CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 11 August 2018

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Duterte’s hype fizzling out with students and teachers

MANILA (Agencies): The problem with Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, is that he “lives on hype, on promises.” Fidelino Josol, a 50-year old public schoolteacher, was reported as saying in an article in La Croix on July 25.
 
She said, “I voted for him because he sounded firm and full of convictions,” but noted that Duterte’s promises “all went down the drain.”
 
The article noted that Duterte, seems to have failed to impress his “children.” 
 
It noted that in many of his speeches Duterte has always portrayed himself as the father of the nation, especially the young people, but when he delivered his third State of the Nation address on July 23, thousands of students in cities across the Philippines took to the streets to protest.
 
“The President is in no way a father to the country nor are we yearning for one,” Dean Lacandazo, a youth leader from the central Philippines, said on July 27.
 
The Sun Star Tacloban quoted him as saying, “(Duterte) is nothing but a populist-fascist puppet of not only to the United States but subservient too to China.” 
 
Lacandazo, called Duterte’s speech “no more than a blabber of his imaginations in his own perceived universe.”
 
Jastine Domdom, was quoted by the Sun Star Tacloban as saying, “I cannot accept that the likes of Duterte will be compared to a father. Duterte is an embarrassment to all real fathers who worked hard for their children and their country,.”
 
They are not impressed with the president’s directive to provide free tuition to all Filipinos who want to go to college.
 
The La Croix article quoted Mira Legion, chairperson of the youth group, Anakbayan, in the Eastern Visayas region as saying, “Education remains inaccessible to the youth, especially the poor.” 
 
She said thousands of students failed to avail the free tuition either because they were disqualified from taking up the grant or are enrolled in private schools.
 
Legion said Duterte’s free tuition offer “falls short in truly making education free.” She cited provisions in the law that provides donation schemes in schools and a return service system for students.
 
“These are manifestations that the law does not provide the free education that students have clamored and fought for,” she said.
 
La Croix reported that students also protested the increase in tuition and other school fees in private schools that are approved by the Department of Education.
 
Ella Gaile Uy, an 18-year old college student, said that while she can receive free tuition, her family is burdened by the increasing prices of basic commodities.
 
Uy, the eldest of three siblings, takes food to school to save money. “My daily allowance is $10.20 (US$1.30),” said the girl whose parents work as a maid and a driver.
 
Duterte’s tax reforms have seen a rise in the price of almost all commodities—including school supplies.
 
Jireh Escanillas, stopped her studies. She the problem for many young people is money. “There is only one thing that I would like to tell the president and that would be to make education available to all,” she said.
 
La Croix reported that Benjo Basas, chairperson of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition, said that during the election campaign in 2016, Duterte promised teachers a US$200 ($1,569) across the board pay increase.
 
“After two years, the increase in our salaries is pegged under the context of the salary standardisation law that only provides for little more than a US$10 ($78) increase from 2016,” said Basas.
 
“While there are occasional pronouncements, these are not manifested in policies,” he said, adding the president should invest more on education and other social services.
 
The teacher remains hopeful that the president will come good on his promise. 
 

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