Victory! Youth party mulls steps towards free education


BAGUIO CITY – With the approval of the P8.3-billion allocation for free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the 2017 national budget, the Cordillera chapter of Kabataan Partylist heralds a “victory” of the ranks of the Filipino youth in the collective and unwavering struggle for the right to education.

“Together, we committed to upholding the motive role of the youth in nation-building especially in advancing the fundamental right to free and quality education,” said Bazoo De Jesus, regional coordinator of the only youth-sectoral party in Congress.

De Jesus said that this comes as good news to the Filipino people amid even stronger clamor for free public education.

Originally meant for development projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the appropriation was pinned down in the P3.35-trillion national budget which was ratified by the Congress for approval by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Along with additional funds for incentives and grants, the amount will be allocated to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

For decades, progressive formations like Kabataan Partylist have been one with the united ranks of the students and the youth in the rightful call for free and quality education as mandated by the Constitution.

“This special appropriation is a step in the right direction towards our fight to reclaim the public character of our educational institutions and to oppose all attacks to our basic right as the pag-asa ng bayan,” he added.

Kabataan Partylist Cordillera commits to boost the campaign amid the historic lack of funding and prioritization for educational institutions in the region.

In addition, the chapter mulls the growing sentiment for the resignation of CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan whose leadership authorized nonstop tuition hikes and furthered the commercialization of education in the country.

“We cannot allow a neoliberal agenda to undermine this victory of the youth, and so we will be critical and vigilant with regards to the execution of this policy,” said De Jesus.

In a statement, Kabataan Partylist Representative Sarah Elago enjoined her constituents to follow through this initial victory by actively shaping and monitoring the swift and fair implementation of the free-tuition policy.

“Perhaps, this is the best news for millennials this year, and one which will have a profound and long-lasting effect on their futures and especially our nation’s,” said the youth’s voice in Congress.

Elago also called on student leaders, regents, and trustees to consult with their constituents and conduct various forms of affirmative action to clamor for free public education at all levels.

“The 2017 budget remains to be pro-big business and corruption-prone, framed to implement and further exacerbate neoliberal attacks against the Filipino people. Thus, we must continue to oppose neoliberal policies of deregulation, privatization and denationalization of education,” she concluded. #


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