By Rjay Castor 

PHOTO: Kabataan Partylist/Rappler

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte’s pronouncement that wearing uniforms is not mandatory for public schools is “unoriginal” and “populist”, Kabataan Party-list argued.

The youth group stressed that the policy is just another band-aid solution “meant to appease public frustrations but not to help solve systemic problems."

Citing the increase in tuition fees and skyrocketing prices of basic goods, Kabataan posited DepEd’s measure as “only the tip of the iceberg”, which has not addressed issues on the inaccessibility of quality education among Filipino students. 

"Mainam na hindi na required ang uniforms. Pero kung nais talaga ng DepEd na bawasan ang pasanin ng mga estudyante, dapat pigilan din ang pagtaas ng matrikula at ibang bayarin,” Kabataan Party-list Representative Raoul Manuel said. 

Kabataan also pointed out the measure is not new since uniforms being non-mandatory has been observed since May 2010 as provided by DepEd Order No. 65. 

Early into the 19th Congress, Kabataan had filed House Bill (HB) 252, or the Emergency Student Aid and Relief Bill, which provides students with a one-time P10,000 financial aid for their education-related expenses. 

It also filed a measure for a moratorium on tuition and other fees, and the implementation of a “no-fail policy” in all educational institutions. 

“Nagsampa din tayo ng resolusyon sa Kongreso upang magpatupad ng moratorium sa pagtaas ng tuition and other fees. Susuportahan ba ng DepEd ang mga panukalang ito?" Manuel concluded.