Battle not yet won: Youth solon warns vs creation of ‘Aquino Supreme Court’

29 MAY 2012 846 VIEWS VIEW COMMENTS

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While welcoming the guilty verdict against Chief Justice Renato Corona, Kabataan Partylist Representative Raymond “Mong” Palatino today said the people’s fight for accountability and independence in the judiciary has not yet been won with Corona’s removal from office as “the people still have to guard against Palace machinations to establish an Aquino court.” The youth lawmaker, who is one of the 188 lawmakers who signed the impeachment complaint, said “even as Corona’s conviction opens up a space for a much-needed transformation process in the judiciary system, the people should remain vigilant and not allow the ruling Aquino regime to take control of the Supreme Court, make the High Court subservient to its whims, and pave the way for the reversal of the recent ruling to distribute Hacienda Luisita.” “The people’s gains in this impeachment trial will all be reversed if Aquino’s malevolent plans to install a subservient court would come to fruition. We may have removed Corona who is beholden to the interests of the former ruling administration, but the appointment of a new Chief Justice who enjoys the blessings of Aquino and undermines the supposed independence of the judiciary is far from what the people want. We must exercise extreme vigilance in the coming days and weeks to ensure that the next Chief Justice will be truly independent, accountable to the public, and beholden to only one master—the Filipino people,” the youth solon said. On Tuesday afternoon, the senate sitting as an impeachment court adjudged the highest judicial officer of the land guilty of Article II of the impeachment complaint which states that he committed culpable violation of the Constitution and/or betrayed pubic trust when he failed to disclose to the public his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth as required under Sec. 17, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution. The senator-judges no longer proceeded with the vote on the other impeachment articles as the prosecution needed at least 16 affirmative votes to just one article to secure a conviction. “A conviction is the only fitting conclusion in this five-month quest for truth and accountability. A public official who is not truthful to the public about his wealth and properties conspicuously lacks the moral fitness to assume an important post in government tasked with interpreting our laws. Allowing Corona to go scot free and unscathed after damning revelations of his undeclared millions would send a wrong message to all government officials and employees that skirting the constitutional provision of full disclosure of wealth and properties is acceptable,” Palatino said. ‘Bring fight to the next level’ Meanwhile, Palatino is calling on the Filipino people to bring the fight for accountability and transparency in government “to the next level” by pushing all government officials, especially the President, his cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices and members of Congress, to sign a waiver similar to that of Corona’s authorizing agencies to probe and disclose all their respective peso and dollar accounts and properties.

orientation. in the first place. there are no sufficient classrooms to study in. we are far from having 21st century facilities essential in achieving suitable learning conditions.3 million in classroom chairs. Latest figures from DepEd show the country still needs an additional 50. Despite government declarations that it is giving the education sector the highest priority in its budget. arguably the most important key components in the implementation of the K to 12 program.178 in teachers. who believes Corona’s waiver challenge merits a closer look.921 classrooms. underfunding. we should seize this golden opportunity to bring legitimacy to the impeachment process by intensifying the fight for public accountability. The Aquino government has yet to present a convincing program to remedy the existing shortages in the education sector . 74. The evils of corruption. DepEd urged to go ‘back to basics’ in K to 12 implementation 15 MAY 2012 562 VIEWS VIEW COMMENTS 126Share ‘Basic problems of PH educ system to imperil educ reforms’ Kabataan Party-list Representative Raymond “Mong” Palatino today expressed apprehensions on the capability of the K to 12 reform program to improve basic education in the country given that the basic problems of shortages. Furthermore.” he said. long-term solutions.“The dragon has not been slayed yet. chairs to seat on. ill-gotten wealth. and have offenders and violators of our Constitution suffer the same fate as Corona. While Unesco estimates that 6 percent of the GDP should be set aside for education. teachers to learn from. and access that continue to hound our education system remain unaddressed and wanting of genuine.2 percent of the GDP for the current year.” Palatino said.” “The K to 12 program envisions to produce graduates with ’21st century skills’ but clearly. Palatino said the entire allocation for education is stilled pegged at levels insufficient to ensure that every child is able to enjoy his or her right to education. further the people’s campaign for transparency and good governance. the youth legislator deplores that DepEd only received 2. dubious money flows and lavish lifestyles of public officials are still lurking in the shadows. will not be able to fulfill the demands of the new program if they .4 million in textbooks and about 1.” said Palatino. How can basic education qualitatively function amid these dire shortages? Students cannot properly learn if. 62. Palatino said that the teachers. Palatino reminded education officials “not to get too carried away and too preoccupied with the grandiose and ambitious plans of the program while relegating to the sidelines the most basic and essential concerns that continue to beset our teachers. “Those who are unwilling to sign a similar waiver on these accounts and assets all appear as hypocrites in the eyes of the public. problems that have actually contributed to the sorry state of education we have today. students and other concerned sectors. As the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture started deliberating on proposed implementing laws of the K to 12 program. Now that Corona has been removed from office.196 toilets. 123. and textbooks to read.

