UPLB students walk-out of classes;

Youth group prepares more cultural performances

 

July 23, 2008

 

 

 
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Photos courtesy of Arbeen Acuña and UPLB Student Council

 

NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS OF THE PHILIPPINES SOUTHERN TAGALOG CHAPTER
PRESS RELEASE Reference: Rayan Brozula
July 18, 2008 Deputy Secretary General, NUSP-Southern Tagalog

UPLB students walk-out of classes to call for roll-back of tuition
and to protest against campus repression


Calling for the roll-back of tuition and other fees in the University of the Philippines (UP) and the removal of repressive policies in UP Los Baños, around 100 UPLB students walked-out of their classes today. Led by the UPLB University Student Council, the students said that the tuition increase has stripped more poor students who passed the UP College Admission Test of their right to education. They also clamored for the immediate holding of the campus elections which has been delayed by the administration since March this year and the removal of new policies violating the right of students to organization and freedom of expression.

Charisse Bernadine Bañez, UPLB USC vice chairperson, hit the UP administration’s claims before the implementation of the 300% tuition increase that this would increase the number of poor students entering UP. “In our surveys and consultations with freshmen since last year, only a handful belonged to the lowest income bracket. Many also expressed fear that they may no longer be able to enroll in the coming semesters because they may no longer be able to produce adequate funds; many also availed of the student loan or only borrowed money to be able to enroll.”

Bañez said that because the student council has continuously fought against the tuition increase, they are now experiencing escalated harassment from the UPLB administration. “It feels like Martial Law is existing in UPLB. Elections have been delayed, and now, student activities in buildings have been prohibited and stringent organization recognition requirements have led to the non-recognition of a large number of student organizations.” She cited that only a few varsitarian organizations were recognized and no religious organizations were also recognized by the Office of Student Affairs.

Rayan Brozula, NUSP-Southern Tagalog deputy secretary general, said that the state of UPLB reflects the state of other schools in the region. He said that contrary to the claim of Malacañang that no state university increased tuition this school year, the University of Rizal System increased tuition by 100% from P50/unit to P100/unit. In PUP-San Pedro, an additional P500 special assessment fee was collected from freshmen.

“Arroyo’s statement to freeze tuition in state universities is hypocritical because while she says this, her government’s actions are forcing state schools to increase tuition. Education budget remains meager, and the budget of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, which has at least seven branches in Southern Tagalog, was slashed,” Brozula said.

Also protesting against the education crisis, youth group ANAKBAYAN-Southern Tagalog is now on its eighth day of an eighteen-day cultural caravan. The caravan has held almost daily protest actions against this and the escalating price of rice and oil since July 10 in Rizal and Cavite and is now holding workshops in Laguna.

At 5PM, the group held cultural performances in communities along the Laguna Lake to condemn the threat of demolition in the area.

ANAKBAYAN-Southern Tagalog secretary general PJ Santos said that the worsening poverty is reflected in the report of the National Statistical Coordination Board that the enrollment in primary school dropped to 83% in the last school year from 90% five years ago. “The escalating prices of oil, rice and other basic commodities and services coupled with the rising tuition have greatly increased the number of out-of-school youth. Our parents could no longer stretch their meager wage and salaries to include education because it is not even enough to bring food to the table three times a day. If oil prices hike up to P70/liter, more youth will be forced to stop schooling and instead find jobs.”

Santos also hit Arroyo’s continuing campaign to banner the Value-added tax as pro-people through various subsidies. “These subsidies are insincere band-aid solutions because these would not significantly solve the problem of poverty in the country.” He said they have been collecting signatures to campaign for the removal of the 12% VAT on oil during the caravan.###
 

For more information, please contact 09282039214.
 

 

“We are sure that thousands of youth in the region will participate in the massive protest action to show the true state of the nation on July 28 at Crossing, Calamba,” PJ Santos, ANAKBAYAN-TK secretary general, said. He said they have been holding almost daily protest actions in public markets since July 10 where they have also gathered signatures for the removal of the 12% VAT on oil.

“Because of the rising prices of oil, rice, and tuition, many parents can no longer send their children to school especially since the daily minimum wage is way below the daily cost of living. Whatever subsidies or slight drop in the price of rice the Arroyo government is bragging about will not alleviate poverty because the basic problems of oil deregulation, VAT, and a bogus land reform remain,” Dennis Agudo, spokesperson of ANAKBAYAN-Quezon, said.

The group created an effigy depicting Gloria Arroyo as a snake because they said “the Arroyo regime was sowing terror in the province of Quezon because of intensified military operations that victimize innocent civilians.” “In Quezon, rights abuses committed by the military have not dropped and are still rampant especially in peasant communities. The Arroyo administration is not only killing the people of Quezon through hunger but is also beating us to death through abductions, illegal arrests, torture and harassment, and extra-judicial killings,“ Agudo said.

He cited that 10 political prisoners are being detained at the Quezon Provincial jail which includes a 75-year old farmer from Macalelon town who was arrested this month because he was being accused of being an NPA supporter. “The Arroyo administration’s scheme is crafting various criminal cases to file against innocent civilians and members of progressive organizations. Amid the escalating crisis in oil and rice and the worsening poverty, the people have the right to express their discontent and fight for their rights. But intense militarization in the countryside of Quezon is desperately trying to stifle the protest of the people. Nevertheless, the protest camps that we are putting up will show that the youth and people of Quezon have had enough of extreme poverty and will not be cowed by harassments from the Arroyo administration,” Agudo said.
 

“The new SWS survey showing that 14.5M Filipinos are hungry is more than enough reason for the youth hold various forms of protest and call for Arroyo’s ouster. This early, we will expose the cruel conditions that we are in and the hardships the youth have to go through just to be able to eat and survive each day,” Santos said.

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For more information, please contact 09282039214.

 

 

ANAKBAYAN-QUEZON
PRESS RELEASE Reference: Dennis Agudo
July 23, 2008 Spokesperson, ANAKBAYAN-Quezon

Day 14, Aral at Sining ng Kabataan sa Kalsada:

Youth group prepares cultural performances in support of transport strike tomorrow

On their fourteenth day on the road, youth group Anakbayan-Timog Katagalugan prepared cultural performances in Sariaya, Quezon as part of their participation in the regional transport strike tomorrow. Since July 21, they have helped put up protest camps in Tiaong and Candelaria where they have prepared various protest materials, including an effigy of Arroyo and a mural depicting the calls of the youth in Quezon. The activity is part of the 18-day caravan which holds workshops in the five provinces of Southern Tagalog to call on the youth to flood the streets on July 28 to protest Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address. The caravan has already held such workshops and protest actions in Rizal, Cavite , and Laguna. ►►►

           

 

 
 

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