegal” 33% tuition increase last year from reaching the students and thwart the possibilities of collective resistance against the said increase.
TANDEM members have been experiencing various cases of harassment from the school administration. Editor-in-chief Criselda Diocena was banned from taking her final examinations and was even charged with a baseless accusation of theft.
The CEGP strongly denounces the latter. The Guild considers the attack as part of a greater plan to further silence the TANDEM from voicing out different student issues inside the university and exposing the bleak future of the youth under the Arroyo regime.
Such move by the school administration leads to the illegal 33% tuition fee increase. This is a clear violation of the regulation that students should be made aware of such tuition hike. Instead, no consultation took place, which left the students totally unaware of this sudden increase. Aside from this, miscellaneous fees also increased.
For 33 years, the TANDEM has fulfilled its duty of being the vanguard of academic freedom and has never faltered in its commitment to the entire UNP community, which gained the publication numerous awards in campus journalism.
It has been steadfast in its task of informing students about different anomalies inside the university brought about by the evil schemes of this Arroyo government to hinder accessible and quality education.
This trend of silencing student papers has been imminent since the administration sees the power and ability of student publications to inform and mobilize the student population.
This issue does not call for a new student publication; thus the need for reforms in handling not only the publication but also the entire UNP community should be addressed.
UNP administrators should bear this in mind: freedom of speech and the practice of student’s democratic rights will never waver despite numerous attacks made against it. Such a move only strengthens and unifies the ranks of students against an oppressive administration.
This fight will continue until perpetrators are deemed liable, the Tandem re-opens, and repression ends. ###
COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES
Rm 305, National Press Club Bldg., Intramuros,
Manila, Philippines
Tele Fax.: 524-3937
Email: cegpnational@ yahoo.com
“To Write Is Already To Choose”

Parents denounce illegal fees collected by principal

June 5, 2008

Silang, Cavite: About 1,000 parents of students enrolled at Bulihan National High School staged a protest rally at about 7 a.m. Wednesday, calling for the ouster of Bessie Medina, the school principal, for allegedly authorizing the collection of several fees not endorsed by the DepEd such as acrobatic fee, P50; field trip, P60; Science camp, P40; acquaintance party, P30; computer fee, P300; canteen rental, P300; film showing, P75; medical fee, P70; Bingo, P10; commendation fee, P70; and big canteen, P25,000 per month.

Eleven barangay captains who supported the rally took turns in addressing the crowd, while councilors Lamberto de Castro and Gigi Loyola talked with the leaders of the protesters to encourage them to practice sobriety during their protest rally.

Silang chief of police, PCI Christopher Olazo, deployed some 50 policemen with headgears, shields and truncheons around the vicinity to avoid any untoward incident.
– Roger Limpin(ManilaTimes)

Editorial Cartoon: Educator

June 3, 2008

Corrupting the Future

ON THE HYPOCRISY OF PRES. ARROYO’S CALL TO LOWER TUITION RATES : Privilege Speech of Rep. Teddy Casiño, Bayan Muna

June 3, 2008

ON THE HYPOCRISY OF PRES. ARROYO’S CALL TO LOWER TUITION RATES

Privilege Speech

Rep. Teddy Casiño (Bayan Muna Party-list)

14th Congress, House of Representatives (First Regular Session)

June 2, 2008

Mr. Speaker:

I rise to avail of the privilege hour to speak on the welfare of the millions of Filipino youth who are being deprived of their right to education.

Pasukan nanaman po, Mr. Speaker, at kinakabahan nanaman kaming mga magulang dahil tiyak na magtataas nanaman ng matrikula ang mga bata.

School is about to start and once again, we are saddened by reports that many higher education institutions or HEIs are about to increase their tuition and other school fees. This, even with the reality that the whole nation is suffering from the soaring prices of rice, oil and power, and other basic needs.

As if responding to every parent’s annual fear of another round of school fee hikes, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself has issued an order for all state colleges and universities to freeze their tuition rates for the coming school year. She likewise made an appeal to all private education institutions to do the same.

Fine.

Normally, such pronouncements, by the President no less, would have been welcomed by this representation. After all, I am the principal author of a bill calling for a three-year moratorium on tuition fee increases. Also, since my entry into Congress, I have consistently fought against tuition fee increases especially in our state colleges and universities.

But Mr. Speaker, something about this recent populist pronouncement by the President leaves a bad taste in the mouth. And let me tell you why.

Unang-una, kwestyunable ang timing ng announcement ng Presidente. Ginawa po ito matapos ang pagpoproseso ng mga rate increases para sa darating na pasukan. Samakatuwid, tapos na po ang labanan, Mr. Speaker, nang nagsalita si Presidente. The fact is that the period for consultation and approval of tuition fee increases has long been finished, making the President’s appeal an empty piece of populist rhetoric.

But the hypocrisy of the presidential pronouncement goes deeper than that.

The fact is, it was the President herself who was instrumental in allowing schools to hike their tuition and other fees without limit and without fear of any sanction.

Allow me to quote an Inquirer report dated January 9, 2008:

“ MANILA , Philippines – Good news for owners and operators of private tertiary schools nationwide but bad news for students and parents.

“President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently gave private educators the go-signal to lift the ceiling on tuition and other school fees earlier imposed by the government, “provided there would be consultations with students, as well as the parents,” top officials of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) quoted her as saying.

“Arroyo arrived at the decision after a series of meetings with CHED, Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU) and the Coordinating Council for Private Educational Institutions (COCOPEA), among other groups.”

In other words, the President is saying one thing but doing the other: she is appealing for school owners not to raise fees while, on the other hand, assuring them that they can raise their fees, sky’s the limit. Iba ang salita, iba ang gawa, Mr. Speaker. It was due to the President’s intervention that the cap on school fee increases that the CHED tried to impose starting last year was lifted.

For the record, Mr. Speaker, let me inform you that during several hearings of the Committee on Higher and Technical Education in the 13th Congress, we reiterated that CHED had the power and the mandate to regulate tuition and other school fees. In particular, I remember the vice chairperson of the committee, then Rep. Abayon, berating CHED officials for exempting schools from the mandatory consultation process as long as their fee increase was below the inflation rate. Members of the committee were of the strong opinion that this was illegal and patently unconstitutional.

Partly in response to Congress’ representations, CHED eventually amended its guidelines and procedures on increasing tuition and other school fees, also known as CHED Memorandum Order 14 of 2005. Through subsequent orders (CMO No. 15 s. 2005, CMO Nos. 05 and 42 s. 2006, and CMO No. 7 s. 2007), CHED imposed a cap on tuition and other school fee increases to within the prevailing inflation rate. It also reiterated the requirements for student consultations and the proper disbursement of the incremental proceeds of such fee increases among school facilities, teachers’ salaries and profits.

