3 students disrupt House hearing on education

By Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 07 2014 05:13 PM | Updated as of May 08 2014 01:13 AM

MANILA - Student activists disrupted the hearing of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education on Wednesday as they lambasted the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for allegedly being inutile in regulating tuition and other fee increases in colleges and universities.

Bearing signs calling for a stop in fee increases, student activists John Clifford Sibayan, JC Gomez and Charlotte Velasco were immediately ushered out by House security when they shouted demands for affordable education.

Their group has been protesting CHED Memorandum 03, which governs the policy on fee increases.

Under the memo, every increase in tuition and other fees should go through a process of consultations, a policy which they said is being violated by some schools by simply increasing fees of incoming freshmen students.

According to the CHED, there is a Supreme Court decision which determined the extent of the regulating powers of the commission for 2nd, 3rd and 4th year.

"CHED has powers based on RA 722, however, there are certain conditions that will modify or regulate that exercise of power," Atty. Carmelita Yadao-Sison told the committee.

"That is the reason why even in the latest consultations the fees of the freshmen have not been included," she said.

Committee Chair Roman Romulo said the policy is still being studied by the committee to check whether loopholes in this memo are being exploited by schools in such manner.

This is to determine if a separate legislation is needed to address the problem.