Youth write unique love letters

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014


YOUNG protesters gave a different pre-Valentine’s Day activity in People’s Park on Wednesday, January 30.

Heart-shaped papers were given to passersby for them to write their wishes, which will be placed in the branches of the Love and Freedom Tree. These papers mostly contained sentiments of the citizens like oil price hike and tuition fee increase. According to press release, the activity signifies the unity in fighting for democratic rights.

The metaphor for Valentine’s Day was used by the protesters to awaken the people and school administrations. Tracy Dumalo of Anakbayan Cordillera said people will feel "heart-broken" because of the ineffectiveness of the administration. Students oftentimes are surprised to see during February the sudden increase in tuition or miscellaneous fee for the next school year, Dumalo also explained.

The protest was a sign of refusal for the upcoming tuition increase expected to be approved by Commission on Higher Education (Ched).

Dumalo explained upon the approval of Ched, Saint Louis University and the University of Baguio will increase either their tuition fee or their miscellaneous fee for the upcoming freshmen. The University of the Cordilleras started with the increase already.

Besides the increase, the protesters expressed their irritation towards the school administrations who instead of consulting with their respective student bodies first of the increase, were just informing students through bulletins. The consultation is under Ched Memorandum No. 3 stating the student body should be made aware of the increase and the collection of the said increase.

Disappointment of the current administration was also expressed. Issues also raised were exportation of workers and the K-12 program of the government.

Protesters also sung to the popular tunes of Basilio's "Lord, Patawad" and "Pusong Bato", voicing out the dissatisfaction of the current administration. The protesters warn the state universities and colleges that they will not be free from the tuition hikes. Because of budget cuts, SUC’s will be privatized. According to the press release, the Roadmap for Public Higher Education Reform (RPHER) the allocation of the government to education will be given to military budget and payment to foreign debts.

The protest action, headed by Anakbayan-Cordillera, Cordillera Youth Center, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, and Kabataan Partylist, is only the start of the fight for the democratic rights, as Dumalo stressed out. Dumalo said to expect more activities for the coming months if no action from the government will happen. (Julia Manuel, UP Baguio Intern)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 05, 2014.

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