MANILA — Condemnation of the violent dispersal of a student protest in a school visited by President Noynoy Aquino continues today, with youth group Anakbayan calling the dispersal as part of a ‘desperate PR stunt’ of the president.
Students led by Anakbayan and the League of Filipino Students held a picket last Thursday in front of the Rizal Technological University to protest the proposed budget cuts to state colleges and universities next year. Aquino was scheduled to grace the inauguration of a new building in the said campus.
Members of the Mandaluyong police mauled the protesters and arrested four: Frances Martinez, Anakbayan national secretary-general; Abby Gonzales of Anakbayan; Antonine Perdigon of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines; and Faith Sadicon of the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines. The four reported that they were literally dragged to a police van where the cops slapped their heads. They also confiscated Gonzales’ cellphone, whose camera was used to videotape the dispersal. When the phone was returned, footage of the police attack was deleted.
“Aquino’s campus visit is nothing but a desperate and show-managed attempt to prop up his fast-sinking popularity” said Anakbayan spokesperson Charisse Bañez.
The president has come under fire for a spate of issues in the first 50 days of his term: the proposed fare hike in the MRT and LRT systems, the imposition of VAT (Value Added Tax) in tollways, the hike in the SLEX (Southern Luzon Expressway), the continued refusal to distribute Hacienda Luisita to its farm workers, the proposed revival of the mandatory ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) for college students, the proposed 12-year basic education curriculum, and most recently, the incompetent handling of the Aug. 23 hostage-taking.
The latest survey by the Pulse Asia firm shows that only four out of every ten Filipinos believes Aquino can improve their lives in 2010, a huge drop from his 88% approval rating in a survey released in the eve of his first State of the Nation Address last July.
“The administration wants to project an image of the youth continuing to cheer wildly for Noynoy, but the truth was out there (of the campus): the youth are fast becoming tired of his broken promises and the anti-youth policies” said the youth leader.
She said “Aquino has clearly forgotten to study his history. No matter how much you repress the youth and the people, protests will continue to spread as long as he ignores their basic demands and rights. At this rate, we will not be surprised if he ends up as even more hated than his despicable predecessor”.
Bañez ended with a warning, saying “This is but a preview of the youth’s outrage that is waiting for Noynoy just around the corner, should he continue to remain deaf to our demands”. # Anakbayan Release/nordis.net