Party-list group wants moratorium on tuition hikes in schools amid several calamities
MANILA, Philippines – A moratorium on tuition increases should be implemented over educational institutions nationwide amid various calamities, the Kabataan party-list said on Tuesday.
Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago explained that apart from the Taal Volcano’s eruption last January 12, other natural disasters — including the Typhoons Tisoy and Ursula which ripped through Luzon and Visayas and the earthquakes in Mindanao — have financially crippled thousands of families.
In line with this, Elago filed House Resolution No. 657, asking the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to freeze pending Tuition and Other Fee Increases (TOFI).
“Apart from our efforts and calls to provide immediate relief and fast release of aid to all affected communities, a tuition moratorium is necessary to give the people, especially the parents and students, a much-needed respite as they rebuild their homes and their lives while ensuring learning continuity,” she said in a statement.
According to Kabataan, several classes in the Bicol Region, Visayas, and in quake-stricken parts of Mindanao have resumed under makeshift tents. They also noted that apart from educational institutions that have taken a hit, residents whose houses or sources of livelihood were also destroyed.
Reports from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) showed that 200,000 families were affected by Tisoy, which struck in early December 2019, with damage reaching more than P2.6 billion just in Sorsogon.
NDRRMC said that over 172,000 houses were destroyed, while DepEd estimated that damage to Bicol schools has totaled to P904 million.
Meanwhile, Christmas Day weather disturbances brought by Ursula has left at least 41 individuals dead, with P300 million worth of damage just in Cebu province.
Meanwhile, the recent Taal explosion has left 30,000 students displaced, and over 2.4 million students affected DepEd said.
Elago said that stopping TOFIs and Tuition and other school fee (TOSF) increases have been long overdue, as the alleged inflationary effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law is already a pressing reason to do so.
“In fact, stopping the increases on tuition and other school fee (TOSF) is long overdue because of the skyrocketing cost of education due to decades-long policies of deregulation and commercialization, while wage increases remain very low,” Elago said.
“Any TOSF increase spells an additional burden aggravated by already high prices of goods, meager salaries, and contractualization on top of the dire impact of rice tariffication law on farmers and agriculture at large,” she added.
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