Now that SUCs are going to play a crucial role in the government’s flagship educational program. Palatino enjoined the budget department to consider augmenting the subsidy of state universities and colleges as many of these public higher educational institutions are expected to play a key role in the implementation of K to 12. specifically the provision of the Senior High School program. while no single amount is earmarked for the construction of new buildings and the improvement of facilities. our SUCs have been receiving not funds but scraps from the national government. lack of benefits. perhaps the government can now heed the longstanding demand of various sectors for greater state subsidy to higher education. Most importantly.” the youth legislator said.continue to be plagued by the same old problems such as low pay. This year. as the Department of Budget and Management consolidates and prepares the 2013 budget proposal. # Kabataan slams Aquino for inaction on higher educ costs. Aquino’s silence and inaction on the issue of the highly commercialized state of education is more pronounced than ever. a major national concern that cannot not be swept under the rug. which will be presented to Congress after President Benigno Aquino III’s state of the nation address on July 23. Operational budgets yearly receive drastic cuts. as it has been a deceiving practice of many private schools . Kabataan Partylist Representative Raymond “Mong” Palatino today called on President Noynoy Aquino to “act with due haste on the yearly unabated tuition and other fee increases.” He said: “Perhaps Aquino and his education officials should ask themselves if the K to 12 program will be able to send millions of out-of-school youths to school? Any education reform of the government is doomed to fail if it doesn’t take into account the right of each and every citizen to have access to education and other social services. delays in release of salaries.” “Every year.” Palatino ended. proposes six remedies to counter tuition problem 13 MAY 2012 374 VIEWS VIEW COMMENTS 79Share As classes are set to resume in the next few weeks. Almost 300 private higher educational institutions were given the green light to raise their tuition fees for the next school year. Palatino said “the gravity of the school fees problem cannot be based simply on the number of schools raising their tuition. and poor working conditions.” Meanwhile. shouldering of classroom operational expenses. giving credence to the word ‘noynoying’ coined by activist groups to refer to the President’s plain refusal to address the people’s gut issues. excluding miscellaneous fees which are not covered by government regulatory guidelines. the government responds to the clamor for solutions to the high tuition rates and exorbitant school fees through empty promises and excuses. the youth solon said “one of the biggest flaws of the K to 12 program is that it is anchored on improving the competencies of in-school youth without addressing the problem of the growing number of out-of-school youths in the country who equally deserve to be in school. “For many years.

