DAVAO CITY – Thousands of students in Metro Manila walked out of classes Friday in protest of tuition hike and the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic leaders meeting.
The students led by youth groups Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, National Union of Students of the Philippines and Kabataan Partylist marched to Mendiola and the US embassy where they burned APEC logos and flags of the United States.
They came from the University of the Philippines, Polytechic University of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle University.
In a statement, Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of Anakbayan said “APEC’s globalization agenda worsened the education crisis in the Philippines. Because of privatization and deregulation of education, tuition rates soared, drop-outs increased and education has been further reoriented to serve big foreign capital.”
Crisostomo said tuition rates have increased by as much as 3000 percent since 1989, citing the tuition rates in UP as example which hiked from P40 per unit in 1989 to P1,500 currently.
“Deregulation of tuition and privatization of education which the APEC pushed and which the government dogmatically followed proved to be disastrous for the youth. It betrays the basic principle that education is a right, not a commodity or, worse a privilege of a few,” he said.
He said globalization also caused the “dumbing down” of Filipinos and the further dilution of nationalist-oriented subjects in favor of those demanded by big corporations for cheap labor.
“The colonial, commercialized and fascist education system has worsened under APEC’s globalization model. It has turned our young people into cheap labor and modern day slaves for big multinationals,” he said.
The groups said they will hold bigger protests next week in Manila as world leaders meet for APEC. (davaotoday.com)