From ‘Free tuition in SCUs’ to ‘not available to all’

Oblation - UP Diliman by Deondre Ng

When news broke out that Php 8 billion pesos has been allotted to the Commission on Higher Education’s 2017 budget to allow for free tuition in State Colleges and Universities, the public broke out in celebration. At long last, the dream of a free higher education which the people specially the youth have long struggled for, was at hand.

KABATAAN Partylist even hailed the move as a ‘game-changer‘:

The Filipino youth celebrates and embraces this development, which potentially makes the Philippines at par with some of the great nations of the world – including Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Germany – when it comes to providing for free tuition in state schools.

Part of the statement was warning, that now it seems, turned out to be prophetic:

We must do everything in our power to have it implemented quickly and with a positive effect on students and the SUC community

How so? It turns out that when Duterte affixed his signature to the 2017 budget, he vetoed some items and put others under “conditional implementation“:

Yet, as with all new programs, there is a need to safeguard the proper implementation of the provision of free tuition fee. It is important to underscore that we must give priority to financially disadvantaged but academically able students.

CHED was quick to dance the President’s tune and clarified what would the “conditional implementation” be actually like, according to CHED chair Patricia Licuanan:

To bring the country closer to the reality of free college education, the commission will work overtime to ensure that the wisdom and specific intentions of lawmakers will be accurately reflected in the free tuition guidelines it is set to create.

It will be guided by fairness, cost recovery and alignment of incentives. CHED will ensure that the wide-reaching implications of this major reform in Higher Education will be brought about effectively, and any negative consequences will be minimized.

She may not have spelled it out, but it means that the Php 8 billion peso fund will no longer cover the tuition fee for all students in state Colleges and Universities, it will be used to further implement the ‘socialized tuition system’ and other scholarship programs in UP and other SCUs. No blanket free tuition for all.

With this, celebrations for free higher education may have to be cut short as these recent developments need the further vigilance and scrutiny of the public specially the youth. Php 8 billion is no small fund. It must be used as intended, to provide for free tuition in state colleges and universities. More on this in the following days.

Image by Deondre Ng

Rediscover the fun of reading at the National Library!

It's more fun at the National LibraryWhen was the last time you enjoyed reading a book? Or the last time a line or chapter kept on playing on in your mind you even dreamed of it?

When was the last time you entered a room full of bookshelves brimming with books without price tags on each? Where you could grab one that you fancy and just spend the hours away in one corner with?

Kabataan Party-list, the only youth party-list, and Bloggers Kapihan invite you to feel the excitement of reading books in the library. On February 18, from 1 to 5pm, we invite you to join us at the National Library of the Philippines in Ermita, Manila. Come and learn how we can save our libraries and foster a culture of reading. Come and read a book to gain more knowledge. Please leave a comment, and we will add you to our guest list.
It’s more fun at the National Library!

Finally: House Inquiry on Substandard Broadband Internet Services in the Philippines

When Senator Juan Ponce Enrile led the Senate inquiries on the sneaky practices of telcos about their SMS and call services in December last year, most of us netizens thought that an inquiry in to the crappy internet services the same telcos offer would be next. After gaining political brownie points from putting telcos on the hot seat, which gave birth to the short-lived non-expiring prepaid credit promos, no one else in congress bothered to look into the other woeful services we consumers had to put up with.

We all know the sorry and crappy state of the internet in the Philippines. Forums, blogs and social networking sites are teeming with stories from irate customers about how screwed up broadband internet services are in the country.

Now, we have a new hope, as fellow blogger and Kabataan party-list Rep. Mong Palatino has filed House Resolution No 407 which would call for an investigation about the ‘substandard’ broadband internet services here in the country.

HR 407- Inquiry on Broadband Internet Services

It’s about time. Let us call on our Congressmen to support this measure. Exercise their duties of really voicing out the concerns of us their constituents and finally make this telcos accountable for shortchanging their subscribers.

You can visit Kabataan Party-list’s website and send stories of your experience with your internet connection.

Blog Action Day Feb. 25, 2010: The Real Heroes of EDSA

On the real anniversary of the first EDSA Revolution, KABATAAN Partylist is inviting everyone to blog about the stories about the real heroes of of EDSA: the common folks who joined the peaceful movement that brought down the Marcos Dictatorship.

Most of people in my age were too young to have any real recollection or memory of those historic days, I was just a year old back then, so it would be a nice chance to talk to our uncles, aunts, parents, grandparents who were there or took part in the struggle for restoration of democracy in the Philippines.

It could also be about how they experienced life under martial law because the People Power at EDSA was just a culmination of the long struggle against the Marcos tyranny. You can also post old photos, artworks, newspaper clippings or any other memorabilia from the period. It’s all about telling the people’s side of the EDSA story.

Once your post is published, link back to the KABATAAN blog post about this Blog Action Day event so that a directory of posts could be put together. You’re also free to grab the badge below and put it in your post or blog.

Blog Action Day: The Real Heroes of EDSA

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Relive the spirit of EDSA and retell the story from the people’s point of view.