If he has been monitoring the situation on the ground. 5. installment fees. etc. 231 per semester to P 20.  For 2011. the youth solon is proposing six “quick and doable” remedities to address the tuition problem. and redundant fees have abounded. Direct the Commission on Higher Education to implement Memorandum Order No.  Seventy-three percent (73% ) of students are forced to drop out due to the high cost of education. . that should force our leaders to come back to their senses:  SUCs have had their state subsidies go down from 87. Certify as urgent Kabataan Partylist’s House Bill 4286 or the “Tuition Regulation Bill” which aims to control tuition and other fee increases and empower students and parents by ensuring a democratic consultation and decision-making process.  In the past six years. 4. “That the Filipino youth are continuously losing grip of their right to education should force Aquino to finally see the light and take decisive steps towards reversing policies and practices of deregulation.” Palatino added. Give supplemental funding for state universities and colleges which will absorb more students from the more costly private schools.74% to 66. He added that the education agencies’ failure to exercise their mandate to regulate school fees should automatically prompt the President step in and address an alarming problem that is not entirely new to Filipinos.” Palatino said. solutions that a “government with a clear and unbridled political will” can easily undertake: 1. 2. unjust and redundant miscellaneous fees that the government has no control over.31% causing a spike in tuition rates and miscellaneous fees in SUCs. Meanwhile.” “Aquino cannot just claim that concerned agencies are working on the problem of high education costs.  The average tuition of private schools in the NCR has doubled from P 9. the top five highest earning private schools raked in P 3. 406 to P10. Implement a moratorium on tuition and other fee increases. these government offices are actually contributing to the problem by allowing abusive and greedy private schools to go scot free and continue to drain the pockets of millions of families.45 billion in net income. power charge fees. the broadest alliance of student councils and governments in the country. Enlarge the share of the SUCs budget for the 2013 expenditure program currently being drafted by the government’s budget planners. internet fees. The youth solon cited observations made by the National Union of Students of the Philippines.  Exorbitant. 3 effective the second semester of the next school year. 526. unjust. 3. Strengthen public higher education. Provide supplemental funding for more scholarships to benefit both private and public school students. the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) says that only two out of ten (2 out of 10) high school students will be able to go to college.to forego tuition increases in exchange for the imposition of exrobitant. Examples are athletic fees with additional sports fees. 6. according to a 2008 UNESCO study. 591 per semester while the national average has gone up from P 5.

social services 13 MAY 2012 346 VIEWS VIEW COMMENTS    54Share Youth groups led by Kabataan Partylist stormed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in San Miguel. DBM required all government agencies to submit their budget proposals by April 9. which will be presented to Congress after President Benigno Aquino III’s state of the nation address on July 23. once the budget is in Congress.” Crisostomo explained. which involves the consolidation of budget proposals of various government agencies by the DBM. And that is why it is important for us to engage the budget agency with our call for greater state subsidy while the ball is still in their court. as in this part of the process.78 billion. including education and health. No new funds can be drawn. to call on the budget agency to allocate higher funds for basic social services. “As we begin the budget process. the youth partylist enjoined the budget agency to consider the long-standing demand for greater state subsidy. lawmakers are limited to rechanneling and slashing allocations. and the budget agency is now consolidating the said documents into the National Expenditure Program. In the National Budget Memorandum No.         . As DBM consolidates and prepares the 2013 budget proposal. which is basically the draft of the General Appropriations Bill which will be discussed and legislated in Congress. while SUCs were given a budget ceiling of P30 billion. The early stage of the budget process. Youth groups storm DBM to call for greater state subsidy to education. Meanwhile. in the 2013 national budget. the Department of Defense was given a budget ceiling of P123. 113 released by DBM last January 31.” said Kabataan Partylist Spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo. we renew our call for greater state subsidy. Manila on Monday. ‘Rechannel military funds’ Kabataan Partylist slammed the continued government policy of allocating higher funds for the military than for social services such as the budget for health and SUCs. Budget ceilings indicate the estimated amount that the government will allot to its agencies even before the complete budget proposal is made. May 14 at around 11 a. “As we experienced in the past. and no significant change can be made.54 billion. up by 8 percent from the current P114. particularly for state universities and colleges (SUCs).4 billion allocation. the room for revision and reform is much wider. the Department of Health was only given a budget ceiling of 45. is the most crucial part of the budget cycle.m.

