FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2010
Ten days before President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), students today walkout from their classes, marched to Malacanang, and defied President Aquino to resolve the education crisis on SONA day.
“Today is a national day of youth action. Youth and students, not just in the National Capital Region, but all over the country, participate in this eminent show of force to demand President Aquino finally resolve the education crisis on his SONA. Either he does that or his promise of change would mean completely nothing. ” said Einstein Recedes, national president of the NUSP.
Youth actions were simultaneously held in Baguio-Benguet, Central Luzon, Bicol, Cebu, Bacolod, Tacloban, and Davao. Youth and students from Southern Tagalog joined in the action in Manila.
According to Terry Ridon, League of Filipino Students (LFS) chair, the youth are starting to “wake up from Noy’s dreamy notion of change.”
“A lot have welcomed the new administration with high hopes. That was likely the case since the GMA government was such a terrible disaster. But slowly, more and more are beginning to wonder whether Noy’s promise of change is same old empty rhetoric. The youth, especially, are beginning to wake up from Noy’s dreamy notion of change”
“It is crucial that we understand that without the strong mass movement, notions like change and progress would lose their hopeful tenor. Precisely as true believers for change and progress, the youth persistently engage the new administration to install concrete measures to address the youth and people’s issues,” Ridon said.
Anton Dulce, vice-chair of Anakbayan, said that Aquino should not hide behind the excuse that he is no “superman.” He said that that youth’s demand for quality and accessible education is “modest” that a President with a strong political will guided by conscientious leadership can instigate fundamental education reforms.
“A pro-people education system is expected from any government that touts itself as a champion of democracy. I’m afraid that if P-noy will not properly address the education crisis, his monicker would start to mean differently for the youth, Positively Nothing on Youth interests.” Dulce said.
For her part, Trina Federis, president of College of Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), said that Aquino should seriously address the systemic problem of education legalized by laws such as the Education Act of 1982 and Campus Journalism Act of 1991, to name but two.
Federis also said that Aquino should refrain from dropping “timeworn platitudes like ‘Kayo ang boss ko’ or ‘I’m all for democracy.’ The mantra ‘actions speak louder than words’ is more urgent now than ever given the pressing demands of the youth and people”
The youth also took Aquino to task for the continued killings of activists.
According to Tin Valerio, vice-chair of the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, “the unabated killings of progressive individuals is a painful yet agitating reminder that ours is a time when a new administration, using the banner of change and hope, is haunted by an underlying fascism and violence. We cannot, for one, take President Aquino’s promises to heart. We, ultimately, have to struggle on until we attaint genuine change for youth and the people, whether it be on education or human rights” she said.
Terry Ridon, LFS chair
Bugsy Nolasco, NUSP media officer