6 Students Nabbed, Teacher Hurt in Rally Dispersal

January 31, 2008 – 12:43pm

Six students were arrested while 24 others — including a teacher — were injured after police dispersed a rally against what a Malacañang-led education summit.

Joanna Rose Adenit and Emman Montado of the Philippine Normal University (PNU), Crimson Laglera of Anakbayan-Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Alvin Cerrano of the League of Filipino Students-PUP, Vic del Rosario from Caloocan and Arlo Cervantes of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City were among those arrested. A certain Ophie of Caloocan is still missing.

They are reported to have been brought to the Ospital ng Maynila. Meanwhile, their companions held an indignation rally in front of the Western Police District Main Headquarters to demand their immediate release.

Twenty-three students from UP, PUP,University of the East( UE), Adamson University, PNU and the Lyceum of the Philippines also suffered injuries from the police’s attacks.

Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) President Antonio Tinio acquired cuts and bruises on his arms while attempting to negotiate with WPD Chief Rosales.

Youth groups National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Anakbayan, LFS and Kabataang Pinoy, along with teachers from ACT, staged a protest rally against the Malacanang-sponsored education summit which opened this morning at the Manila Hotel.

The ralliers began their program just as President Gloria Arroyo entered the hotel to deliver her keynote address.

The rallyists were immediately dispersed as they marched toward Manila Hotel, before any negotiation could take place.

From Roxas Avenue, they were chased towards Rizal Park where they were able to hold a short program. They were about to end the program when police arrived at the scene and attacked them again.

The rallyists criticized the non-inclusion of student and teacher representatives in the summit. They also protested against the government’s general thrust of commercialization and privatization of education resulting in yearly budget cuts and a deregulated tuition policy.

“All we wanted was to voice out our issues and demands as primary stakeholders in the education sector,” said NUSP President Alvin Peters. “It was not at all our intention to disrupt the summit. All we wanted was to air our grievances because the government appears to have deliberately ignored our interests.

“Hindi na nga kami pinakinggan, sinaktan pa kami” (They didn’t listen to us and they even hurt us).

“We are determined to file legal charges against our police attackers,” said Peters.

The youth groups, however, remained unperturbed as they vowed to stage a bigger protest tomorrow, the last day of the summit. Students from Southern Tagalog are expected to join the protest.

They also said that they are preparing to come up with a critique of the recommendations of the education summit over the weekend. (Bulatlat.com)

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