Students reject APEC, set protests on Economic Leaders Meeting

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APEC-logo-2015LEGAZPI CITY, 8Nov2015 — Student group League of Filipino Students (LFS) on Saturday announced that youth and students are set to hold nationwide protests against the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

“BS Aquino is dead wrong thinking that we’ll go on a vacation by suspending classes during the APEC week. He should know that we’ll be right outside APEC venues, making it known that APEC is not welcome in the Philippines,” LFS National Chairperson Charisse Bañez said.

Bañez stressed that APEC will only worsen the rising cost of education and aggravate the attacks to the youth’s right to free public education. She added that policies of privatization and commercialization of basic social services like education are the premises of the Economic Leaders Meeting on November 18-19.

“Since its founding in 1989, APEC has been aggressively pushing for globalization policies of privatization, deregulation and commercialization into the educational system of its member-states. On a global scale, these policies have left about 58 million children of primary school-age and 63 million adolescents of secondary school-age out of school,” said Bañez.

In the Philippines, over two decades of privatization of the education sector and deregulation of school fees have resulted to unabated increases in tuition and other school fees (OSF); and thereby pushing education costs at an all-time high. Bañez noted that the current cost of tertiary education ranges from P30,000 to P100,000.

K to 12 as part of APEC’s agenda on education

Bañez scored the K to 12 program, BS Aquino’s flagship education program, as part of APEC’s agenda of re-gearing the country’s educational system to supply cheap, semi-skilled, and docile labor needed by transnational corporations based in the most powerful APEC member states like the United States of America (US).

“As seen in the curriculum of the K to 12 program, courses under the K to 12 program are based on the jobs needed by other countries. Some of which are welders, domestic helpers, hair dressers, butchers, etc,” said Bañez.

“Instead of gearing our students according to the needs and interests of our country for national development, K to 12 is turning our schools into a factory of cheap, semi-skilled, and docile laborers needed by foreign corporations,” she added.

According to the youth leader, like other policies on education under APEC, the K to 12 program will further privatize and commercialize the education in the Philippines. Bañez noted that under K to 12, about 1 million students will be forced to enrol in private schools for the Senior High School (SHS) program. She added that the matriculation for these schools range from 25,000 to more than 70,000. Bañez stressed that K to 12 will only increase the number of out-of-school youths in the country.

LFS also slammed the Department of Education (DepEd) for their plan to delay the subsidy for public school students that will enrol in private SHS. According to Dr. Teodoro Robless, president of Central Philippine University, DepEd will only release the fund after the first semester.

“As we have said before, parents and students will have to shoulder the high cost of SHS in private schools. Clearly, the Aquino government does not have any plan to make public basic education for free,” Bañez said.

Bañez expressed concern that it is another scheme of the government to further the privatization of basic education ad ensure the profit of private schools.

“Aquino’s K to 12 program is being true to APEC’s ‘evil’ agenda to ensure the profit of big businesses at the expense of the right of the youth and the people,” said Bañez.

LFS said that students in public and private schools in Metro Manila are geared for walkouts on November 13, which coincides with the APEC Concluding Senior Officials’ Meeting. Students all over the country are also expected to hold protests in key cities on the same day.

The student group said that youth and students will likewise hold protest on November 17 on the occasion of the International Students Day. They are also set to join the mammoth people’s protest during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Manila on November 18-19.

“President Aquino and other world leaders shouldn’t think that the upcoming APEC summit will be a walk in the park. If the need arises for us to hound them everywhere they go to make our message clear, then so be it,” Bañez ended.

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