“For days.###        Kabataan challenges youth to ‘level up’ participation in 2013 polls 10 MAY 2012 262 VIEWS VIEW COMMENTS    24Share In the opening salvo of the 2013 national elections.8 billion actual proposed budget of 112 SUCs in the country for 2012. health. “Lagi’t lagi nating sinasabi na ang kailangan ng mamamayan ay hindi bala kundi libro at gamot. the government should focus on improving basic social services.” Crisostomo said.” Crisostomo said. . “The Aquino administration’s sense of priority is clearly misdirected.” Crisostomo said. which is 6. health and housing more than more guns and warships.” he added. housing and other basic services that our people need. lantad na namang mas bibigyan ng priority ng gobyerno ang militar kaysa batayang serbisyo. the said allocation is only 66 percent of the P45. Despite the additional fund from the DAP. we fear that this may again result in budget cuts for SUCs. Kabataan Partylist (KPL) calls on the youth to “level up” participation in the upcoming polls. what we need is service. And the government might use this as an excuse to beef up funds for the military. Higher military budget for war? Crisostomo explained that the Aquino administration may explain the increase in allocation for defense due to the perceived military aggression from China due to the ongoing Scarborough Shoal issue. “With the P30-billion budget ceiling for SUCs for 2013. as it announces its intensified involvement in the 2013 elections. Pero sa simula pa lang ng proseso ng pagbabadyet. an amount which includes the additional P4.” Crisostomo said. “Kabataan: Next Level Na” is the marching call of the first and only youth partylist in Congress.3 percent of the total national budget. SUCs still receive only a fraction of their total need. “While we need to maintain a strong military force capable of defending our national sovereignty. the government allocated a total of P114. Instead of goading the country to war. and not through war. it is but logical to first consider that the Filipino people need education.3 billion for 2012. While it is ready to allot hundreds of billions to the military. Last year. “At present. the Aquino regime has escalated its China scare tactics by posturing that a war may erupt between the Philippines and China. and not war.4 billion for defense.2 billion given to SUCs from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The ongoing conflict between the Philippines and China should be resolved in a diplomatic manner. SUCs were only given a total of P30. And this could be done if more funds will be allotted to education.” Crisostomo added. which the Philippines clearly can’t afford. Meanwhile.

decent employment and genuine solutions to our country’s problems. we are again challenged to assert representation in the legislative branch. but three seats. information campaigns in schools and communities.” a voters’ registration drive aiming to urge 1 million youth to register for the 2013 polls.” Crisostomo said. “In the next months. Thousands of KPL members from various chapters throughout the country converge in the Polytechnic University of the Philippines on May 11 for the KPL National Convention. “Not all of these youths are registered voters.” said KPL Rep. and we need to ensure that they register and take part in the upcoming elections.” Palatino added. “In the past elections. Kabataan Partylist has led not only the youth but also various marginalized sectors of society in the struggle for accessible education.” Crisostomo said. Palatino explained that the youth should “level up” the struggle against spiralling tuition increases.” Palatino explained. we should not only celebrate our achievements and victories. the number of youths aged 18 to 30 is estimated at 20 million. Palatino and Crisostomo called on the youth to maximize participation in the upcoming polls. pass tuition regulation law 9 MAY 2012 240 VIEWS VIEW COMMENTS   28Share . being almost a third of the overall voting population in the country. Panata sa Halalan consists of massive voters’ education drives. but also see the need to intensify our struggle in the light of the worsening national situation. Raymond Palatino. “The youth remains to be a decisive force in the Philippine election. “In its two terms in Congress. the youth has proven that with a strong nationwide unity. According to data from the National Statistics Office. KPL is set to launch “Panata sa Halalan. exorbitant fees. which will ensure the integrity of the upcoming polls. But the youth has had enough of his lies – we must level up the struggle to assert our rights.” said KPL Spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo. wherein the only youth partylist in the country called for the intensification of unities and alliances among the youth in the light of the upcoming elections.” Palatino said. and we must now put our game faces on and proceed to the next level of our struggle for our rights and representation. as well as the growing unemployment among the ranks of the youth. “The Aquino regime has promised change for the nation. Next elections. “There are greater challenges ahead of us. And we’ll not only settle for one. we can win a seat in the House of Representatives.###         Youth solon calls on Congress to act on school fee increases. As we look forward to the upcoming elections. KPL will also launch a youth-led election watchdog.

