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The League of Filipino Students is one of the broadest and most active student organizations in the Philippines. It is composed of 30,000 members nationwide and 1 chapter in San Fransisco State University, USA, engaged in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the studentry for its democratic rights and interests. Since its formation in 1977, it has been in the forefront of the youth and students struggle. Although a school-based organization, LFS believes that in order to truly achieve the democratic rights of students it must unite with the struggles of the toiling masses against the people’s number one enemy—US imperialism. It was transformed into a National Democratic mass organization in 1982 and has been since the vanguard organization of the youth’s anti-imperialist struggle. The League of Filipino Students is an active member of BAYAN (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan/New Patriotic Alliance), ILPS (International League of People’s Struggles) and ASA (Association of Students in Asia and the Pacific).
In our struggle for education for all, we are launching tactical campaigns on new and old anti-student policies that plague the Philippine education system. In its neoliberal framework, the government is swiftly pushing aside its responsibility to educate its people and have created the conditions for the expanded role of the private sector in education. As a result of this, schools private and public are run like enterprises. A current development is the regime's 12 year basic education system plan that adds 2 years to the current basic education cycle. In the face of widespread poverty and monstrous shortages in the education sector, additional 2 years would just aggravate problems. Part of the plan is to reorient basic education in order to create high school students who are employable to the global market. The League of Filipino Students is in strong opposition to this plan in 3 points: 1. Its neoliberal character. It is oriented towards meeting the global demand for skills and pushing aside the role of education in developing the local economy for a truly stable and developed nation. 2. It will be an added burden to the Filipino people who even at 10 years are struggling hard to make ends meet and put children through school. 3. It will not solve the unemployment problem and instead worsen the problem in the lack of industries locally that leads to the lack of local jobs.
LFS opposes 12-yr basic ed curriculum
"How naïve can you get Bro. Armin? We’ve been lobbying for a higher budget for education the last decade but to no avail, and you expect government to now fund fully basic education together with your additional two-year proposal? You and your folks in Education Nation are living in a dream world."
This was the statement Terry Ridon, national chairperson of the League of Filipino Students as the militant student group lambasted Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro for rejecting the position of student groups and Ateneo de Manila University President Fr. Bienvenido Nebres that government should focus more on the problems of basic education today, instead of increasing the number of years of basic schooling.
Ridon said that even if government increases the number of years of basic education, for as long as the average student-teacher ratio remains at 80:1, the quality of education in the country would remain stunted. “An additional two years of basic schooling would only mean that funding that should be given for the building of classrooms, the repair of dilapidated facilities and the purchase of more textbooks, shall be diverted to the costs of operations of that additional two years. Tell us, how then do we address the more basic problems with such diversion of funding?” Ridon said that the DepEd is wrong in comparing the supposed international standard of twelve years of basic education with the ten-year model followed by the country. "No comparison can be made because the rest of world fully funds their public education system, while the country had slashed its education budget several times to accommodate automatic debt servicing and bloody counter-insurgency programs. A most basic policy requisite – full funding of public education is missing in Philippine education policy." Ridon advised Sec. Luistro to rethink its proposal and heed the position of students and Fr. Nebres to stick first to the more basic problems of the lack of classrooms, dilapidated textbooks, poor teacher training before embarking on untested waters such as the additional two years of basic education.
Members of LFS from different high schools trooped to the Department of Education to protest the worsening education crisis, commericalization, illegal collection of fees in public schools and the government's plan of adding 2 years to basic education.
While holding a peaceful program in front of the Department of Education building, they were violently dispersed, with 5 students sustaining serious head injuries and bruises.
August 20, 2010
Students Hold DepEd Accountable to Their Policy
High school students to Luistro: immediately refund all fees collected in public schools
High school students led by youth groups League of Filipino Students and Anakbayan trooped to the Department of Education main office in Pasig City today to seek a dialogue with newly installed DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro.
"Dear Mr. Secretary, our first order of business is the immediate refund of all fees collected in public schools." said Terry Ridon, National Chairperson of the League of Filipino Students.
In May 2008, DepEd enacted DepEd Order No. 19 series of 2008 or the No Collection Policy. Despite this order, public schools across the nation continued to collect fees like the PTA and CAT fees. The huge number of calls received by the Kabataan Partylist hotline can prove this.
"Parents from different regions called to report that the payment of these fees are compulsory. They are told that their kids won't be issued clearances unless they pay these fees," said Ridon.
Robert Amparo, Chairperson of Anakbayan-Quirino High School chapter recalled that in their last dialogue with DepEd, USec Sunga mentioned that they will investigate this matter and act on it immediately; but so far, all they did was send out letters to Culiat and Quirino High Schools.
"What we want is a refund of all collected fees, in all public schools. In the first place, these are illegal. If DepEd tolerates illegal acts like these, they're no better than accomplices." said Amparo.
