DAVAO CITY – A youth legislator has questioned the huge P13.5 billion collection from 110 state universities and colleges (SUCs) that were supposed to be providing affordable education even for the country’s poor.
“This staggering amount is testament to how expensive education has become even in our public universities and colleges. It is clear that the policy of deregulation is very much alive under the Aquino administration, with tuition and other fees doubling in the short period of his presidency,” Kabataan partylist representative Terry Ridon said.
Ridon added that “yhe data itself is appalling. In a span of just four years, SUCs were able to collect fees that are enough to pave 1,000 kilometers of farm-to-market roads or construct around 3,000 health centers.”
Ridon cited the data compiled by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Expenditures and Sources of Financing from 2010 to 2013 and 2013 to 2014.
From 2010 to 2013, the 1.1 million SUC students have spent P12,000 each on Other School Fees (OSFs); development fees, registration fees, library fees, athletic fees, and late payment dues.
“Millions of pesos have already been extorted from students and their parents due to the collection of OSF. This is a large contributing factor in the growing inaccessibility of education even in SUCs,” Ridon said.
In Davao Region, a total of P497, 793 were considered as “income from students” from years 2010 to 2015, as provided by the data compiled by the DBM.
This data, according to Kabataan Partylist Southern Mindanao region coordinator Paul Dotollo said “only shows the deregulation of (fees) in education.”
“This shows how the state commercializes its colleges and universities where majority of the students are poor,” Dotollo added.
The rising “income” of the government from students of SUCs made Dotollo asked on why these fees are still increasing annually despite the lowering of education budget.
“Here we can see the reason is not the low education budget but the neo-liberal policies that the Aquino administration is implementing,” He said.
He added that the “continuous increase of tuition and other fees in SUCs just made us, students, not just call for additional education budget but also fight against Aquino’s neo-liberal policies.”
Dotollo pointed out that “neo-liberal policies is the reason on the continuing state neglegince to the basic right of youth; education.”
According the Kabataan Partylist, the data from the budget department shows that since 2010, under Aquino administration, both tuition and other school fees have steadily increased.
“The total income of the country’s 110 SUCs from OSFs grew by almost 60 percent from P2.6 billion in 2010 to an eye-popping P4.1 billion in 2013. DBM even projects that collections from OSFs in state schools will reach up to P4.4 billion in 2015,” the statement read.
Both Ridon and Dotollo pointed out that the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) Memorandum Order No. 3, series of 2012 (CMO 3-2012) “legitimized the collection of exhorbitant, dubious, and redundant fees.”
“Instead of regulating OSFs, CMO 3-2012 served to legitimize the collection of these exorbitant, dubious, and redundant fees” Ridon explained.
Meanwhile, last November 14, Ridon called on the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education to investigate CHED’s “failure to regulate OSF in private and publice higher institutions.” (davaotoday.com)