28 May 2012
Protest vs Ched, DRSUS marks Oplan Balik-Eskwela
DAVAO CITY — Younger students who will be enrolling during today’s Oplan Balik-Eskwela may not be enjoying the accessibility to State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) when they reach college. Blame it on the Commission on Higher Education’s (Ched) prodding for the approval of House Bill 5311 which aims to merge four state universities in Davao Region into one system, said militant youth organization Anakbayan.
Ched said Saturday that Davao Regional State Universities System (DRSUS) was “intended to pool meager resources.” But Anakbayan believes DRSUS is only a manifestation of the government’s drive to privatize social services including education.
“What Ched said was rubbing salt to the wound. The government has long been neglecting education by giving it meager resources and now they are about to merge four SUCs into one, meaning the number of SCUs that is supposed to provide accessibility of education will be decreased,” Cherry Orendain, regional spokesperson of Anakbayan, said.
“With tuition and other fees increase of 200 higher education institutions, and now DRSUS bill, Ched and the Aquino government has once again proved that they are pro-privatization of our education,” Orendain said.
According to Ched-XI Regional Director Edward Aquino, DRSUS bill aims to maximize the meager budget of Davao Region’s four State Universities and Colleges namely: University of Southeastern Philippines, Davao Oriental State College for Science and Technology, Southern Philippines Agribusiness and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology and Davao del Norte State College.
“Amalgamation of SUCs is never a solution to the deteriorating quality of tertiary education. DRSUS bill further justifies the continuous decrease in the budget for SUCs,” Orendain said.
Orendain noted that DRSUS bill is in line with the neo-liberal framework on education promoted by the Aquino administration which aims to privatize public institutions like state universities and colleges.
Aquino’s message in light of the 2011 fiscal budget was gearing towards the gradual reduction of government subsidy to SUCs “to push them toward becoming self-sufficient and financially independent, given their ability to raise their income and to utilize it for their programs and projects.”
Meanwhile, Ched approved tuition and other fees hike in 45 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Davao region, 22 of which are from Davao City.
“Ched brags that HEIs that will increase their tuition this school year have conducted consultations. How can they be sure when they were not even present during the scheduled consultation?” Orendain asked.
She added, “They did not even establish the Regional Multi-Sectoral Committee on Tuition Fee as mandated by their own Memorandum No. 13 series of 1998.”
“DRSUS bill and tuition and other fees increase are double blow to the poverty-stricken Filipino youth and parents today,” Orendain said.
Anakbayan, along with parents and teachers organizations, is gearing towards a bigger protest during the opening of classes next week.