On the morning on January 15, chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Patricia Licuanan, announced her resignation.
“Reading on the circumstances that made her step down, it appears to be a forced resignation. It’s just another part of the regime’s tyrannical plot to consolidate its power,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said.
It also seems that the Duterte administration is trying to use Licuanan as a scapegoat for its accountability on CHED’s fiasco regarding K-12 fund, the delayed release of Higher Education Support Fund (HESF) to State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and its utilization of the Free Education law to further commercialize higher education. All of these and other related issues and calls should be addressed promptly. Licuanan should surely be held responsible if proven guillty of the allegations against her. But removing her from office do not necessarily absolve the Duterte administration and CHED from their accountability,” Elago added.
“Changing the head is futile as long as the institution’s framework remains neoliberal and the policies implemented further commercializes higher education. As proven by history, only the pressure of a strong student movement has ever made any difference with how the government will recognize the right to education as a state policy. Whoever is seated as chairperson of CHED, the student movement will continue its campaigns against commercialized and neoliberal education. Even now, we remain vigilant with the implementing rules and regulations of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017. We will make sure that the policy of “no collection”, as clearly stated in the law, shall be fully implemented for the benefit of the students. We will frustrate the attempts of Duterte to use the Free Education law as a tool to pacify the student movement. We will expose its maneuvers to use the said law to intensify commercialization of higher education instead of truly serving the Filipino people,” she added.
“If Duterte maintains the same neoliberal policies in education and the kind of powerplay and dirty tactics he has been using to evade liabilities, we suppose it is not only Licuanan who has to go. Duterte also has to go,” she concluded.###