Amparo added that these fees range from 300 to 1000 pesos. "Most of us are children of minimum wage earners, our parents can't afford these fees. That's why they sent us to public schools in the first place—because they're supposed to be free!" said Amparo.
"And to add salt to our wounds, you're now proposing to add 2 years in basic education. That would mean more expenses to our families, more fees to be illegally collected. Are you pushing us out of school?," said Amparo.
Fees are still being collected in our schools as of press time. Swift action is needed, stressed Amparo.
"Mr. Luistro, issue a public statement that the collection of these fees is illegal and immediately order their refund. We will continue to hound DepEd with protests until you do this." Amparo concluded.
August 22, 2010
Badly injured HS students demand justice for violent DepEd dispersal
The swollen bruises and broken bones of high school students who were violently dispersed had now fully appeared a few days after security personnel of the Department of Education swung their bamboo sticks at hapless young students who were only demanding a legitimate right – the immediate return of previously collected public school fees in violation of the Department of Education’s ‘No Collection Policy’.
“While demanding justice for our very violent dispersal, we reiterate our call for the immediate refund of school fees collected by our schools, and our opposition to the planned 12-year basic education curriculum of the DepEd.” This was the statement of Ivan Bonostroso, the badly injured leader of the high school students who marched to the Department of Education. His head had been smashed with brass knuckles by a security personnel, along with four others whose heads were similarly smashed, notwithstanding one with a broken forearm. “We will press charges against the Department of Education, and its security agency, Commander, for the injuries sustained by the high school students, and violating their right to peaceably assemble for redress of their grievances.” This was the statement of Terry Ridon, national chairperson of the League of Filipino Students. Ridon said the high school students will be pressing charges of multiple counts of serious and slight physical injuries, and grave threats. Child abuse may also be filed against those involved. “Despite our injuries, we will never hesitate to militantly return to the Department of Education to hold it accountable not only for damaging our persons, but for its policies that had never benefited us high school students.” Bonostroso finally said. Youth Walkout for Education!
“While demanding justice for our very violent dispersal, we reiterate our call for the immediate refund of school fees collected by our schools, and our opposition to the planned 12-year basic education curriculum of the DepEd.” This was the statement of Ivan Bonostroso, the badly injured leader of the high school students who marched to the Department of Education. His head had been smashed with brass knuckles by a security personnel, along with four others whose heads were similarly smashed, notwithstanding one with a broken forearm.
“We will press charges against the Department of Education, and its security agency, Commander, for the injuries sustained by the high school students, and violating their right to peaceably assemble for redress of their grievances.” This was the statement of Terry Ridon, national chairperson of the League of Filipino Students.
Ridon said the high school students will be pressing charges of multiple counts of serious and slight physical injuries, and grave threats. Child abuse may also be filed against those involved.
“Despite our injuries, we will never hesitate to militantly return to the Department of Education to hold it accountable not only for damaging our persons, but for its policies that had never benefited us high school students.” Bonostroso finally said.
Youth Walkout for Education!
"It leaves the education sector with a `major major' shortage." That was how Rain Sindayen, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) Deputy Secretary General and University of the Philippines Diliman University Student Council Chairperson described Noynoy's proposed 2011 national budget.
In Noy's proposed 2011 national budget, the P207.4 billion allocation for the education sector is a little more than Php 100 billion short of what the Department of Education former secretary Valisno said was needed to meet the country's shortage in classrooms, teachers, and educational material and facilities.
"It is impossible to meet the shortage if the proposed budget is P100 billion pesos short of what is needed. If the shortage doesn't exact greater subsidy, then why is Noy pushing for the addition of 2 years in basic education that according to his advisers would need a budget of P100 billion? It looks like he is more willing to fund castles in the air rather than the actual shortage in the education sector," said Sindayen.
On the other hand, College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) National President Trina Federis mentioned that in the proposed 2011 national budget, military spending received an 81% hike.
"The Aquino regime chooses to almost double the budget for the military that is ridden with human rights violations instead of prioritizing the ailing education sector. Also part of its plans is to make Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) mandatory. It is very clear what the priorities of this administration are," said Federis.
"With the budget shortage in education Php 100 billion steep and for militarization that soaring a hike, this administration doesn't want an educated people but militarization of the nation, that's what. We are demanding the rechanneling of the military budget to education." Federis added.
Meanwhile, League of Filipino Students National Chairperson Terry Ridon mentioned that aside from the military, the Aquino regimes priorities go more international.
"Still topping the list of the US-Aquino regime's priorities in budget allocation is debt servicing receiving P372.1 billion or 22.6% of the national budget. The government obviously has enough money to pay foreign creditors but no money to put Filipino kids through school," said Ridon.
"We demand greater subsidy to education and at this point, the immediate measure the regime can do is the rechanneling of funds from military and foreign debt servicing to meet the mammoth shortage in the education sector." Ridon concluded. ###