Protests vs tuition, oil price hikes set this month

As tuition, oil and commodity prices continue to rise, youth groups led by Anakbayan, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), League of Filipino Students (LFS) and other groups are calling for protest activities and marches starting tomorrow against price hikes and government inability to stop the abuse and overpicing of foreign businesses and oil cartels.

The youth groups will lead mass-ups and protest activities nationwide to express “disgust over government inaction  amidst rising costs of education and unabated oil price increases.”

In a press conference yesterday, the Commission of Higher Education (CHED), announced that more than 300 schools are set to increase their tuition rates this coming school year.

Student and youth groups are dismayed over CHEd’s “inutility and insensitivity to the plight of the youth and students.” They are are worried that drop-outs will again be on the rise this year due to the Aquino government’s refusal to fulfill its mandate to regulate fee increases. Students are also protesting the cuts in education and state universities and colleges (SUC) budget, which pushes tuition and fee rates in SUCs up.

Stop tuition, oil price hikes

The groups are calling on the Aquino government to implement a stop on all tuition fee hikes this year, reverse the trend of commercialization and privatization of education, and increase subsidy for state colleges and universities.

They are also calling on government to act on oil price hikes and stop the overpricing being done by the big oil companies. Many sectors point out that the Aquino government is clearly in cahoots with big business and foreign corporations in abusing and robbing from the Filipino people as proven by its inability to stop the successive increases in oil prices.

The youth groups are set to hold campus activities in the morning and will march to Mendiola in the afternoon.

March 8: Protest on Women’s Day

Meanwhile, women’s group Gabriela is expected to lead tens of thousands in protest of oil overpricing and intensifying US military intervention in the country on March 8, International Women’s Day.

According to Lana Linaban, Secretary General of Gabriela, the continuing refusal of the Aquino government to heed the people’s calls for genuine change shows that the people is left with no other recourse but to intensify street protests and militant action. Gabriela led several picket protests against rising oil prices these past weeks.

Gabriela also recently launched “AltaPresyon” campaign, which aims to gather millions of signatures against price hikes.

Gabriela’s slogan for the March 8 protest is “Monopolyong Kontrol sa Langis, Wakasan! Tumitinding interbensyon ng US, Labanan!”

March 15: People’s protest vs oil price hikes

On March 15, various groups led by Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and Koalisyon ng Progresibong Manggagawa at Mamamayan, are calling for a “National People’s Protest vs Oil Overpricing.”

According to KMU, the Big 3 oil companies are exploiting price movements in the world to boost their profits.

“The Big 3 oil companies continue to rob us of our hard-earned income and the Aquino government constinues to connive with them by doing nothing and acting as their spokesperson,” said Lito Ustarez, KMU vice chairperson.

KMU revealed that since the Oil Deregulation Law was implemented in 1999,prices of diesel and unleaded gasoline have been overpriced by P9 and P10 per liter, respectively.

“The Big 3 is able to increase prices at will and overpirce their products because they are free to do so (under) the Oil Deregulation Law. The government, meanwhile, is benefitting from the oil price hikes (through its implementation) of the Value Added Tax (VAT),” KMU added.

The various groups are calling on the Aquino government to immediately stop oil price increases, rollback oil prices, scrap the VAT on oil and repeal the Oil Deregulation Law. They are calling on Filipinos to gather in a historic show of rage, such as what was done in Nigeria and in the Middle East, and to further develop the movement for genuine change and people’s welfare.