Press Release
February 21, 2016


Independent vice-presidential candidate Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero is hopeful that the long-pending Magna Carta of Students will finally see the light of day under a government led by Sen. Grace Poe to stop irregular tuition hikes in private higher education institutions.

Escudero said the passage of the bill on students' rights, which dates back to the 8th Congress, is timely with the current prohibitive cost of education in the country.

"Panahon na upang isabatas natin ang Magna Carta of Students upang mapangalagaan ang mga karapatan ng mga estudyante lalo na sa hindi makatarungang pagtataas ng matrikula ng mga pribadong paaralan," said Escudero, who is the frontrunner in the vice-presidential race.

Escudero has been supporting the passage of the measure since he was a congressman of Sorsogon, because it seeks, among others, to empower students to scrutinize fees imposed by schools.

"Nakapaloob sa Magna Carta of Students ang karapatan ng mga estudyante na maging miyembro ng board of directors ng lahat ng eskwelahan, private man o public," Escudero explained. "Para sa gayon, kung may increase mang gagawin ang eskwelahan malalaman nila: 'Para saan ba 'to?,' 'Saan ba 'to pupunta?', 'at makatarungan ba 'yung pagtaas ng matrikula?'"

The veteran lawmaker said without the measure, students and parents are being taken for a ride by school administrations that wantonly increase tuition sans consultation.

"Ngayon, walang magawa ang pamahalaan sa mga increase na ito at ni hindi alam ng mga estudyante at mga magulang nila kung saan ba pupunta 'yung pera mula sa dagdag matrikula," he said.

Escudero is a co-author of Senate Bill No. 308 or An Act Providing for a Magna Carta of Students filed by Sen. Cynthia Villar in 2013.

"Sa mahabang panahon, hindi po ito ipinasa ng mga nagdaang administrasyon, na tila ba minamaliit nila ang kakayanan ng kabataan. Sa ilalim ng Gobyernong May Puso ni Senator Poe, tinitiyak kong matatapos na ang mga araw na nasa dilim ang ating mga estudyante pagdating sa pagpapasya tungkol sa pagtataas ng mga bayarin sa paaralan," he said.

The proposed Magna Carta of Students seeks to ensure their freedom of access to education, right to organize and freedom of association, freedom of expression, academic rights, right to adequate academic facilities, right to student employment, right to consultation, information and participation in policy making, creation of student ethics committee, right to due process in disciplinary proceedings, and right to protection and privacy of official educational records.

The Education Act of 1982, which was passed during the time of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, permitted private schools to determine their rate of tuition and other school fees or charges, subject to rules and regulations promulgated by then the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.

Section 9 of the bill filed by Villar, on the other hand, states that "no rule, regulation or policy that directly or indirectly affects the students' rights and welfare, including tuition fee increase, shall be implemented without prior consultations and information."

Apart from the passage of the students' rights bill, Escudero is also pushing for a fully-subsidized tuition in state universities and colleges, full implementation of the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act (UniFAST) and the digitization of education to improve Filipino students' global competitiveness.

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