Palatino raised during the hearing that many schools have been foregoing tuition increases in favor of hikes in miscellaneous fees. redundant and ridiculous fees. The National Union of Students of the Philippines cited that in the past six years. allowing them to rake in millions yearly. In fact. KABATAAN PARTYLIST Representative Raymond “Mong” Palatino today sounded the alarm on the need for legislative intervention on the yearly school fee hikes.45 billion in net income.” During the joint hearing by the Committees on Higher and Technical Education and Basic Education and Culture. resulting in the imposition of arbitrary. It is only fitting that we address the problem of yearly tuition increases through the enactment of a tuition regulation law as it has been government policy to allow private educational institutions to devour humongous profits at expense of the youth’s right to education. The youth solon made the appeal during today’s Congressional hearing on tuition and miscellaneous fees. 2012.” Palatino said. yearly tuition and other fee increases are still imposed as schools reason out that more money is needed for operation expenses. the top five highest earning private schools raked in P3. Despite their high earnings.” Palatino remarked.          . which do not need to undergo consultation and approval from CHED. calling on the House leadership to prioritize the passage of tuition regulation bills seeking to control tuition and other fee increases. the agency itself has been contributing to the misery of families by approving year after year all applications from private schools to increase their charges. Kabataan Partylist has been pushing for the passage of House Bill 4286 or the Tuition Regulation Bill which aims to control tuition and other fee increases and empower students and parents by ensuring a democratic consultation and decision-making process. For 2011. “This utterly deregulated character of tuition and other fees actually finds basis in our existing laws and policies. the CHED says that only two out of ten high school students will be able to go to college.” Palatino added. which are not presently covered by CHED’s regulatory guidelines. “It is evident from CHED’s inferior track record in regulating school fees that parents and students cannot turn to the agency for help amid the soaring and already unreachable cost of education. CHED officials revealed that as of May 7. saying that the “blatant refusal of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to exercise its mandate of regulating school fees warrants an immediate congressional action in the form of a new law that upholds the constitutional right of access to quality and affordable education. Many rich and powerful businesspeople have already ventured into owning schools. 266 private colleges and universities were given the go signal to raise their tuition rates for the next school year. “The unabated tuition and other fee increases have effectively transformed our schools as ripe venues for aggressive profit-making. CHED added that these increases only refer to tuition and do not include miscellaneous fees.

parents and members of the academic community. Palatino clarified however that “while it is true that a number of schools need the increase to prevent themselves from closing down. this remains the exception rather than the rule. With pressure from Kabataan party-list last year during a public hearing in Congress that tackled the youth group’s resolution on exorbitant school fees. The fact remains that the process of increasing tuition and other fees takes place within the context of rampant deregulation. Administrative and criminal charges can also be filed against violating schools and/or its responsible officers Meanwhile.#    . Palatino is also calling on CHED and the Department of Education to publish in major and regional dailies and on their respective websites the list of schools that will be increasing tuition and miscellaneous fees and the corresponding increases that will be implemented for the next school year. Among the salient features of the guidelines are the inclusion of miscellaneous fees in the consultation and sanction for non-compliance which includes cancellation of school application for fees increase and introduction of new fees. CHED was pushed to draft a new tuition and other fee guidelines (CMO 3).” “We would have preferred that the issue of high tuition rates be addressed first via an immediate action on the part of CHED but despite the resounding call of parents and students to immediately revise the present tuition guidelines.” Palatino said. the agency decided to make CMO 3 effective for school year 2013-2014. big school earnings and the lack of democratized participation from students.

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