By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – On the commemoration of International Students’ Day, youth and students gathered today, Nov. 17 in front of the Ateneo de Manila University to denounce what they called as “criminal negligence of President Duterte’s administration.”
In a statement, Daryl Angelo Baybado, national president of College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), said in a statement, “As the nation faces the grim nightmare of typhoon aftermath, Duterte’s administration has not only neglected its duty of public service and response especially in times of calamity but has failed to put in due recognition these dire realities of the people.”
The youth groups reiterated their call for a national academic break to allow students as well as teachers and support personnel to recover from the destruction brought about by the typhoons.
Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago urged the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to heed the call.
“We demand a national academic break to assess the current education situation, review faculty and student workload, implement a ‘no fail’ policy and provide aid to those in need of food, shelter and other necessities. It is also important to move deadlines,” Elago said in a statement.
CHED Chairperson Prospero De Vera, however, shunned the proposal. In a television interview, De Vera said that the impact of the typhoon varies across different parts of the country, adding that the universities in Luzon are already deciding on the matter.
In reaction, Raoul Manuel spokesperson of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) said that CHED should act in favor of the students.
Earlier, students of the Ateneo De Manila University, De La Salle University, University of the Philippines and Adamson University urged the government to act on the crises afflicting the Filipino people.
The International Students Day is commemorated worldwide every 17th of November when Nazis executed protesters, eight students and one professor, without trial in 1939.
“Filipino youth’s strike back against Duterte’s criminal negligence today could also be seen as a parallelism to the Czechoslovakian students’ fight against the Nazi occupation. Fighting against state fascism, thus, is the very inspiration of the International Students’ Day,” said Elago.