Samakatuwid, Mr. Speaker, nakinig sa atin ang CHED. It was one of those rare moments where the Executive branch actually listened to us. The cap on tuition increases and other amendments to CMO No. 14 were supposed to be implemented for school year 2007-2008.

However, on Feb. 19, 2007, in a speech before the biggest organization of private school owners, the Coordinating Council for Private Educational Institutions (COCOPEA), then CHED Chair Carlito Puno announced the immediate and sudden suspension of CMO No. 14 and its amendments.

A day later, on Feb. 20, Puno issued an unnumbered memorandum to this effect and reinstated the older guidelines, CMO No. 13 series of 1998. The announcement and the ensuing unnumbered memo were maliciously issued a few days before the conclusion of campus consultations on school fee hikes.

We were all caught flat footed by this move, Mr. Speaker, especially since it was made too late in the day when summer vacation was about to start and the public was starting to be riveted by the election campaign. Nasalisihan po ang mga estudyante at mga miyembro ng Kongreso.

The reversion from CMO No. 14 to CMO No. 13, Mr. Speaker, essentially removed the cap on tuition and excluded miscellaneous and other school fees from the consultation process. In other words, it removed whatever clout there was that CHED and the students gained through CMO No. 14.

We later discovered that CHED’s actions were made at the behest of President Arroyo after she met with COCOPEA.

Let me quote a COCOPEA memo circular on the matter:

“Please be advised that after a meeting COCOPEA had with President Macapagal-Arroyo last week, the President took the initiative to order the creation of a review team…The review will also cover CHED Memorandum Orders No. 7, Series of 2007; No. 42, Series of 2006; and No. 14, Series of 2005. Hence, the suspension of these CMOs.”

The President’s orders and the subsequent cancellation of CMO No. 14 resulted in tuition increases of 6-20% in tuition and as much as 90% increases in other fees, including miscellaneous fees and the following nebulous charges: energy fee, sports development fee, testing materials fee, computer fee, library fee, test paper fee, audiovisual fee, aircon fee, insurance fee, late registration fee, ad infinitum, ad naseum.

Samakatuwid, Mr. Speaker, dahil sa kagagawan ni Pangulong Arroyo at ng CHED, nagatasan ng husto noong isang taon ang ating mga estudyante at kanilang mga magulang.

And this year will be no different because the same set of policies will prevail, with the President again meeting the school owners before making a belated and totally toothless appeal for them not to raise fees. Just two weeks ago, the CHED disclosed that 341 higher education institutions are seeking to increase their tuition this school year by 8-10%. This represents 19% of all HEIs nationwide.

Matapos tanggalan ng ngipin ang CHED para pigilan ang mga di makatarungang pagtaas ng matrikula, heto si Pangulong Arroyo, umaapila sa mga school owners na huwag magtaas ng matrikula. Ano ang tawag d’yan, Mr. Speaker? Hindi ba isang panggogoyo, isang panloloko? Isang malaking kahipokritahan?

Subalit hindi d’yan nagtatapos ang pagiging hipokrita ng Pangulo sa usaping ito.

Nanawagan siya sa mga SUC na huwag na muna magtaas ng tuition. Pero sa totoo lang, ano ba ang ginagawa ng gobyerno sa ating mga SUCs? Inaabandona, Mr. Speaker. Pinapabayaang magbulok at maglaho.

Sa ilalim ng administrasyong Arroyo, lumiit ang share ng badyet ng edukasyon mula 17.4% noong 2001 hanggang 13.9% na lamang noong 2006. Bilang bahagi ng Gross Domestic Product, ito’y lumiit din mula 3.3% noong 2001 hanggang 2.19% ngayong taon.

Ramdam na ramdam ito sa mga SUCs. The budget allocation for SUCs represents 1.84 percent of the national budget for 2008, far behind the 2.74 percent allocation in 2007. Tuwing budget hearing, Mr. Speaker, ang mga presidente ng SUCs eh parang mga pulubi na nagmamakaawa sa atin para sa dagdag dahil sa sobrang liit ng kanilang tinatanggap. It is a fact that the nominal increase in the budget for SUCs this year is not enough even for shouldering the cost of additional expenditures due to inflation.

While the government boasts an additional budget for state collages and universities, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines , the largest public university in the country is suffering from a budget cut of more than six million pesos. In a glaring manifestation of the government’s abandonment of education, the University of the Philippines itself, the premiere state university, increased its tuition by 300% last year. Furthermore, other exorbitant fees continue to increase uncontrollably.

This whole scenario shows itself as a manifestation of the Arroyo government’s blatant disregard to the education sector and negligence to millions of Filipino youth.

This year’s budget allocation for the education sector represents just 2.19 percent of the Gross National Product, far behind the 6 percent of GNP as pegged by the International Commission on Education for the 21st Century.

Mr. Speaker, this is nothing less than gross negligence on the part of the government.

As a result of this prolonged negligence, our educational system, particularly public tertiary institutions, can accommodate only a small percentage of students who wish to get a college education leaving the liberalized and deregulated private sector, including diploma mills, wallowing in profits.

Mr. Speaker, my distinguished colleagues, much as I would like to, there is not enough time to discuss Bayan Muna’s comprehensive critique on the educational system. What I would like to immediately address is the prospect of higher tuition and other fees for the coming school year.

Some proposals come to mind, Mr. Speaker. First, enough of the President’s hypocrisy and populist posturing. If she is really serious about lowering tuition and other school fees, she should allow CHED to impose a moratorium on fee increases in private and public tertiary schools. If not a moratorium, then at least a cap on increases should be imposed. At the same time, CHED should immediately issue guidelines for the refund of additional fees charged this year.

Second, the President should put her money where her mouth is. It is not enough to have a moratorium on fee increases in our SUCs. As important will be a substantial increase in their budgets. I expect that in the next budget hearings, the Executive will present a budget that increases the SUCs share by 30-50% of their existing budgets.

Third, Congress should immediately act on pending measures that seek to regulate tertiary education and ensure its affordability in order to guarantee the youth’s right to an accessible, if not free and quality education. The President should also certify these as urgent.

Thank you Mr. Speaker, my distinguished colleagues.

Vincent Michael L. Borneo
Political Affairs Officer
(Media and Public Relations)
Office of BAYAN MUNA Rep. Teddy A. Casiño
Rm. 508, North Wing Bldg.,
House of Representatives, Quezon City
Telefax no: 931-5911

Youth Groups: Arroyo’s Tuition Hike Freeze Lip Service

June 3, 2008

Various youth organizations deemed that the moratorium on tuition increases called by the government is but a mere lip service. They said it was announced too late and is nothing more than a “back-to-school media gimmick meant to appease cash-strapped parents.”

