Youth solon slams tuition hikes, low wages
Kabataan Partylist Representative Raymond Palatino today deplored the new round of tuition hikes approved by the government’s education agencies as it will only “send families living in meager wages scampering to cushion themselves from its devastating impacts. “
The Department of Education yesterday gave permission to at least 120 private schools in Metro Manila alone to increase their tuition for the 2012-2013 school year. Meanwhile, at least 300 higher education institutions are seeking the permission of Commission on Higher Education to increase tuition for the next school year.
“With workers’ wages remaining pegged at alarmingly low levels, the youth solon said the added cost of education will make it even more difficult for many Filipino families to cope with the rising prices of commodities and go by the excruciating demands of everyday living,” he said.
Citing an Ibon Foundation study which shows that wages increased by merely 45 percent while prices hiked by 62 percent for the period 2001-2011, Palatino asks how the government could afford to approve increases in tuition rates amidst a “clear disconnect between the already burdensome costs of education and basic commodities and the and the capacity of workers to pay for these basic needs.”
Palatino also said that DepEd and CHED are forgoing foregoing constitutional mandate to regulate the “crazy accession” of tuition and other fee over the years.
Palatino cited the the Supreme Court decision in 1992 in the case of Lina vs. Carino which asserted that the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (now the Ched in the case of tertiary education) has the power to set guidelines for and limit the imposition of tuition adjustments.
“It is simply unnerving and mind-boggling how easily the government gives private schools the green light to jack up their tuition rates while perpetually stalling just demands for a substantial wage increase,” the youth solon said. “The government is quick to defend the greed of private schools and corporations in their quest for greater profit by imposing sky-high charges and pressing down workers’ wages, respectively, while it comes up with the flimsiest of excuses to avoid tuition and price regulation and the provision of an across-the-board wage hike,” he said.
“This double standard is a clear demonstration of government bias towards private corporations and capitalist-educators despite their malevolent interests and insensitivity to the plight of the poor. It is enraging how the government conveniently shuns its role to uphold the rights of citizens to affordable education and decent living just to appease private schools and companies,” he said.
Palatino is also pushing for the passage into law of his two tuition and other fee bills, namely HB no. 3708 or the “Three-year Tuition Moratorium Act” and HB no. 4286 or the “Tuition and Other Fees
“A tuition moratorium, more than providing a pause for thought to regulate tuition increase will provide immediate economic relief to students and parents especially in the context of the unabated price increases and the unjust imposition of fee increases in schools,” Palatino said.
The youth solon is also a co-author of HB no. 375 which seeks to privde for a P125 daily across-the-board increase in the salary rates of employees and workers in the private sector.