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Assert Everyone’s Right to Education (UP Cebu Elections Grand Rally Speech)

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Knock! Knock! 

Who’s there?


Education who?

♫ You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will be as one. Imagine EDUCATION…♫


Usa ka mapula ug magmadaugon nga buntag mga Iskolar ng Bayan! Ako si Kristian Jacob Abad Lora ang inyong Vice-Chairperson kauban si Leizyl Anne Gomez ang inyong Chairperson running for service with the TUNAY, PALABAN, MAKABAYAN na partido ng Nagkahiusang Kusog sa Estudyante – ang TUNAY at KLARONG PARTIDO that NEVER QUITS.


Nelson Mandela once said that the Education is the most powerful weapon that can be used in changing the world. But how can this be if hangtod karon, daghan pang mga kabatan-onang Pilipino ang wala nahatagan og oportunidad nga makaeskwela most especially at tertiary level?


Ngani, ang government, gamay pa dyud ang gihatag nga importansya sa edukasyon. And one manifestation of this is its yearly education budget cuts. In fact, for years, education has been only the third among the government’s priorities, 2nd is Militarization and 1st is Debt Service. Because of this, according to the study of KABATAAN Partylist, there are around 8 million children, adolescents and young adults who are out of school either because they cannot afford the tuition or the government cannot accommodate them in its inadequate education infrastructure. Ug sa mga estudyante, intawn, daghan na ang nag-trabaho part-time like sa call center or muapply sa UNO kay para makabayad sa tuition pero kasagaran, maapektuhan ang pag-eskwela. Naa sad ko’y classmate na intawn, dile na lang makaapil sa among activities kay naglisud siya mangita’g pambayad. If the youth is the hope of the Motherland, why won’t the State help us?


Seeing this as very critical problem and that as mga Iskolar ng Bayan, it is our duty to help in nation-building, we are bring the platform “E for E” kung asa ang E dile estoryahee but E stands for “Education for Everybody”. And how we can achieve this? The following programs of actions that we are bringing have already been started but needs assertion ug continuous actions, namely: pagsabatas ng HB 1962, HB 3708, Rollback TOFI, Scrap Lab Fees and Review of STFAP.


First, usa ka dakong lakang nga gipangulohan sa KABATAAN Partylist na atong only representative sa Kongreso mao ang pagduso sa House Bill 1962. HB 1962 is an act that will repeal automatic appropriation of more than 1/3 of our budget to debt service mandated by PD 1177 of the dictator Marcos and automatically allocate 6% of our Gross Domestic Product to our education budget.


Second, mao ang pagduso sa usa sad nga House Bill sa KABATAAN Partylist which is HB 3708.  HB 3708 pushes for three-year moratorium on tuition and other fees increases in all educational institutions. This means that for three years, there will be no increases in tuition and no imposition or increase of other fees. In case of UP, during the dialogue with new UP Pres. Pascual where Ms. Liezyl Gomez represented UP Cebu, the president promised that there will be no TOFI in his term which is equivalent to 6 years. So, hapit na makab-ot, pangusgan na lang jud nato.


Third, mao ang pagpadayon sa atong kampanya para sa pag-rollback sa TOFI o Tuition and Other Fees Increase. And with the increase of state subsidy to education and pagrollback sa TOFI, we go for scrapping laboratory fees. Why? Commission on Higher Education defines tuition as a payment composed of specific types: operating fees, building fees, services and activities fees and technology fees; hence, it clearly includes laboratory fees. Moreover, the 300% TOFI has already been in implementation for 4 years but wala kaayo nag-improve atong facilities. Nuon, napintalan og bag-o atong mga classrooms pero the question is: kana ba jud ang atong unang gikinahanglan? Dile ba ang pagpalit og mga dugang pasilidad para sa laboratory ang atong mas gikinahanglan? Laboratory fee, therefore, is a redundant fee; it must be scrapped and be included in the tuition.


Lastly, kauban sa pagrollback sa TOFI mao ang pagreview sa STFAP. Ang pagtaas sa number of students nga nag-part time ug nag-apply for student loans implies there must be something wrong in STFAP. Hence, there is a need to review it, track its flaws and whatever the result is, actions must be taken accordingly.


But sa makita nato, these actions are clearly long-term. Yes! Long-term but have already been started. Have already been started but need for further and assertive actions. But how? Seeing these as not local issues, we need to build alliances outside UP Cebu: for Rollback TOFI, scrapping of lab fees and review of STFAP, we need to build alliance with other UP Units and para sa pagsabatas ng HB 1962 and HB 3708 in the Congress, we need to unite with other schools and other sectors.


Ngani, history will always remind us that our COLLECTIVE ACTION allows us achieve our goals. Recent and clear evidence of this was last year when UP Cebu in unity with other UP units, other schools, and other sectors like teachers, workers, and administrators WALKED OUT and HOLD STRIKES pressuring the Senate to add 146 Million to the education budget. If we were able to do that, then we can also do these actions when we UNITE and ACT CONSISTENTLY than just quit and lose hope. After all, we believe in an elementary principle – Quitters NEVER Win, WINNERS never QUIT.


So, once again, kauban ang inyong Chairperson nga prinsipyado, dile mabangbang, ug isog nga si Liezyl Anne LIEZYL3x Gomez, ako si Kristian Jacob KRISTIAN3x Lora, ang inyong Vice-Chairperson, nagbabalik sa Konseho alang kaninyo, para muserbisyo kaninyo!


Author: pchan_august

Juris Doctor (Law) Graduate. Iskolar ng Bayan. Activist. Environmentalist. Frustrated Singer, Poet and Writer. Computer Enthusiast. Servant of the Masses. God's Servant.

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