BY RONALYN OLEA
Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 17, June 1-7, 2008

Various youth organizations deemed that the moratorium on tuition increases called by the government is but a mere lip service.

Over the week, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced a moratorium on tuition hikes in state universities and colleges this year and urged private higher educational institutions (PHEIs) to reconsider their plans to increase tuition and other fees this semester.

Alvin Peters, national president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), the biggest alliance of student governments in the country, said, “How can anyone take seriously such claims of support for a tuition moratorium, if it is the guilty party making the claims in the first place?” Peters disclosed that it was Mrs. Arroyo herself who gave private schools her blessing to increase tuition rates when she lifted the tuition cap earlier this year.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) suspended its Memo Order 14 which had set a cap on tuition increases based on the national inflation rate, in favor of the defunct CHED Memo Order 13 (CMO 13). The CMO 13 sets no limit in increases in tuition and other fees.

Peters went on to castigate CHED chairman Romulo Neri for making “misleading statements” about the CHED’s current review of tuition hikes filed by various universities and colleges. “Neri is fooling no one when he says that these petitions are still ‘under review’ and subject to the existing inflation rate,” Peters said.

Peters, citing data from CHED, said that 378 out of 1,905 PHEIs had already applied for tuition hikes with the national average in tuition increases at 10.07 percent. The current national average tuition per unit is pegged at P415.99 ($9.508 at an exchange rate of $1=P43.75) . “The average increase is higher than the national inflation rate,” Peters revealed. The average national inflation rate last month was 8.3 percent

“CHED has as good as approved the petition of the 378 private higher education institutions (PHEIs).”

Too late

In another statement, Dion Carlo Cerrafon, Kabataang Pinoy president, said that Arroyo’s announcement is too late as enrollment is already underway in most schools. Enrollment for freshmen, to whom most tuition hikes apply, is already finished for most public tertiary schools as early as the 2nd week of May.

Cerrafon said, “Malacanang’s late announcement will only sow confusion to both schools administrators and students. Obviously, this is another empty back-to-school media gimmick meant to appease cash-strapped parents.”

Meanwhile, Gabriela Women’s Representative Liza Maza, member of the House Committee on Higher Education, also expressed dismay over the late announcement. Consultations with parents and stakeholders regarding proposals for tuition hikes are conducted during the first quarter of the year. By March and April most colleges and universities have already announced the new tuition and school fee schemes. Maza said, “What’s the use of announcing a moratorium towards the end of May?”

Real culprit

NUSP’s Peters identified the Batas Pambansa 232 or the Education Act of 1982 as the main culprit behind incessant hikes in tuition and other fees as it gives school owners the authority to determine their own tuition rate. Peters urged the Arroyo government and legislators to review the said law.

For state universities and colleges, Peters blamed the government’s poor education spending and the policy of rationalization. “The policy allows state schools to be treated as income-earning entities, thereby encouraging the commercialization of education,” he said.

According to NUSP, the average spending for education from 2001-2005 is only 3.0 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The United Nation’s Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) prescribes the allocation of six percent of GDP for education. Bulatlat

No water, no power for this public school

June 3, 2008

DAET, Camarines Norte — Officers and members of the General Parents Teachers Association of Daet Elementary School here are being blamed after it power and water supply were cut off due to accumulated unpaid bills.

Last May 20, the school’s water service was cut off by the Camarines Norte Water District after the GPTA failed to settle the school’s water bill which has reached the amount of P68,000.

The school also has an unsettled account with the Camarines Norte Electric Cooperative in the bigger much biggeramount of P160,000.

This reporter failed reported to ask Elmer Jacobo, the school principal, since he was out on a conference called by the Department of Education.

Rommel Pajarin, the GPTA president, was also out of town as he was taking review for the bar examination and would not be available until September this year.

Parents said it would take a longer time to solve the problem since the Department of Education has strongly barred all public schools from collecting PTA fees of whatever kind effective this year’s enrolment.(BicolMail)

Tuition fee hike in large schools looms

June 3, 2008

NAGA CITY—Underscoring reports, officials from the three largest schools in this city confirmed that their respective schools would implement tuition fee increase (TFI) this coming school year, like most of the schools, colleges, and universities in Bicol Region.

Ramon Nonito Ayo, Treasurer of Ateneo de Naga University (AdNU), said however that increases in tuition fee would not take incoming students by surprise since most of the tuition fee raise proposals were the results of consultations done as early as the first quarter of this year.

AdNU had increased its tuition fee in all courses and year levels by five percent down from six percent last school year, while Universidad de Sta. Isabel, which had posted no TFI last school year, announced a five percent raise in tuition fee beginning this June.

Naga College Foundation (NCF), in addition, will have a six percent TFI when classes open next month. This is apart from up to 11 percent increase in some miscellaneous fees, and 15 percent increases in tuition fee in its basic education departments.

An official from NCF said raises in the school’s tuition fee were intended mainly to boost the salaries and benefits of school employees, in compliance with a directive from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) that says 70 percent of a school’s additional income resulting from TFI should be allocated to additional compensation for school employees.

University of Nueva Caceres, the biggest school in the city, has a pending ten percent tuition fee increase (in all courses, departments, and year levels) application before CHED—the biggest tuition fee increase proposal among schools here. But officials from the university said the ten percent proposed TFI came after almost three years which saw no increase in the school’s tuition fees.

The TFI announcements here came in the wake of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s order to all state colleges and universities and appeal to all private schools in the country to freeze or suspend tuition fee increases, considering the hard times that had put so much pressure on the parts of parents sending their children to school.(BicolMail)

A Radio Drama for Children, by Children

June 3, 2008

To further inform the general public about children’s rights and to bring out more cases of neglect and abuse in the open, the Association for the Rights of Children in Southeast Asia (ARCSEA), an organization of children’s rights advocates, would start a radio program that aims to raise the public’s awareness on the plight of victims of child abuse, as well as contribute to its prevention by producing a show that narrates real cases of child abuse. The radio program would have children as anchors, talents, and writers.

BY JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat
Vo. VIII, No. 17, June 1-7, 2008

Perhaps there is no sector in Philippine society that is more vulnerable than children. Available data regarding cases of child abuse and neglect are already shocking but it is still considered to be understated as it only reflects reported and confirmed cases. According to the 2003 report of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) Child Protection Unit, the rapid increase in the number of cases of abuse filed that year is the result of the continuous efforts of some government agencies and non-government organizations to disseminate information about child abuse and neglect in both the community and national levels.

