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

Tulong KABATAAN, Relief Drive for #YolandaPH victims

Kapit-bisig mga kababayan!

Let’s monitor updates and prepare to help kababayans affected by #YolandaPH.

Please post important news, information, photos and prepare for relief and rehabilitation operations.


Help by gathering food, medicines, clothing, cash, agricultural inputs, etc, repacking the donations, soliciting more donations and helping deliver the goods to our kababayans in the affected areas.

DONATE via Paypal. Click here:

VOLUNTEER. Sign-up here:

DONATE via bank:

(a) Account name: National Union of Students of the Philippines
Branch: China Bank Quezon Avenue-D. Tuazon
Peso Checking Account No: 107-248551-3

(b) For dollar transactions, the LFS account:
Account Name: League of Filipino Students Landbank Dollar Account
Account Number: 3074-0011-72

You can also donate goods:

FOOD: rice, canned goods, dried fish, bread and biscuits, eggs, mongo beans, coffee and sugar, milk and formula milk, bottled water, oil and cooking condiments

MEDICINE: paracetamol, anti-diarrhea, medicine for cough and colds, hydration salts, water purification tablets, medicine for prevention of leptospirosis, vitamins

NON-FOOD: blankets and sleeping mats/bags, tents, tarpaulins for temporary shelter, clothes for the young and old especially underwear for the women, candles and flashlights, cooking utensils, toiletries especially sanitary napkin for the women, toys, art supplies and school supplies

Our main drop-off points are as follows:

(1) Kabataan Partylist HQ: #5 Palosapis St., Brgy Amihan, Proj 3 Quezon City
(2) CEGP National Office, 37-C Yale St., Cubao, Quezon City

(1) LFS HQ, 1650 Sisa St., Sampaloc Karatula Up Manila

Feel free to let us know if you wish to set up a drop-off point in your school or university.

About Tulong Kabataan:

Tulong Kabataan Volunteer Network is a SEC-registered non-profit organization formed by national youth organizations, student councils, and campus publications.

The major objective of the relief drive led by Tulong Kabataan is to consolidate efforts among the youth in gathering immediate relief for the affected communities. We also aim to reach out to other communities affected by the calamity that are not currently covered by ongoing relief and rescue operations.

SERVE’s Self-Awareness Seminar 2013

Last August 10, I joined my fellow Lasallian SERVE volunteers for their annual Self-Awareness Seminar where I gave a talk about Volunteerism. The Self-Awareness Seminar or SAS is the first formation/training program that new SERVE volunteers must attend in order to become full-pledged members. For those who are wondering, SERVE stands for Students’ Extension of Resources through Voluntary Efforts. It is a program for Transformative Education of the Lasallian Community Development Center. It is also the oldest student-volunteer program of De La Salle University – Dasmarinas in fulfillment of its holistic Lasallian formation and social action program.

SAS-ALT 2013

For this year, SAS was held in the beautiful Lopez Farm in Naic, Cavite. Getting there was a real challenge as there were no markers or signage to point where it is exactly. In general though, it is located in Barangay Sabang, Naic, Cavite some two and a half hours south of Manila.

It’s on the left hand side of the road from Pala-pala where you’d have to keep an eye out for a great white wall quickly followed by an old factory painted in green with a metal gate. Right beside is it a narrow dirt road that winds its way through a rice field which easily becomes impassable for cars and sedans once heavy rain turns into a small creek.

But the short adventure ride is rewarded by the sight of Lopez Farm which really gives you a nice, relaxed and peaceful countryside ambiance. ideal for retreats, gatherings and of course training.

We stayed there for one and a half days which was spent on a good combination of lectures and team-building activities designed to welcome students into the life of being a Lasallian volunteer. My fellow alumni joined in as well continuing the tradition of “once a volunteer, always a volunteer.”

The gist of my presentation, could be summed up in the following line from the Principles of Lasallian Social Development ((Guiding Principles of the Philippine Lasallian Family, 2nd Edition)):

Lasallians must act to eliminate forms of human suffering that contradict God’s plan of fullness of life.

I look forward to joining them again in their up coming activities. Seeing the passion in their eyes, I quite pleased and proud to say that after we’ve been long gone from DLSU-D, the spirit of Lasallian volunteerism lives on and just keeps on getting stronger. You can learn more about them via their Facebook page here. Students of DLSU-D can make their college life more worthwhile by joining and becoming a volunteer. 🙂

Glad to see that SERVE is in good hands

When I took a leave of absence for the 1st semester, one of the greatest concerns for my self and my fellow volunteers were who would lead SERVE? Despite the worries, I took faith in my fellow senior volunteers and trusted in their skills, talents and above-all, dedication and commitment to the organization. For it’s my belief that no matter how much you possess of the former, what’s really important is the latter.

SERVE Volunteers 2010
SERVE volunteers - alumni, residents and new recruits

Last Saturday, during the Initial Common Experience (aka General Assembly) for new SERVE volunteers, I saw plenty of commitment and dedication from the senior volunteers now in charge of the organization.

