Youth situation presented for Duterte’s SONA

By CHRISTIAN PATRICIO
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — As the second state of the nation address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte draws near, people are still asking if there was really any change. With this, youth groups readily presented their assessment on the first year of the so-called “first left-leaning” president.

Youth groups, led by Kabataan Partylist Cordillera, held mobile protest actions at five different spots around Baguio City. The protest actions focused particularly on the current situation of the youth in the Cordillera, free education, K12 and the continuing fascism and militarization in some parts of the country.

The continuing struggle for free education

As the student movements are firm on the call for quality and free education, the student achieved a staggering amount of P8.3 billion pesos in the form of Higher Education Support Fund (HESF) for the tuition fee of 114 state universities and colleges (SUC). However, according to Kabataan Partylist regional coordinator Julie Doroja, the call for free tuition was being played by the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Budget and Management as manifested on their implementing rules and regulation.

“Ang mga probisyon na nakalagay sa IRR ng CHED at DBM ay hindi nakakatulong, kundi pinipigilan pa ang mga kabataang estudyante sa pagkamit sa libreng edukasyon habang pinapayagan din nito ang mga eskwelahan na maningil at kumita,” Doroja said.

“Kailangan magpasa pa ng mga estudyante ng mga kung anu-anong maraming dokumento para makapag-apply sa free tuition policy. Dagdag dito, wala pang kasiguraduhan na makukuha nila ang libreng edukasyon sa kabila ng napakahabang proseso. Nilalayo lang ng CHED-DBM IRR sa mga estudyante ang edukasyon na deserve nila,” Doroja added.

The standing problem of K12

Duterte first announced his disagreement on the K12 program on his early days of campaign for presidency. However, people were confused when the implementation pushed through in his first year of presidency. Anakbayan sees the implementation of K12 as an opportunity for private schools to profit more from their students.

“Meron lamang 7 mga public high schools na nag-o-offer ng senior high school sa buong Baguio. Dagdag pa rito, kakaunti sa mga pampublikong highschool sa mga probinsya dito sa Cordillera ang nag-o-offer ng senior high school. Marami rin sa mga highschool sa probinsya ang kakaunti ang bilang ng mga classrooms kung kaya’t hindi nito kayang papasukin lahat ng mga estudyante,” John Rey Dave Aquino from Anakbayan said.

“Maliban pa rito, makikita rin ang hindi kahandaan ng ating bansa sa K12. Kulang tayo sa mga classrooms, sa mga libro, sa ibang gamit na pang-eskwela at mismong sa mga guro,” Aquino added.

State fascism and militarization

The Cordillera youth is not exempted on the fascism led by the administration. The most recent is the bombing of a community in Malibcong, Abra in the first half of this year. Two students, both members of Kabataan Partylist Abra, were detained and harassed by state forces like Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“The current state fascism under the Duterte administration was further heightened when they pronounced the all-out-war against the reds. This paved the way for AFP to abuse and harass the progressive organization’s leaders in the country sides, and also heightening the militarization particularly in indigenous peoples land,” Progressive Igorots for Social Action spokesperson Nedlloyd Tuguinay said.

Tuguinay further said, the martial law extension in Mindanao paved the way for more harassments and abuse by the military. Tuguinay said that the extension of martial law will not help the national minorities in Mindanao in any way.

Youth’s challenge

“Ang hamon para sa mga ating estudyante ay ipagpatuloy ang mga pagkilos at mas maging mapagmatyag sa mga aksyon ni Duterte kahit pagkatapos ng isang taon. Huwag nating hahayaan na maging sagad-sagarin si Duterte at lahat ng mga nasa gabinete nito,” said Aquino.

“Ang challenge ng mga kabataan kay Duterte, ay syempre, kumampi sa mamamayan at hinding-hindi sa dikta ng US at ng mga militarista sa kanyang gabinete,” added Doroja.

Multi-sectoral groups will stage a protest action on the 24th for the people’s state of the nation address. However, the youth are still hopeful and will take the initiative to push a progressive and nationalist change. # nordis.net

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