To further inform the general public about children’s rights and to bring out more cases of neglect and abuse in the open, the Association for the Rights of Children in Southeast Asia (ARCSEA), an organization of children’s rights advocates, would start a radio program that aims to raise the public’s awareness on the plight of victims of child abuse, as well as contribute to its prevention by producing a show that narrates real cases of child abuse.

Direktang lalahok ang mga bata. Magkakaroon ng batang anchor, batang scriptwriter at batang mga radio drama actors,” (Children would participate directly in the radio program. There will be a child anchor, a child scriptwriter and child drama talents.) Karla Umil, project head of ARCSEA, told Bulatlat. “Magkakaroon din ng mga infomercials, mga dagdag pang kaalaman kung paano maprotektahan ang bata laban sa pang-aabuso,” (The program would also include infomercials that would inform the public on how to protect children from abuse.) she added.

Through the help of  the Samahan ng mga Kababaihang Nagkakaisa (SAMAKANA or Association of United Women) and Samahan ng Maagang Pagkatuto ng mga Bata (SMPB or Association of Early Childhood Education), ARCSEA was able to organize an oral interpretation workshop last May 29-31 in preparation for the radio drama project.

The participants of the said project came from ARCSEA’s communities in Vitas, Tondo, Manresa, Tatalon, Veterans, Talanay and Old Balara in Quezon City, and Olandes in Marikina City. Umil added that the workshop participants are what they refer to as “mga abanteng bata” (advanced children) since they are already organized in their communities. This is the reason why even at a very young age, they already understand the social issues that our country is facing.

Ernesto Marcelo and Jola Mamangun of Kodao Productions facilitated the training of the young but promising children.

An optimistic soul

17-year-old Grace Evangelista is a Marketing student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. She is one of the participants in the oral interpretation workshop. Evangelista told Bulatlat that being chosen as one of the junior broadcasters for ARCSEA’s project is one of her greatest achievements.

Evangelista admitted that she had difficulties doing the exercises given to them by the facilitator. But in the end, she told Bulatlat that the workshop helped her boost her self-confidence. “Andito pa rin yung kaba, natatakot na mapahiya at magkamali pero ngayon medyo nabawasan na yung ganung attitude,” (I still feel nervous though. I am still afraid to commit mistakes and be embarrassed, but it has been lessened.)

Evangelista said that, “Isa sa mga ipinaglalaban ko talaga ay makatulong sa mga bata. Kasi ako, okay naman yung estado ng buhay namin kaso everytime na nakikita ko yung ibang bata na hindi nakakapag-aral, inaabuso, sobrang naapektuhan po ako,” (I really want to help children. The economic status of our family is okay but very time I see children who are not able to study or are abused, I get really affected.)

For me, ito ay isang art. Isang sining kung paano ipapahayag sa (pamamagitan) ng drama at paano malalaman ng iba, ng lipunan yung mga bata,” (I believe that drama is a form of art that will help us disseminate information to the broader society about the current situation of children.) Evangelista added.

What’s next?

Kapag nagstart na yung airing sa radyo, marami ng magsusulputang mga kaso,” (When the radio program starts to air on radio, we are expecting that there will be a lot of cases of child abuse that would be reported to us.) said Umil. She added that even during their previous workshops, many of the participants told them that their friends are frequently beaten up a family member or even sexually abused.

This is why ARCSEA would conduct another workshop to train possible peer counselors in every community. “Sila yung magbibigay ng first aid sa kapwa nila bata na inaabuso,” (They would be responsible for giving first aid to children who are victims of abuse)

Umil said that ARCSEA has on going dialogues with other organizations like the Women’s Crisis Center and Children’s Rehabilitation Center to help abused children who would be referred by their peer counselors in every community. “Magkakaroon din ng mga piling mga bata upang magkaroon ng exposure dun sa mga centers para mas alam nila kung ano nangyayari sa mga shelter,” (There will also be exposure trips for selected peer counselors to the different centers and shelters.) Umil added.

The tentative date of the first airing of the radio program is on July 5, 2008, 5:00-5:30 p.m. at DWIZ. Bulatlat

Teachers’ Wages Deteriorate As Tuition Fees Soar

May 30, 2008

Educators’ Forum for Development (EFD)
Media Release / May 26, 2008
Reference: Jennifer del Rosario-Malonzo (EFD General Secretary)

Teachers’ Wages Deteriorate As Tuition Fees Soar


While Filipino families are still coping from escalating prices of basic commodities like rice, bread and meat products and the never-ending rise of oil prices, they are once again faced by enrollment woes this month: tuition fee hikes.

The Department of Education has already announced that the tuition fee increase in private elementary and high schools this school year may range from 2% to 10%. Such can only be expected from a deregulated and commercialized education system, with the government allowing schools to increase their fees at will, the Educators’ Forum for Development (EFD) said.

But while tuition fees in years past went up by as much as 20%, teachers’ compensation has been declining by as much based on the government’s own survey.

According to the latest Occupational Wages Survey of the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics, the average monthly wage rates of teaching professionals in private elementary and high schools range from P12,039 to P13,906 as of 2006. What is shocking is that these wages shrank by as much as 20% compared to what teachers received in 2004. (See Table)

Average Monthly Wage Rates of Full-Time Teachers in Private Education Services, June 2004 and August 2006 (in peso)

2004    2006    % Change

General Secondary Education Teachers        14,991    12,039    (19.7)
Science and Mathematics Teachers               14,626    13,034    (10.9)
Vocational Education Teachers                     13,219    13,324    0.8
General Elementary Education Teachers        14,486    13,800   (4.7)
Science and Math Elem. Educ Teachers        15,434    13,906    (9.9)
Pre-Elementary Education Teachers              12,842    12,389    (3.5)

Source: Occupational Wages Survey, Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics

According to online job services company Jobstreet.com, the lowest salary a fresh grad teacher actually receives from private schools is a measly P7,000. Even teachers with one to four years experience are paid as low as P8,500 a month. Based on this, the lowest paid public school teacher with a basic pay of P10,933 appears to be better off.

The DepEd justifies the approval of petitions for tuition fee hikes with its so-called 70-20-10 requirements – 70% of the increase should go to the upgrading of school equipment, 20% for the acquisition of textbooks, and 10% for teachers’ salary upgrade. Yet even this paltry 10% for the faculty does not reach their hands. It is clear that teachers continue to be underpaid and their supposed share in the yearly tuition increases is only a figment of government officials’ imagination.

The EFD, an association of teachers and educators committed to social transformation, deplores the government’s abandonment of its responsibility to ensure the people’s access to education.

The EFD also takes issue with the government and private school owners’ use of teachers’ pay hike as an excuse to raise tuition fees. Teachers indeed deserve higher compensation for decent living, but school owners should provide this without charging the students exorbitant tuition and other fees. (end)

The Educators’ Forum for Development (EFD) is an association of educators committed to social transformation. It was established in 2002 by the IBON Partnership in Education for Development and other progressive educators, including founding chairperson Bienvenido Lumbrera.

