MANILA — Youth group Anakbayan today called on newly-proclaimed President Benigno Aquino III to prioritize the growing number of drop-outs in the first months of his term.
In a press conference today, Anakbayan national vice-chairperson Anton Dulce called on Aquino to pressure the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) into immediately implementing a tuition freeze for the year.
The tuition freeze was first proposed by partylist group Kabataan in response to the CHED’s announcement that it allowed 339 colleges and universities nationwide to raise tuition and other fees this year.
Anakbayan also challenged the president-elect to address the growing number of out-of-school (OSY) youth by closing the gap between the daily cost of living of families and the incomes of parents.
According to the Dept. of Education, the number of OSYs increased by 78% from 2001 to 2001. Last year, the DepEd said there are 5.6 million OSYs.
“There are many drop-outs, even from public elementary and high schools where there is no tuition fee. With the high costs of basic commodities and their low incomes, many parents can’t afford even just their children’s baon or allowance. Many also stop sending their kids to school so kids can contribute to their families’ meager earnings” said Dulce.
He said: “We ask Aquino to prioritize, not just the freeze in tuition increases, but also a legislated P125 across-the-board, nationwide wage hike. It will go a long way in enabling parents to send their children to school”.
Earlier, Anakbayan had dismissed the approved P22 wage increase for Metro Manila workers as “cheap” and “insufficient’.
“We also ask Noynoy to cut down on the prices of basic goods. We urge him to ignore the advice of ‘Arroyo economic hacks’ to raise the VAT to 15%. Finally, he should also review and consider scrapping the Oil Deregulation Law and the EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) to control petroleum prices and electricity rates” said the group’s vice-chairperson.
Dulce also announced that his group would join other student and youth groups in a rally next Tuesday to call for immediate government action in addressing the rise in the cost of education and in the number of OSYs in our country today. #