Youth alliances to hold daily protests
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has stood firm on her decision to stay, but the organized youth are calling on her to resign. The demand for her removal from office has grown to the point where daily protests are set to be held to force the President to leave Malacañang.
BY CARL MARC RAMOTA
The country’s militant labor center announced July 9 it will lead labor strikes and mass walkouts this week to condemn President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s refusal to resign and press for her removal from office.
Elmer Labor, chair of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU – May 1st Movement), said his group will lead “calibrated workers strikes and mass walkouts” from factories and other work sites starting Monday, July 11.
“Since Arroyo doesn’t want to resign then the only way to remove her as President is through people power.”
Labog added: “Workers and poor people suffered enough under Arroyo’s leadership. We cannot allow her to stay longer in Malacañang. We will set up barricades in urban poor communities and lead labor and transport strikes to press her to step down immediately.”
The KMU issued the announcement as transport groups led by Piston last week threatened likewise to call for transport strike in Metro Manila and other regions. The groups will call for oil price rollback and are expected to join the call for the President’s resignation.
Hundreds of public school teachers in Metro Manila last July 8 walked out of their schools demanding salary increases. Other teachers and university faculties led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers are set to follow suit with similar walkouts throughout the country this week.
Meanwhile, thousands of students from various state and private schools and youth in different communities are set to hold daily protests this week to compel President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to leave Malacañang.
This was the consensus reached by student leaders and representatives of several youth organizations under Youth Demanding Arroyo’s Removal (YOUTH DARE) in a meeting held last July 8 at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Manila.
YOUTH DARE spokesperson Raymond Palatino said student groups from various schools have already called for Arroyo’s immediate resignation.
Palatino said the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), the biggest alliances of student councils and publications in the country and main convenors of YOUTH DARE, have called on all its members to join the call for Arroyo’s resignation.
NUSP has a membership of more than 450 student councils while the CEGP has more than 750 member publications.
The Katipunan ng mga Sangguniang Mag-aaral sa UP (Kasama sa UP), an association of student councils in the UP system, and Solidaridad (Solidarity) , a systemwide alliance of student publications and writers’ organization in UP, are now gearing up for massive mobilizations of UP students in its six autonomous units.
In a statement, UP Student Regent Ken Leonard Ramos dispelled perceptions that the youth currently experience “People Power fatigue.” He said as long as there is no genuine social change, students will never be tired of marching on the historical avenues of EDSA. (EDSA in Quezon City is the site of people’s uprisings that toppled two presidents, Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and Joseph Estrada in 2001.)
Students from the Polytechnic University of the Philipines’ (PUP) main campus led by its Central Student Council and PUP’s official student publication, The Catalyst, are set to hold a massive walkout on Monday to start off daily protests in PUP units.
PUP students in its nine campuses in Luzon are expected to join protest actions against Arroyo as the Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Konseho ng PUP (ANAK-PUP), the Alyansa ng Kabataang Mamamahayag sa PUP (AKM-PUP) and the Office of PUP Student Regent Diana Monde Directo have also urged Arroyo to resign.
Catholic and Protestant schools join resignation calls
Meanwhile, more student groups in Catholic schools are joining calls for Arroyo’s resignation despite the Catholic Educators Association of the Philippines’ (CEAP) recent position leaving the decision to the embattled president.
Palatino said most student bodies in CEAP schools have already called for Arroyo’s resignation after she publicly apologized for conversing with an official of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) during canvassing. He said Catholic school officials should follow the example of their students. Administrators of De La Salle University (DLSU), a CEAP member, have earlier called for Arroyo’s resignation
DLSU’s student council has already urged Arroyo to leave Malacañang. Three Ateneo student groups have also joined the calls for Arroyo’s resignation which include the Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Ateneo, Matanglawin, the official Filipino student publication and the Assembly, an organization in the Political Science department. Their stand was contrary to the Ateneo administration’s neutral stand.
While the University of Santo Tomas (UST) administration is calling for the formation of a Truth Commission, several UST-based groups like the Alliance of Concerned Thomasians (ACT-NOW) and the Alliance of Law Students for Nationalism-UST chapter have called on Arroyo to step down.
The student councils of Saint Paul’s College–Manila and the Adamson University have also called for Arroyo’s removal. Meanwhile, a group of student organizations in San Beda College said that its members have already lost their trust on the President and that they are committed to campaign for Arroyo’s resignation.
“CEAP’s stand does not reflect the sentiments of thousands of students in Catholic schools in the country. With or without the support of their school administrators, the students are already resolute to call for Arroyo’s resignation,” Palatino said.
He said that even students from Protestant schools are calling for Arroyo’s resignation. The student councils of Trinity College and Philippine Christial University (PCU) have made this stand, as well as Trinity’s student publication The Observer. Bulatlat