Barangay RP Advisory: National Youth Assembly sa UP-D!

May 29, 2008

VACATION IS OVER!
FULL STRENGTH ANEW FOR YOUTH POWER!

YOUTH ACT NOW! (Youth for Accountability and Truth Now!)

invites you to its

National Youth Assembly
May 30, 1:00-6:00pm
College of Education Auditorium
University of the Philippines- Diliman


Youth and students from different schools, universities and communities in Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Batangas, Central Luzon, Bicol, Panay, Davao, Iloilo, Negros, Ilocos Regions, Tacloban and Cordillera Regions will gather together tomorrow, May 30, 2008, to renew and pledge their commitment in the fight for truth, accountability and social change.

Guest speakers are Rodolfo ‘Jun’ Lozada, Joey de Venecia and Bro. Eddie Villanueva.

Fireworks display at the end of the program will symbolize the ‘start of the school year with a bang.’

Media coverage is requested.

Reference: Sarah Katrina Maramag, 09193486790/ Alvin Peters, 09206209362

Student union hits Ched for review order extension

May 26, 2008

A NATIONWIDE alliance of students last Sunday slammed the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) for its failure to stamp out the growing number of fly-by-night review centers in the country.

This, the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) said while reacting to the Ched’s move to extend the imposition of Executive Order (EO) 566.

Under the said order, independent review centers are directed to integrate to existing schools, as a means to prevent “unscrupulous and purely money-making schemes in the guise of review centers” from proliferating.

The planned imposition of EO 566 came about after the Northcap Review Center in Baguio City hoodwinked some 1,067 nursing reviewers and ran away with P1.2 million in registration fees.

“Ched should seriously look into the quality and capability to operate of the numerous independent review centers that have mushroomed in cities all over the country,” NUSP secretary-general Henrie Enaje said.

Enaje cited as a perfect example the 2006 Nursing Licensure Exam (Nlex) controversy, where answers to several questions in the exams were allegedly leaked to examinees in three review centers.

After the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) conducted an investigation into the reported leakage, the nursing examinees were asked to retake the exam on a voluntary basis.

“We sincerely hope that such scandals as those of the nursing board exam leakage two years ago, in which several review centers were implicated, need not further take place before Ched officials take action,” Enaje said.

The group said aside from conducting a “circular review” of all existing review centers, Ched should also be stringent in coming up with clear guidelines before awarding accreditation.

Upon requests from several independent review centers, the Ched on Wednesday extended for another six months the deadline for these centers to obtain accreditation from respective school institutions.

Independent review centers sought for an extension, saying they have yet to finalize documents and other requirements for registration.

The order of extension was given out despite strong opposition from the Federation of Accredited Review Centers of the Philippines (FARCP) and the Excel Review and Training Center (ERTC).

The FARCP said being complacent in imposing deadlines would only show a “lack in political will” on the part of Ched to rid the education sector with unregistered review centers. (AH/Sunnex)

Arroyo stops tuition increase in universities, colleges

May 26, 2008

President Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo on Monday instructed the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) to halt any tuition increase in state-run universities and colleges.

Arroyo also asked Ched to extend her appeal to private schools not to implement increases in tuition and other fees

The President made the order in line with the increasing food and oil prices, which are affecting household incomes and are forcing families to lessen their expenses “if not do away altogether with certain necessities.”

“For us to keep producing highly skilled graduates who will lead our country in its leap to first-world status in a decade’s time, government must reverse the drop-out rate and set off an environment conducive for parents to provide quality tertiary education for their children, be it in private institution or in our state universities and colleges,” she said.(SunStar)

UNP sues student publication editor-in-chief

May 22, 2008

VIGAN CITY (May 14) — The University of Northern Philippines (UNP) administration filed a criminal complaint for theft before the City Prosecutor’s Office here against one of its student leaders.

Docketed as I.S. Number 08-049, UNP alleged that in January 11, 2008, their student stole the computer central processing unit (CPU) of Tandem, its official student paper from the locked and the barricaded publication office.

In the complaint-affidavit filed by Mr. Nolito Ragunjan, Coordinator for Student Publications of UNP-Vigan, accused Ma. Criselda Diocena, 23 years old, of taking the CPU outside the office without permission from the administration. His complaint was supported by an affidavit signed by Warren Rafal stating that Diocena took the CPU, issues of Tandem and other personal belongings out of the office.

Warren Rafal, in his affidavit said he asked permission on January 11, 2008 from the administration to open the office, which was locked by the UNP administration since October 2007. The school president Dr, Lauro Tacbas allowed them to enter the office provided they will only get some receipts.

The CPU brought to the UNP Student Resource Center (SRC) still within the UNP premises.

Diocena and Rafal were Editor-in-Chief of Tandem and Student Regent respectively, active student leaders and one of those who led the campaign against tuition and other fees increase and other repressive policies of the university administration.

As of press time the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) Director Dr. Gilbert Arce has not issued any clearance for Diocena and she has not been allowed to take her final examinations.

Meanwhile, Rafal had to plead with the UNP administration to be able to enroll. Both Diocena and Rafal were also sued by the administration for robbery earlier but the case was not pursued.

Also, last March 2008, Dr. Joel Beleno of the UNP College of Health Sciences sued Jeric Pelayo, the standard bearer of Alliance of Concerned Students-Partido ng Demokra-tikong Mag-aaral (ACS-PDM) for slander.

Desperate attempts

According to TANGGULAN Youth Network for Civil Liberties and Human Rights spokesperson Reizell Santos, the cases filed against Diocena and other students leaders are desperate moves of the UNP administration to silence the students who are conscious of and are upholding academic freedom; for their rights and the welfare of their fellow students.

Santos stressed that these cases are the reaction of UNP administration to the steadfast campaign of the publication and student organizations against the increase of tuition and other fees; and against campus repression.

“The UNP administration opts to suppress the basic rights of the students to protect its interest from the growing clamor against its tuition and other fees increases. It clearly shows its disregard for academic freedom that we should enjoy.” Santos concluded.

Santos also added that the guards and administration officials constantly harassed Diocena and her colleagues during the peak of the campaign that led to the barricading of their office . To date, Tandem office is still locked-up. The UNP administration has opted to produce a new publication, The Blazers.

Diocena admitted that they took the receipts, issues of Tandem and personal belongings out of the office and brought them to the Student Council Office so that they can be read and utilized. “Mr. Rafal suggested that we also bring the CPU out of the office and because we still have files saved in the computer for the next regular issue of TANDEM.” She furthered.

