Press Release | In their own version of SONA: Cavite youth express dismay on PNOY’s 1st year
KABATAAN PARTYLIST – SOUTHERN TAGALOG CHAPTER
Press Release | July 22, 2011
In what it calls as its own version of the State of the Nation Address (SONA), Cavite youth and student leaders staged today the State of the Youth Address (SOYA) with Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino and various youth organizations in the province.
The SOYA series is spearheaded by Kabataan Partylist – Southern Tagalog in the provinces of the CALABARZON region. The SOYA in Cavite was conducted at the Provincial Gymnasium in Trece Martires which housed around 300 youth and student leaders including heads of student councils, student publications, community youth organization and the Sangguniang Kabataan.
Youth leaders particularly expressed dismay on the Noynoy administration’s continued state abandonment for education. The effects of the budget cut for State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) last December have but worsened the state of education in the province.
Students from the Cavite State University (CVSU) – Naic campus for example has faced tuition and other fee increase (TOFI) of more than 100% this semester. Due to the TOFI, enrollment dropped in the campus including its pioneer course of B.S. Fisheries which nearly got dissolved due to lack of enrollees.
“It is disheartening that the very essence of satellite campuses of SUCs in rural areas – which is to allow the poor to have access to quality education, is slowly becoming a myth. We see Aquino’s policies killing the future of the youth as the hope of the nation,” stressed Ruffa Solano, deputy-secretary general of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) – Southern Tagalog.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Christian University in Dasmariñas only received around 300 enrollees this semester. School administrators may opt to close down the school due to this low number of enrollees. Solano said this is but an indicator that more and more parents could no longer afford to send their children to private schools. “But they have nowhere else to go since tuition fees in SUCs are almost at par with private schools,” she added.
Members of Kabataan Partylist at the high school level in CVSU-Rosario expressed opposition to Aquino’s K-12 program. The campus, which is close to the Economic Processing Zone Authority (EPZA), offers primarily technical and vocational skills to college students.
“Here students are blatantly exploited during internship and right after graduation they are automatically hired as welders and assembly men for EPZA. The K-12 program which offers vocational and technical skills to high school discourages tertiary education and ultimately hurries the youth into serving the foreign capitalists interest instead of serving the people for genuine national development,” said Anakbayan Timog –Katagalugan Spokesperson Neil John Macuha
He also stressed that the land-use conversion in the province due to the extension of late Corazon Aquino’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) paved way for more subdivisions, malls and golf courses being converted from agricultural lands. With this, landlords get to keep their land and the peasant youth – who were trained to help their parents in farming – are forced to apply in factories.
“Cavite boasts its industrialized character and yet the industries here are foreign-owned and the land reform is next to fiction. We also see demolitions rampant such as in Kadiwa market in Dasmariñas which ruined the livelihood of the locals in exchange for mall magnate Henry Sy’s interest,” Macuha added.
As a symbolic action of solidarity after the SOYA, youth and student leaders formed a “giant notebook” containing written concerns of the Cavite youth.
“This is a clear warning to the Aquino government in his upcoming SONA, he has not been true to his words to uphold the rights of the youth in his first year in power. We will continue with our demands through collective action even if it means doing what is necessary for the welfare of the youth and the people,” stressed John Paulo Bautista, coordinator of Kabataan Partylist in Southern Tagalog.
Before the actual SOYA, student leaders held a breakfast meeting with Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla and Rep. Palatino to discuss serious education reforms in the province such as lobbying for higher education budget in Congress. #