By DELIA BAGNI
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Militant groups staged a protest action in the hope to get across their demands to President Benigno Aquio III who witnessed the mass oath taking of new Liberal Party at the Benguet State University gym here, June 25.
Police officers immediately dispersed the group leaving four people hurt.
According to Cielo Marie Bayson, coordinator of Kabataan Partylist-Cordillera, one of the protester’s shirt was torn and another was slapped by the police marshals dispersing them. She said the victims were members of the Ornus and ACT.
Among the organizations that joined the protest action were Pinatud, Anakbayan, Organisasyon dagiti Nakurapay nga Umili ti Syudad (Ornus), Dap-ayan ti Kultura ti Kordillera, Inabuyog Gabriela, and Alliance of Concern Teachers (ACT).
Bayson said they just wanted to tell the President to act on issues that needs immediate solution like the meager wages of workers, lack of decent paying jobs, exorbitant tuition and other fee increases and government policies that do not really benefit the people.
Bayson reiterated that tuition and other fee increases hurt the the students and parents. “With the increasing costs of basic expenses like transportation and food, skyrocketing school expenses are pushing the youth to choose between an education and survival,” she added.
She further called on schools to be more transparent in financial matters and expenses while engaging students in genuine consultation with regard to student fees.
Bayson also called on the President to drop the K+12 program reiterating that by adding two more years to the primary education curriculum, it is an added burden on parents already struggling to send their children to school. She added that the additional years will amplify the already lacking school facilities and needs like classrooms, chairs, books and teachers.
Moreover, she criticized the PNoy administration for extending a $1 billion loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as assistance to countries that need financial help.
“Bakit pa magpapautang, marami pang mga programa na pwedeng paggamitan ng perang ipapautang ng bansa,” Bayson stressed. She added that the funds could have been spent in improving basic education, employment, food security and among other national concerns.
The president immediately left the BSU gym after his speech aboard a helicopter. # nordis.net