Diocena said she does not have access to the Student Resource Center where the CPU is now found, Mr. Ragunjan has unlimited access to it so that he can have the CPU anytime he wants. “I never intended to take the CPU for my own use. Even the accompanying affidavit of complainant Ragunjan’s supposed witness, Warren Rafal, states that the CPU is and has been at the Student Resource Center at the UNP premises” she stressed saying that if his interest was to protect the property of UNP, Mr. Ragunjan has all the means to verify himself that the CPU subject of his complaint has not been taken away from his watch.

The Diocena and Pelayo’s cases were brought to the attention of various institutions such as the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Committee on Education and Culture of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur, Committee on Education of the City Government of Vigan and the Office of Congressman Ronald Singson. # Rod Tajon for NORDIS

Panalipdan: Arroyo, TNCs liable for plunder and environment destruction

May 19, 2008

The 39th commemoration of Earth Day is an occasion for Mindanaoans and all patriotic Filipinos to call for the accountability of the Arroyo government and its big business partners for their role in the destruction of the environment and the plunder of our national patrimony.

While still a senator, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was instrumental in the creation and passage of the controversial Mining Act of 1995. This law opened up our country for further exploitation done by transnational corporations. The promotion of the mining industry is now a top economic thrust of her administration with ten priority projects being promoted in Mindanao alone.

As the fifth most mineralized country in the world, the untapped mineral wealth of the Philippines is estimated to be 840 billion dollars. This is more than sufficient to pay our foreign debt and develop our basic industries and the economy.

However, the mining industry in the Philippines is in the hands of foreign transnational mining giants. They grab our mineral resources for private profit. While the net profits of foreign mining companies reach billions of dollars, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported that the government received less than five percent of the total value of production through taxes and royalties from 2001 to 2005.

Large-scale mining operations seek to extract the greatest amount of mineral wealth through the fastest and least expensive means possible. This kind of mining results to deforestation, soil erosion, and water resource pollution, leaving behind wastelands where mountains once stood. Large-scale mining operations are one of the causes of environmental degradation that costs the Philippines two billion dollars a year, according to the World Bank.

As of 2006, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources was processing a total of 2,224 mining applications, covering more than 500,000 hectares. This hasty mining bonanza has made us vulnerable to massive environmental and social destruction.

Large-scale mining by foreign corporations has caused displacement and militarization of communities in Zamboanga Peninsula, Surigao Norte and Surigao Sur, South Cotabato, and Davao Provinces.

Harassment and killings of community and environmental activists are bound to increase with Malacanang’s special police and military patrol for mining corporations.

The Arroyo government and its big business partners must be held accountable. They are responsible for the wholesale of our national wealth, robbing future generations of Filipinos of the opportunity to live in an industrialized country developed through its own mineral resources.

Industrialized nations are the world’s largest producers of waste and greenhouse gases, yet they pass the burden of mitigation of global warming to the world’s poorest countries. The United States alone releases 19.6 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per capita in a year, yet it has taken few steps to reduce its emissions.

The promotion of vast plantations of bio-fuel crops in Mindanao such as oil palm, jatropha (tuba-tuba), corn, and coconut is principally an export venture that serves to benefit foreign private companies at the expense of small farmers, indigenous peoples, and agricultural lands that could be used to increase rice production.

This scheme proliferates in our import-dependent and export-oriented economy. Worse, it effectively defends the primary polluters from global accountability.

The dire condition of the world’s eco-systems is principally caused by private control of natural resources in order to obtain maximum profits. The world’s poorest people are made to suffer through the natural and manmade disasters caused by this greed and irresponsible destruction.

Panalipdan! Mindanao holds that the commemoration of Earth Day is not just a simple exercise in environmental awareness to protect nature. Rather, the protection of the environment and our natural resources is an integral part of protecting our livelihood, our national sovereignty, and our right to sustainable development.

In cities and municipalities across Mindanao today, organizations of youth, Lumads, church people, environmental advocates have organized pickets, march-rallies, symposiums, and other actions to promote a nationalist, people-centered environmental movement. We condemn the corruption of the Arroyo administration in its deals with foreign businesses, and its sell-out of our patrimony.

Stop the selling of our natural resources to transnational corporations!

Genuine development of our country through people-centered planning and use of our national patrimony!

Hold the world’s largest polluters accountable for the environmental and social disasters they have caused!

For reference:
Sr. Diane Cabasagan, RGS
Cell number: 0920 952 3604

Fresh wave of military ops render 32 Lumad families homeless

May 19, 2008

DAVAO CITY – Human rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao on Tuesday expressed its concern over the condition of the 32 families or about 149 Ata-Manobo and Matigsalog individuals who have been displaced because of the fresh wave of military operations in the hinterlands of Compostela town in Compostela Valley Province.

According to Karapatan-southern Mindanao secretary general Kelly Delgado the evacuees, who are now temporarily sheltered at the Compostela town gymnasium, came from Barangay Mangayon, Compostela. Delgado also reported that at least 83 of the displaced are children.

Delgado said that the residents left their village at around 9PM of Monday, May 12, after massive military operations were launched by the 1001st Brigade under Lt. Col. Alan Luga. According to the evacuees, military operations believed to be against the New People’s Army started at around 3PM of that same day. The residents fled for fear that they will be caught in the crossfire or be subjected again to military abuses, harassments and intimidations.

“Fear from the military drove the residents out of their village. And the people have the reason to fear the soldiers of the government because of their (military) bad record of violating basic rights of people. The military is ruthless and this ruthlessness is hounding the civilians who are often suspected as supporters of the NPA or worse, as members of the communist movement,” Delgado said.

Delgado said that the military has, in the past, frequently been reported to be behind “beating up and torturing civilians whenever they fail in their counter-insurgency activities.”

He cited the fate of five lumad residents of Mangayon at the hands of the military 28th Infantry Battalion under the command of Lt. Col. Bienvinido Datuin. These victims later filed complaints against the soldiers at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for physical assault, torture, harassment/threat/intimidation and violations of children rights .

“It is really alarming that the military operations against the NPA shatter the lives of the civilians, especially the lumad who have been consistently deprived of the appropriate attention that they need. The war of the military brings nothing but misery to lives of the civilians who are helpless and left with no other choice but to endure the ugly repercussions of war,” Delgado said.

Delgado called on the government, particularly the municipal and provincial leadership, to initiate urgent action to stop military operations in the area to prevent their constituents from suffering the effects of government-led atrocities.

“We demand the stop of the military operations as these lead to bloodshed and ruin the lives of the hapless civilians,” Delgado said.(DavaoToday)

Ched tells MCC to stop offering courses

May 18, 2008

MEMBERS of the Board of Nursing in Manila will visit the Mandaue City College (MCC) next month to evaluate the school’s nursing program.

