Anakbayan condemns in the strongest terms the US-Duterte regime for discontinuing free tuition funds for State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in the 2018 budget and for refusing to implement a no-collection policy in the country’s 114 SUCs.

In the backdrop of its allocation of additional funds for military spending and martial law, the war on drugs, and Chinese loan payments for massive infrastructure projects, this reflects the increasingly neoliberal and anti-people thrust of the US-Duterte regime.

That Duterte’s economic managers can claim that his government cannot afford free education while allotting a whopping P1 trillion for infrastructures shows that it values the interests of foreign lenders, big contractors, and capitalist school owners over the Filipino people.

Duterte’s populist electoral promises of giving free college education to the poor is unmasked as a lie. In Pilipino, this is not just “pampalubag loob” and “bigay bawi” but a big “panloloko” or deception.

In truth, NEDA Director General Ernesto Pernia’s statement that the free tuition policy is an “attack on private schools” exposes the real reason for removing it in the 2018 budget. It has nothing to do with the lack of budget but the defense of private profits.

Anakbayan calls on congressmen and senators to ensure that funds are allotted in the General Appropriations Act to cover free tuition and other fees. We also call on them to continue to push for free tuition and a no-collection policy for SUCs.

We call on SUC students, faculty, administrators, and the wider public to hold massive protests to condemn this move and demand free education for all. We enjoin everyone to a National Day of Action for free education on August 9.


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