During the Spanish occupation of the country more than a century ago, a momentous scene occurred in Balintawak which would later become an oft-cited example of the Filipinos’ nationalist spirit in the face of oppression – the Cry of Balintawak.
Today, even as the Spaniards are long ousted in the country, the Filipino people continue to be haunted by various kinds of oppression. Among the youth, one of the areas where their rights are grossly violated is in education. As we are now in the first quarter of the year, it is time to be vigilant of the proposed tuition fee increases within higher private educational institutions. The studentry must ensure that these tuition increase proposals undergo proper consultations following the guidelines issued by CHED. Our recent experiences have led to documentation of various means to bypass the proper consultation process such as the lack of information dissemination to the students and the school administration’s inability to show the school’s fiscal report. On the basic levels of education, as March approaches, we must guard against graduation fees which are already forbidden by the Department of Education. The KABATAAN Partylist already created a hotline where complaints against imposition of graduation fees can be made. Lastly, the controversial K Plus 12 program continues to be implemented and Grade 7 will begin this June. However, the old problems of insufficient facilities, books, classrooms and teachers persist and cast immense doubt on the effectiveness of the program. The government is clearly not heeding its constituents.
Tomorrow, February 21, the youth of Baguio City shall voice out their indignation regarding the current plight of the education system. Led by Anakbayan Cordillera, different youth groups will reenact the Cry of Balintawak with a contemporary twist –instead of acting against a colonial power, the youth will denounce the existing policies and mispriorities in education. Join us at 12 noon at the Main Gate of Saint Louis University and at 12:30 at K.M.O as we protect our right to education.
Tracy Anne Dumalo, Anakbayan Cordillera