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Friday, June 6, 2008

UP students stage 'cultural protest'

By KATHERINE ADRANEDA
The Philippine Star

Students of the University of the Philippines in Diliman yesterday staged a "cultural protest" to kick off their week long action against tuition fee increase.

With songs, poems and speeches against tuition hike and alleged exorbitant fees in their school, members of the Ugnayang Multi-sektoral Laban sa Komersyalisasyon– College of Mass Communication, an alliance of student organizations in UP, demanded the rollback of the 300-percent tuition increase in their university that was implemented last year in view of the skyrocketing prices of oil, energy and basic commodities. The group held their program in front of students queuing for their enrolment forms.

Marian Rose Uichanco, convenor of UMAKSYON–CMC, said that a rollback on their tuition will definitely bring economic relief to the families of freshmen and sophomores in UP. These batches, she noted, were the ones affected by the tuition hike.

"State universities and colleges like UP should be catering to the financially underprivileged during these difficult times. But now that UP has tuition that is comparable to private universities, with P1,000 per unit as base bracket, the country's premiere state university has conclusively negated its orientation as a university for the underprivileged but deserving students," Uichanco said. At the same time, the students called for the scrapping of laboratory fees in their college.

Jose Carlos Maningat, spokesperson of the League of Filipino Students–CMC, said laboratory fees in their college range from P200 to P1,200 while there remains pending petitions for laboratory fees hike in more than 10 subjects, which are also set to be approved this semester.

Maningat said that the amount of laboratory fees now has a significant economic value especially since the disposable income of families nowadays has already shrunk from its real value due to soaring prices of basic commodities.

"A laboratory fee of P600 if scrapped, for instance, can mean additional 16 kilos of rice for a Filipino family," Maningat said.

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