More Protests Despite
Youth groups launch alliance vs Arroyo
youth was one of the formidable forces in the second Edsa uprising which
catapulted Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to power; it may as well be the same
force that will boot Arroyo out of Malacañang.
By Carl Marc Ramota
Youth activist gathers signatures for anti-Arroyo campaign
PHOTO BY AUBREY MAKILAN
Various youth and student groups are now
gearing up for more massive protests against the Arroyo administration,
saying the youth will once again be at the forefront of the fight against
fraud and corruption.
Barely a day after Arroyo's public apology, various anti-Arroyo youth
formations, student councils, publications and organizations launched
Youth Dare or Youth Demanding Arroyo's Removal.
The youth was one of the formidable forces in the second Edsa people's
uprising which catapulted Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to power; it may as well
be the same force that will boot Arroyo out of Malacañang, the youth
Apology not accepted
Speaking at a press conference in Palma Hall in the University of the
Philippines (UP) Diliman last June 28, Eleanor de Guzman, Anakbayan
(nation’s youth) secretary-general and Youth Dare spokesperson, warned
Arroyo, "If she thinks she can get off the hook that easily then she is
gravely mistaken. The youth will not simply forgive and forget."
Youth Dare is a broad alliance of youths and students from different
schools, communities and universities. Among its convenors and members are
Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, UP SIGAO (UP Student Initiative
for Gloria Arroyo's Ouster), PUP Yanig (Youth Alliance for the Immediate
Ouster of Gloria), the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP),
College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Kabataang Artista para sa
Tunay na Kalayaan (youth artists for genuine freedom or KARATULA), Student
Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP), Anak ng Bayan Youth Party,
Youth for Patriotic Leadership (YPL), Youth GO (Youth for Gloria's
Ouster), ARM of the Youth (Arroyo Resign Movement of the Youth), Gloria
Step Down Movement (GSM) – Youth, SSALAG (Sampaloc at Sta. Cruz Laban kay
Gloria) and other Sangguniang Kabataan (youth councils) and youth groups
Most of these organizations also formed the Estrada Resign Youth Movement
(ERYM) which figured prominently during the second Edsa people power
uprising that ousted then President Estrada in January 2001.
De Guzman added that last week's series of protests was the “beginning of
the end” for the Arroyo presidency. "Now that the truth is out, our fight
for transparency has become our fight to safeguard the future of the youth
and the nation," she said.
NUSP deputy vice president for Luzon Terry Ridon meanwhile said Arroyo's
woes will never be over.
"With her admission of guilt, she herself has willingly placed the last
nail on her floundering regime's coffin – this mea culpa is too late for
the people to stomach, especially us students," Ridon, a student from the
University of the Philippines said.
Ridon said Arroyo's admission of guilt moves students not into sympathy
for her but a strengthened and renewed resolve to broaden the student
alliance against the Arroyo government.
Raymond Palatino, Anak ng Bayan Youth Party vice president and former
convenor of the Erap Resign Youth Movement (ERYM), said Arroyo is a bad
example for the youth. "A jueteng-lover and charlatan has no moral
ascendancy to govern and she sets a bad example to young Filipinos."
"She has already betrayed us twice. Even before stealing the people's
votes, she has already failed the youth when she turned a blind eye on the
Youth Agenda given to her upon assumption of office," Palatino said.
UP Sigao covenor Alfonso Tomas “Atom” Araullo said Arroyo's "janus-faced
apology is merely tip of the iceberg."
He said the Arroyo government has failed miserably in addressing youth's
major issues, primarily the dismal state of education in the country. He
recounted that it was during the Arroyo administration that UP and other
state universities and colleges suffered major budget cuts exacerbated by
increased prioritization in military spending and debt servicing.
UP Student Regent Ken Leonard Ramos, on the other hand, called Arroyo a
traitor of the Edsa 2 uprising.
He also dispelled assumptions that the youth currently experiences "EDSA
fatigue." "As long as there are no apparent and real changes, students
will never tire from traversing the historical avenues of EDSA," Ramos
Intelligence agents in campuses
Meanwhile, the NUSP revealed that private and state colleges and
universities are now being infiltrated by government intelligence agents
to stop supposed plans of students to conduct Gloriagate-related
"destabilization" moves against the Arroyo regime.
"As a desperate attempt to contain the snowballing controversy, the regime
has unleashed cunning intelligence agents to several campuses of the UP to
collect information on upcoming plans of student councils," Ridon said
The NUSP leader said government agents recently visited the UP campus in
Diliman and asked about "scheduled activities" related to the scandal.
He also said an intelligence agent pretending to be an emissary from a
foreign embassy exposed himself when he queried a group of students about
the schedule of a "Hello Garci" listening session.
In a related development, Ridon said large groups of policemen are "coming
and going" inside the premises of the UP Manila campus' Office of the
"The regime is creating a climate of fear among the students," Ridon said.
He added that such move only shows President Arroyo is already "that
paranoid and panicky," that legitimate student councils are now being
Youth Jam vs. GMA
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© 2004 Bulatlat
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