Students hurl paint bombs at CHED gate, demand free college education

Jorge Carino, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 08 2017 05:44 PM

A student defaces the Commission on Higher Education's front gate in Quezon City on Thursday in protest of increasing tuition and other fees and to call for free education. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Students and youth groups ended their 4-day campout at University of the Philippines-Diliman Thursday by hurling paint bombs at the gate of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) office in Quezon City.

The paint bombs— paint loaded on plastic bags— vandalized the gray metal gate of the agency's central office on C.P. Garcia Avenue in Diliman, close to the UP campus.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago said the protest was a call for free education and a disapproval of the new round of increases on tuition and other fees in colleges and universities across the country.

She said the students were happy gains they have achieved in pushing government to draw up a policy for providing free college education in state colleges and universities. 

But she noted that reality was in stark contrast with the policy. 

"Ang tanong ng mga estudyante, libre nga ba kung mananatili 'yung patakaran ng paniningil ng tuition at other school fees sa mga pampublikong paaralan?," said Elago.

Elago called on government to implement a program that would truly provide free college education by implementing zero collection of fees in schools and doing away with admission requirements for scholarships. 

"Merong free tuition policy for 2017, which is at the P8 billion for this year under the GAA (General Appropriations Act). Ang nangyari, imbes na wala nang tuition na singilin sa undergraduate students, nagtakda pa ng maraming mga application procedure, requirements, katulad ng documents or proof of income para lang patunayan na ikaw ay karapat-dapat sa libreng tutition,” she said.

“Ang gusto natin, dapat andyan na 'yung pondo, libre na ibigay na sa mga estudyante 'yung walang paniningil at walang koleksyon ng tuition sa mga state universities at colleges," Elago added.