It was the very first time that they managed a major activity all on their own, with completely no directions or intervention from me. It wasn’t the best but it was a great success. They took the activity as their own as they introduced team-building activities that were new to the group, yet effective and fun. Though there were a few rough edges, it’s forgivable since this was the first time they were completely on their own.

There were 14 new volunteers present. Most were silent yet cooperative, which is only natural because they are new recruits and they’ve met each other only then. But in each one, I know that they have enjoyed themselves and I’m confident that they’d stay long in the organization. That in itself is a great victory for the senior volunteers.

Now I look forward to the upcoming Self-Awareness Seminar and Advanced Leadership Training this August. The lessons the seniors learned in conducting a training activity would certainly make the upcoming activity exciting and fun. Hopefully, I’d be able to join them along with the other alumni.

Congratulations to the seniors!

PhotoHunt: Fast

It’s been a long while since I last joined PhotoHunt. How I missed doing this every weekend. Well, here’s my contribution for this week’s theme: Fast.


It’s the human piggyback race we held as part of the team-building exercises of the 2008 Self-Awareness Seminar & Advanced Leadership Training for the SERVE Volunteers of DLSUD.

It was a fun-filled and learning three days wherein the student-volunteers were molded into a single body of Lasallian volunteers. Check out the rest of the photos on Flickr.

Celebrating National Volunteers’s Month in DLSU-D

Designated as the National Volunteers’ Month by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 55, December is a big month for us Lasallian volunteers, not only because it’s Christmas season but more importantly, it’s during this month that nation officially celebrates the spirit of volunteerism & service. This if further strengthened by the Volunteer Act of 2007 or R.A. 9418 which promotes the participation of various sectors of the public and the government in doing volunteer work and fostering the spirit of volunteerism.

That’s why at DLSU-D, the various student-volunteer organizations will gather today to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism, of the Lasallian kind. Volunteers from SERVE, LS Verde, Campus Peer Ministers, ROTC Officers, University Peer Counsellors’ Group, ULFO Volunteers, and the Friends of the Library will kick off the celebrations by offering a Holy Mass today at the University Chapel. This would be followed with a silent march in protest of the Maguindanao Massacre and to express our demands of justice for the victims.

To highlight our message, the Advocacy program of SERVE has put together a simple yet powerful slideshow about the gruesome tragedy;

After our silent march on campus grounds, we will all proceed to the Severino De Las Alas Hall for the program proper where all the volunteer organizations could get to know one another much better, share the best practices we have and plan for future joint activities to further our goals and missions, and to show the community that spirit of volunteerism is very much alive and is at work for their development.

Watch for photos and stories of the event.

Mabuhay ang mga Lasalyanong Boluntir! Mabuhay ang diwa ng bolunterismo!

5th Asian Youth Day Opening on March 14

Just won my battle with tonsillitis and so it’s back to blogging. I’d break this long hiatus by making this announcement.

The 5th Asian Youth Day which will be hosted this year by the Diocese of Imus for the Philippines will have an opening program this coming Saturday, March 14, 2009. The opening program will be hosted by my home parish of Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria, Silang, Cavite from 1pm to 3pm.

Plus, the organizers have just announced through the AYD mailing list that the dress code for the opening program would be Filipiniana. So do your best to come in your Filipino dresses or at least something that carries the spirit of being a Filipino.

I’m a bit excited already because I’ll be covering the event as part of the AYD5’s Press Relations committee. Also, I’d get to meet again the other volunteers who signed up to make the coming AYD a big success.

More so, the 5th Asian Youth Day would finally kick off and all the other youths of from all over Asia would come over to celebrate faith and the possibilites that young of Asia could do.

See you all this Saturday!

Photos: 1st Volunteers’ Meeting for the Asian Youth Day 2009

This photo post is long overdue, but what the heck, here it is finally!

AYD Volunteer plenary

Last January 31, 2008 me and a couple of SERVE volunteers attended the first volunteers’ meeting for the up coming Asian Youth Day of which the Philippines will be hosting it on November 23-27, 2009.

I saw a lot of familiar faces during the meeting which was held at the Girls’ Town in Silang, Cavite. The youthful and energetic Bishop of the Diocese of Imus, Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, DD, STD, was the keynote speaker in which he announced that the Diocese of Imus would be the particular host in the Philippines for the 5th Asian Youth Day.

Our hostDelegate sharingYes to this callingElderly sign-up tooVolunteer sign-up

An awesome and humbling task indeed for all the faithful youth in this corner of Cavite. However, the daunting task that lies ahead simply added more to the volunteers’ excitement and passion to make the up coming 5th Asian Youth Day a smashing success.

Committees were formed in order to make this possible, to spread the load and maximize the potentials, energy and creativity of the volunteers. I joined the Press Relations Committee which will be in-charge of providing media services and documentation to the event, and I’m excited to start working already because with me are really talented and creative photographers, graphics designers, journalists, web gurus and the like. It will be fun, plus I will get to learn a lot from my fellow committee members which will help me in improving my photography skills. The ultimate goal though, is to put all this creative potentials to the service of God, and of our fellow Asian Youth.

