Fighting for Affordable Education is Not a Crime!

March 26, 2010

Reference: Jessica Antonio, Chairperson,

Fighting for Affordable Education is Not a Crime!

From across the Pacific, the League of Filipino Students at San Francisco State University stand along side our sisters and brothers in the Philippines fighting for their basic human right to an education.  Students from different corners of the globe in Austria, Spain, the Philippines and the United States have been rising up and protesting the rapidly increasing fees hikes as politicians continue to gut resources from education.  Voicing their outrage against the proposed 1666% increase in tuition, students led a protest at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) on March 18th, throwing broken chairs and desks from the fourth floor, highlighting the Philippine government’s neglect.  Five student leaders from the Student Council, League of Filipino Students, and Kabataan Partylist were harassed and arrested by police charged for robbery of school property on March 24th during the walk out protest of hundreds of students.

PUP, like our California State University (CSU) system, boasts about being the most accessible colleges, affordable to lower income students and working class people. With these outrageous increases however, many students can no longer afford to receive a higher education.  With over $583 million in cuts to CSUs comes 80% increases in student fees and a lower quality of education.  March 4th was a statewide mobilization for education bringing together K-12, community colleges, CSUs, and UCs to demand for education to be a top priority.  What kind of future for our children is there if education is inaccessible?

For students in the Philippines who have been able to finish college, they are still unable to find jobs after they graduate.  This points to the deeper issue of the government’s blatant disregard for providing basic living needs for the people.  As the government tries to increase the price for education, it continues to spend money on a military, which has been documented by organizations such Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Karapatan, as a repeated human rights violator.  Since this current administration has been in office, there have been well-over 1,000 cases of extra-judicial killings. In relation to this, the United States continues to pour tens of millions of dollars to the Philippines to support its armed forces, while students in America are having to pay more for their education while getting less back each semester.

The League of Filipino Students at San Francisco State University stand in solidarity with the PUP students who continue to fight against tuition increases and cuts to education. We applaud them in their victory to stop the proposed 1666% increase and we hope that through our efforts here in United States, we can achieve the same goal. We demand for the release of Cheyser Soriano, Judy Anne Fabito, Pi Em Canela, Fennin Louise Umagat, and Abriel Mansilungan, the five students arrested for demanding basic services that the government tried to take away.  It is not a crime to fight for accessible education when it should be provided for all!  The true crime is the lack of regard by the Philippine government for the majority of Filipinos who continuously are forced to leave their home country to find jobs elsewhere! The struggle for accessible and relevant education persists throughout the world and we will continue to fight to secure this basic human right!

Education for All!
Release the PUP 5!
Long Live International Solidarity!


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