The Commission on Higher Education (Ched) 7 has ordered the school to stop offering its nursing, hotel and restaurant management and engineering courses this school year if it cannot comply with requirements.

MCC’s Dr. Elmer Ripalda said the situation in the school is abnormal, as Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes has ordered their Ibabao campus padlocked last April 18.

But the MCC is still offering nursing and hotel and restaurant management courses, he said, adding that they will comply with Ched requirements before yearend. He added that they phased out engineering years back.

Return equipment

He said they are also asking the mayor to return their equipment after City Hall conducts its inventory on items at the Ibabao campus so they can submit to Ched’s inspection.

Ripalda admitted that the school earned millions in 2007, but they also spent millions on salaries and to buy office and school supplies. He showed up at Sun.Star Cebu yesterday with a letter from Ched, another letter from the Professional Regulation Commission and the school’s financial statement.

More for salaries

The school’s financial statement from April 2006 to May 2007 showed that the MCC earned P7,445,387. But it also spent P6,822,610, leaving only some P622,000 in net income. Of their expenses, salaries accounted for the bulk, at P6.202 million. The other expenses covered seminars, office and school supplies, transportation and traveling expenses, repairs and maintenance, light and water insurance and representation.

Ripalda said the net income financed MCC’s operations from June 2007 up to the present.

But with a drop in the number of students because of the school’s situation, Ripalda said their earnings have also decreased. This is why some personnel have yet to receive their regular pay. Since the mayor ordered the Ibabao campus padlocked, MCC has been holding its classes at the Eversley Childs Sanitarium in Barangay Jagobiao.

Ched letter

In a letter last May 9, Ched 7 Director Enrique Grecia told the MCC’s Dr. Paulus Mariae Cañete: “You are enjoined not to continue offering the cited programs if they have not been found to have complied with the existing policies and standards.”

Grecia’s letter followed the MCC’s objection to the scheduled Regional Quality Assessment Team (RQAT) inspection last May 7. Cañete believed that the school was not ready for it.

Ripalda said their medical equipment remain in the mini-hospital inside the Ibabao campus, which is padlocked, and that’s why they objected to the inspection. He added that their mini-hotel and restaurant facility inside Central School has also been affected by the mayor’s move.

Ripalda said they requested Ched to extend its inspection period until December so the school can prepare and retrieve its equipment after the inventory.

The RQAT inspection is meant to check if a program complies with government policies and standards. Once the program passes the inspection team’s scrutiny, Ched accredits it.

Carmencita Abaquin, nursing board chairperson of the Professional Regulation Commission, also informed Cañete, through a letter last May 16, of their scheduled visit to MCC to evaluate the nursing program.

Ripalda said the school would be ready by that time.(SunStarCebu)

College dean concern on survival rate vs tuition hike

May 16, 2008

WEST Negros University (WNU) dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dr. Marlo Guanzon’s focus is more on the “foundational level of education rather than the tuition and other school fees’ hike for tertiary education.”

He said this in the light of social problems related to tuition hikes among private colleges and universities, which the Region 6 Commission on Higher Education (Ched) already placed at 33 schools all over Western Visayas, 15 of them in Bacolod City.

Arroyo Watch: Sun.Star blog on President Arroyo

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia already directed Councilor Greg Gasataya, chair of the City Council committee on education, to prepare a position paper urging schools to implement the five percent Ched-mandated scholarship program to alleviate the financial problems of parents.

Guanzon, however, argued: “What the city or province should be worried is the so-called cohort survival rate of the elementary or high school students. These are the foundational stages of learners’ lives. If they make good at these stages, they can already learn skills that enable them to work then gradually finish college.”

He explained that of the 100 elementary enrollees, only 62 finished grade six.

“It is a bit better in the high school but I am not comfortable. Of the 100 high schoolers, around 70 finished but a good portion of this cannot proceed to college not because of tuition hike but because of poverty,” he added.

As per the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG), cohort survival rate is a measure of the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of education services in the country.

The rate is defined as the percentage of enrollees at the beginning grade or year in a given school year who reached the final grade or year of the elementary or secondary level.

Guanzon based his conclusions on latest estimates of the MDG, claiming that the Philippines has a low probability or likelihood of attaining the target of universal education as the computed annual growth rate from 1991 to 2005 shows an annual decline of 1.3 percent versus the required annual growth rate of 4.0%.

“This is what should worry decision-makers locally, including members of the media, than the increase in tuition. Why? Because this means that the country is in dire poverty, misdirected or densely populated it cannot even send its young to school,” the WNU dean said. “This is a total violation of the Philippine Constitution as well.”

Guanzon challenged: “How many of us have knowledge of the UN-MDG? At the root of the UN-MDG essence is eradication of poverty. A 10 percent increase in tuition should not worry any of us if we are not suffering from poverty.”

“The best question to answer is, what is causing poverty in the Philippines? We better answer and do something about this question, otherwise, the same problem will go round and round every year of tuition and other fees’ increase and there will be no end to such pestering problem,” he explained.(SunStarBacolod)

“Garcia is using GSIS members’ funds to enrich Malacanang’s cronies”

May 15, 2008

May 14, 2008

NEWS RELEASE
Reference: Antonio L. Tinio (0920-9220817)
ACT Chairperson

“Garcia is using GSIS members’ funds to enrich Malacañang’s cronies”

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers today issued a statement
denouncing Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) President and
General Manager Winston Garcia’s bid to take control of Meralco, the
country’s largest electric utility.

“It’s ironic that while hundreds of thousands of teachers and
government employees, who are members of GSIS, are victimized daily
by the unjust policies implemented under his watch, Garcia now has
the gall to present himself as the champion of public interest in
leading the takeover bid against Meralco,” said ACT chairperson
Antonio Tinio. Public school teachers make up one-third of GSIS’s 1.6
million members. Since 2003, there has been widespread disgruntlement
among GSIS members sparked by new policies introduced by Garcia, such
as the premium-based policy. According to ACT, such policies
unlawfully deprive members of their full benefits.

“Garcia’s claim that he’s motivated by a desire to lower electricity
rates is mere posturing. If he really wants lower rates, then why is
it that his focus is limited to Meralco and the Lopez family’s
alleged mismanagement? How come he’s silent on the privatized and
deregulated framework mandated by the Electric Power Industry Reform
Act, or the anomalous contracts with independent power producers?
These are the real causes of high electricity rates,” said Tinio.

Tinio alleged that Garcia’s takeover bid signals an attempt by
businessmen close to Malacañang to take control of the power
industry. “Under Pres. Arroyo, we’re seeing a return of Marcos-style
crony capitalism. Arroyo and her allies want to carve up the power
industry for themselves, with Garcia wielding the butcher’s cleaver.
He’s using the state’s resources—our hard-earned pension funds—to
enrich Malacañang’s cronies.”