With the theme, “YASIA Fiesta – Young Asians: Come together, Share the Word, Live the Eucharist” which is the organizers’ spin on this year’s theme of “Celebrating the Eucharist“, the 5th Asian Youth Day will be exciting and an event to remember.

Watch out for more updates and stories as November gets closer and the 5th Asian Youth Day itself unfolds in the backyard of the Diocese of Imus.

A busy week Sept 4 to Sept 8

Again, it will be a busy week for me for I have the following engagements and tasks lined up in the next 6 days:

Today I must finish preparations for the a top-secret plan of the USC to help promote and strenghten Students’ Rights in DLSU-D. I’ll definitely write a lot about it here in the coming days. It will all be unveiled on September 12, 2007 which is next Wednesday.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 5 I have two appointments which are in conflict with each other! 😥

1) Is the “Dare to Bare” project, a university-wide debate about one crucial and fundamental Feminist issue: “Who defines what is beauty?” More to the point, “Who has been saying what is beautiful or not? And why all women seem to be struggling to conform with it?”

It’s a joint-project between the Lasallian Women’s Circle and Vox La Salle Debating Society which I co-founded just last June. Participants in the debate would be representatives form the 7 colleges of DLSU-D and the University Student Council.

2) Is an evaluation meeting for the SERVE Volunteers’ recently concluded 2-day training “SAS + ALT ’07” which was held last Aug 31 to Sept. 1 at La Constancia Farm, Silang, Cavite. It was the very first SERVE formation and training activity I attended since I joined the group last 2005. Pictures are already in my Zooomr account.

Both would take place at the same time, from 1pm to 3pm. Oh God help me!

Thursday would be the same as today, follow up preparations for the September 12 event. Plus I’ll be able to continue major work on the two sites I manage; Genshiken and LIFE.

Friday, on top of my regular classes, I will be giving a talk about the role of youth in community development at a forum organized by the College of Liberal Arts. Joining me as a fellow speaker is Sir Lucky Godinez of the Lasallian Community Development Center, the mother-unit of SERVE. The audience would be Comm Arts, Pol SCI and Journalism students.

I hope I don’t get chewed up by them, once they find out I’m a Biology student. 😉 Nonetheless, I will come adequately prepared and with something else up my sleeve so to speak. Again, I’ll be talking about it here too in the coming days.

Saturday, I have two events that are in conflict once more. 😥

1) The Tree-planting activity by DLSU-D at Mts Palay-palay probably in coordination with LIFE. I need to be there because I need to talk to the LIFE team about their new website, plus it would be a great new adventure once more.

However, there’s

2) Bloggers’ Kapihan: Blogging Beyond the Basic over at the Philippine Science Highschool. It’s the very first installment of the BK series and I’m really looking forward to joining the event. Hmmm….right now, I’m decided on attending this one instead of the tree-planting adventure in Mts Palay-palay. I was there during the first so I think it’s okay to skip the second one.

Invitations are still open, just click on the link above and leave a message in the comments thread.

Hope of the motherland

I found this video thanks to Sexy Mom and Sonnie’s Porch. It’s about a project of the ‘scholars for the people’ wherein they showcase the possibilities and hope in today’s youth. We’ve heard of this since time immemorial right? So why even bother listening to them? Simply because, whether we like it or not, they are the future.

What’s even better is that this particular group of students belong to that future and in the video they made they are sampling to us the very things we need for a bright future: high dreams, hope, idealism, principles and love of the motherland.

Hi! I am Felize Mendoza, a 2nd year student from Philippine Science High School. I just want to show you our project in Social Science (Pisay Meets World), We Hold the Future. It shows how students like us can make a difference.

Please click the link below (my teacher’s blog) and please also click the video frame which links to YouTube, please leave a comment there, you need an account to comment (in YouTube). We need comments.

The video will take only about 5-6 minutes of your time.

Would you mind putting our video on our site? It would be very much appreciated.

Thank you very much. Ü

This brings back to mind a song by Gary Granada entitled “Nasa Ating mga Kamay” which coincidentally was performed by his own children in their amazing album, Rock n’ Roll Grade School.

Words & Music GARY GRANADA

Rock N Roll Grade School, 1996

Nasating mga kamay, nasating mga kamay
Ang kinabuksan ay nasating mga kamay
Nasating mga kamay, nasating mga kamay
Ang pagpapasya’y nasating kamay Wala sa gulong at guhit ng tadhana
Wala sa gitna, panganay at bunso
Wala rin sa swerte at wala sa tsamba
Tabi, tabi po, nuno sa punso

Nasating mga kamay…

Wala sa nunal, wala sa kapalaran
Bolang kristal at mga bituin
Wala sa baraha at wala sa bilang
Abrakadabra at anting-anting

Nasating mga kamay…

Nasa mga kamay na masigasig
Nasa mga kamay na matiyaga
Nasa mga kamay na masisipag
Nasa mga kamay na masigla

Nasa mga kamay na malikhain
Nasa mga kamay na maliksi
Nasa mga kamay na kumikilos
Nakasalalay ang minimithi

Nasating mga kamay…
Nasating mga kamay…
Nasating mga kamay!