Youth Groups Call for Class Walk-Out on PGMA’s SoNA


Militant youth organizations are set to call for class walk-out in various schools and universities and would mobilize students for the ‘People’s State of the Nation Address’ that will be held simultaneously with the president’s SONA scheduled on July 28.

By JEFFREY OCAMPO
Contributed to Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 25, July 27-August 2, 2008

Youth organizations, led by Youth for Truth and Accountability Now! (Youth ACT Now!), Anakbayan (Sons and Daughters of the People), League of Filipino Students (LFS) and Student Christian Movement (SCM), are calling for class walk-outs in various schools and universities and are urging students to join the protest action on July 28, the date of the president’s State of the Nation Address (SoNA).

They intend to reveal the “real state of the nation and the youth,” according to Ken Ramos of Anakbayan.

Youth ACT Now! had previously staged successful class walk-outs this July as a means of carrying out the youth’s fight for “meaningful change.” More than 2,000 students from different schools in Metro Manila walked out of their classes last July 18. The July 18 walk-out was the second.  The first was held on July 10, in which some 1,000 students participated.

According to Ramos, education is fast becoming inaccessible as tuition hikes and imposition of exorbitant fees bombard the students. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) recently suspended its Memorandum No. 14, which was supposed to provide a “tuition cap” for private higher education institutions (HEIs), while the supposed moratorium on tuition increases for public HEIs failed to take effect. “More and more students are forced to drop out of college because their parents, drowning in the worsening economic crisis, can no longer provide for their children’s needs in school,” he adds.

The youth groups also dispute the Arroyo administration’s claim that “progress is felt.” Oil prices, which now increase almost every week due to speculation in the world market and the deregulated environment in the Philippines, affect basic commodities and transport, thereby adding to the misery and economic devastation of Filipinos, according to the LFS.

Another reason for their call for a class walk-out is the “state terrorism” which victimizes youth. Of the 910 victims of extrajudicial killings documented by Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) from January 2001 to June 2008, 23 belong to the youth sector. Ten cases of enforced disappearance, including that of University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, remain unresolved. According to the SCM, the Arroyo administration and its appendages in the military should be held liable for these “rampant human rights violations.”

Thus, these youth organizations call on their “fellow students to go out on the streets where the real state of the nation and of the youth shall be heard.” Contributed to Bulatlat

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