Note: What follows is a statement by the Filipino youth activist group Anakbayan.
We are outraged. Commercialized Philippine education has claimed another victim.
Last Friday, February 27, a 16-year old respiratory therapy student from Cagayan State University (CSU) committed suicide reportedly due to difficulty in paying for her school fees in Tuguegarao.
The 16-year old respiratory therapy student from CSU was forced to quit school after she was barred to take her midterm exams because she could not pay for school and boarding fees. While CSU implements a “no tuition fee policy,” education in the state-university could still cost as much as P3,000 per semester in fiduciary, miscellaneous and “other” fees.
The national office of Anakbayan would like to extend its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. We are calling on everyone to take action for justice.
This tragic incident occurred as youth groups are set to remember the death of UP Manila freshman Kristel Tejada on March 13, also because of tuition woes last 2012.
It is appalling that the Aquino government has not learnt its lesson. How many more “Iskolar ng Bayans” must be sacrificed before the altars of capitalist educators before they stop tuition hikes and understand that education is a right and not a privilege?
To make matters worse, the CSU administration is even now reportedly studying the re-imposition of tuition fees after its removal four years ago.
It was not suicide, it was murder carried out by a system which does not care for the future and welfare of its youth. Skyrocketing tuition fee increases push students to death. The “other fees” are likewise proving themselves to be just as deadly. Aquino’s continuing implementation of tuition deregulation and commercialization policies is to blame for the worsening education crisis.
We demand that the Aquino government immediately stop all tuition and other fee increases; prohibit the collection of all “other school fees”; and end the deregulation of tuition.
This death of another student adds to the many crimes of the Aquino government against the youth and people. We call on the youth and people to hold bigger protests to force Aquino’s resignation.
We are calling for a nationwide march to CHED offices on March 6 and a nationwide student walkout for education and justice on March 13. Let us take action for education, justice and change.