Not a question of funds, but of priorities: Youth party slams Duterte’s ‘ewan ko’ on free educ law, decries neoliberal policies

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

“Duterte has just exposed his inutility. He is desperately trying to placate the angry youth by signing the bill, and has no real regard for the welfare of the youth. After all, isn’t he the same president that commanded to bomb Lumad schools in Mindanao?”

This is Kabataan Partylist’s response to Duterte’s recent statement saying that he ‘does not know’ where to source the funds for the recently signed free education law.

“It’s not a question of funds, but rather of priorities,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said.

“Funds for implementing and funding free education are easily allocatable. But government, unfortunately, has its sights on something else: profiteering under the US imperialist neoliberal framework in education,” Elago explained.

“For instance, the economic trio of NEDA-DBM-DoF are quick to react that ‘there are no funds for free education,’ and that billions are needed Meanwhile, there is a ballooning budget alloted for debt servicing and militarization, as well as trillions in spending for infrastructure.”

“Foreign debts in the past years have always been the leeway to introduce neoliberal policies in our educational system and other basic social services. Neoliberalism has been the mastermind behind intense privatization and deregulation of supposedly public goods. For instance, the IMF-World Bank, one of the most massive sources of foreign debt in the past years, has been pushing for interventionist policies in education, most notably the Education Act of 1982,” Elago explained.

The youth party calls on the youth and the Filipino people to continue the fight for free education, and strengthen the call to junk the Education Act of 1982 and all neoliberal policies in education, and to end all forms of tuition and other fees collection.

“The government should halt the decades-old order of profiteering and privatization of basic services such as education, lest the ‘free tuition law’ end up as a token reform. As it seems, the US-Duterte regime is busy crying drugs for supposedly destroying the youth, while being insincere in addressing the high costs of education. The youth are, indeed, strong, and will march in their thousands to call for a nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented education that is mandated as a right,” Elago concluded. ###