Tinio pointed out that a number of known Arroyo cronies have shown
keen interest in the power industry. He noted that the Aboitiz family
holds substantial interests in power generation and distribution,
owning Visayan Electric Company (VECO) and Davao Light and Power Co.,
Inc.—the second and third largest privately owned electric utilities
in the country, respectively, after Meralco.

Another powerful Arroyo ally, businessman Enrique Razon, Jr.,
recently won the allegedly tainted bidding to privatize TransCo (the
National Transmission Corporation) . Razon served as the
administration slate’s treasurer in the 2007 elections.

“Once the Lopezes are out of the picture, Malacañang’s allies can
easily step in to fill their shoes,” said Tinio. “This is the real
agenda behind the Meralco takeover bid.”

Tinio added that this will not be the first time that Garcia used
GSIS funds to promote the business interests of an Arroyo crony. In
2004, Garcia withdrew the GSIS’s multibillion peso accounts from the
state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines and designated Union Bank as
its depository bank. Soon after, Garcia awarded the multimillion peso
contract for the GSIS E-Card project to Union Bank as well. The
Commission on Audit has declared the awarding of the E-Card contract
to be “illegal and violative of law.” Union Bank is owned by the
Aboitiz family.

“Garcia’s irrational patronage of Union Bank—it’s much smaller than
Land Bank and has far fewer branches nationwide—reveals the extent to
which he will sacrifice the welfare of GSIS members for the sake of an
Arroyo crony. To this day, members, including tens of thousands of
retirees, complain that they must travel long distances just to find
a Union Bank branch, then line up for hours just to claim their
monthly pensions,” said Tinio.

Tinio observed that the Cebu-based Aboitizes are not only Arroyo
allies, but are close to Garcia’s own family, currently the reigning
political clan in Cebu. Garcia’s sister Gwendolyn is the governor of
Cebu, while his father Pablo is the representative of Cebu’s 2nd
district.

Tinio challenged Garcia to make a full disclosure of his clan’s ties
to the Aboitizes. “He should practice what he preaches regarding
transparency. Whose vested interest does he serve?” #

ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS
2/F Teachers’ Center, Mines St. cor. Dipolog St., Bgy. VASRA, Quezon
City, Philippines

Telefax  453-9116  Mobile 0920-9220817 Email
act_philippines@ yahoo.com Website  www.actphils. com
Member, Education International

Editorial Cartoons: Another Blow

May 11, 2008

The Ed (D’ Ed) (Dead)

33 WV universities, colleges

May 11, 2008

ILOILO City – Thirty-three universities and colleges in Western Visayas intend to increase their tuition and other fees this school year 2008-2009.

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Regional Office 6 coordinator for tuition fee increase Dr. Alan Lena said these universities and colleges signified their intention to hike fees as early as April 1.

They have until tomorrow, May 12, to submit their matrixes.

Lena said the universities and colleges are found in Aklan (2); Antique (2); Roxas City in Capiz (1); Iloilo City (12); and Bacolod City and Negros Occidental (16).

The CHED official said that so far, the proposals they have received showed a maximum of 12-percent increase this school year, which must have been approved during the school officials consultation with the students.

Among the universities and colleges in Iloilo City that intend to increase their tuition fees this school year are the University of Iloilo, Iloilo Doctor’s Hospital, St. Therese-MTC, John B. Lacson Foundation University, and St. Anne College.

Curiously in Manila, CHED Deputy Executive Director Julito Vitriolo expressed belief that there will only be an eight percent to 10 percent increase in tuition fees this year despite the lifting of the tuition fee cap.

“The agency does not expect any skyrocketing increase in the tuition fees. I daresay that the increase would only be around 8 percent to 10 percent,” Vitriolo said.

The agency has suspended CHED Memorandum (CMO) 14, series of 2005 and 42, series of 2006, and CMO 7, series of 2007 that prohibit private schools from increasing their tuition fees above the inflation rate, lately pegged at 8.5 percent.

Vitriolo said their regional offices have until May 15 to come up with a list of schools that sought for an increase in tuition fees, adding CHED hopes to release the report on May 16 or 19.

CHED issued Memorandum Order No. 16, which identifies the guidelines to be followed in processing applications of higher education institutions intending to increase tuition and other fees for SY 2008-2009.

CHED has released Memorandum Order 13 that provides for a consultation with all the players involved in the education sector. In this case, parents and students have to agree with the increase in tuition fees before it can be implemented.

It also tasked the CHED NCR and regional offices to monitor the school’s compliance with the GASTPE Law Provision that at least five percent of its student population should be given scholarship privileges.

Vitriolo claimed that universities and colleges will definitely rethink the current situation in the country and consider humanitarian reasons, adding that they are looking at a measly 20 percent of schools that would ask for a tuition fee increase.

“In terms of institutions, perhaps the schools who would be seeking an increase would only be around 20 percent because of the economic impact. Mahirap ngayon ang economy and mahirap ang buhay, so maraming hindi makaka-afford (The economy is hard up, and life is difficult, so many cannot afford the increase),” he added.

He warned schools from implementing a much higher schedule of tuition fees, saying that schools will lose their students if fees are raised beyond what parents can afford to pay.

“Bumaba ang enrollment sa private sector ng 85 percent ngayon mula sa 60 percent dahil naglipatan na sa SUCs (State Universities and Colleges) dahil mura ang tuition dun. Ang iba naman nag-drop out na, habang nagtrabaho na lang ang iba (The enrollment in private schools went down to 60 percent since more students transferred to state universities and colleges where tuition is lower. Others dropped out, while the rest decided to work),” he added.

Vitrolo said that several schools have already launched “gimmicks” or promotions to increase enrollment.

“It’s really cut-throat competition out there, kaya I don’t think magtataas sila ng malaki (hence, I don’t think they will raise fees heftily),” he said.

Earlier, students groups had expressed alarm over “skyrocketing” fees this coming school year after confirming that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the suspension of CMO 13 setting the guidelines for tuition fee increase minus the tuition fee cap.

“By reaffirming CHED Memo Order 13, the government gave a go-signal to school owners to increase their tuition and miscellaneous fee rate and impose new school fees at their own whim. While the guidelines provide for consultations with students, unresolved complaints filed by student councils from different schools at CHED already show how inutile the process is,” Kabataang Pinoy said in a statement.

The group said the new Malacañang order only lead to further decline in the preliminary enrollment figures in coming school years brought about by a huge “gap” between the increasing cost of education in the country and the financial capacity of Filipino families to send their children to school. (With a report from The Manila Times)

(PanayNews)


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