Student activists scuffle with Palace security

Posted at 03/06/14 9:46 PM

MANILA - Filipino students rallied in front of the presidential palace in Manila on Thursday, protesting tuition fee hikes.

Around 50 members of Gabriela-Youth, a leftist women's rights organisation, scuffled with police and security personnel as they marched towards Malacanang palace, where President Benigno Aquino's office is located.

No injuries were reported.

The activists said that the education sector has increasingly been commercialised as it engages in partnerships with large corporations, and a meagre budget allotted for the education sector forces schools to pass on the burden to students who must pay higher fees.

"There is no significant action from the government, especially this president, to resolve the yearly increase in tuition, in school fees," Gabriela-Youth spokesperson Kamil Manangan said.

Demonstrators said the rally coincides with the death anniversary of a university student, Kristel Tejada, who committed suicide a year ago allegedly due to difficulties in making her tuition payments.

Her case, they say, is a result of the failure of the government to address the financial burden on state university students.

More than 20 percent of the Philippines' higher education institutions have increased their tuition or school fees in the past year, data from the Commission on Higher Education showed.