Cagayan youth group decry rights violations


TUGUEGARAO CITY — A solidarity program for human rights was held last August 14 at Cagayan State University Andrews campus. In the program, regional youth formation Masakbayan, called for vigilance on the looming campus militarization due to the mandatory drug test policy implemented by the CSU administration.

The heightened and alarming presence of police forces as well as campus security personnel, students who have been invited and had shown support for the cause of the program were discouraged from attending. The main gates were heavily guarded and students who had wished to participate or just listen to the program were being herded further away inside the campus. However, the program took place with fervor.

Amended policy still poses danger

In an amended policy released last August 11 which revoked the drug test requirement for enrolment, CSU officials will still push through with drug testing within the semester. Nonetheless, students continue to call for justice and accountability. Al-Jafar Enidal, a student-leader from CSU-Carig, said that “the right to express freely is not fully exercised by the students due to the continuing and intensified repression from the CSU administration.”

The amended drug test policy still pose imminent threat to human rights. Alarmingly, students have already reported drug test results being posted publicly and in open scrutiny to anyone. This has certainly violated lawful provisions on strict confidentiality and integrity of the drug test results.

Furthermore, a statement released by Masakbayan Cagayan Valley also deplored the increasing presence of police forces as well as the local PDEA inside campuses. The statement further reads, “the history of human rights violation is a solid proof that PNP-AFP will never serve the democratic interests of the masses for a just and lasting peace. There is no assurance that PNP-AFP will not abuse the drug testing policy as a tool for repression within the campus, as well as the discrimination of the innocent and the poor.”

In the intensified implementation of Oplan Tokhang, where due process and rehabilitation is not followed, drug users are merely reduced to animals. The bloody war on drugs has finally crept inside educational institutions. “If the national government is serious on making the country free from drugs then it must address the roots of drug use and hunt down large drug syndicates. It must allocate its budget to social services like education and persevere to have these services accessible to all,” states Al-Jafar Enidal.

Justice for Julie Ann Julian

The program also welcomed women’s rights group Gabriela Youth who sought justice for slain CSU student Julie Ann Julian. Julie Ann Julian was found under a bridge at Lal-lo, Cagayan. The police reports show that she was raped and brutally murdered before thrown in the river. “The case of Julie Ann Julian is no different to other cases of injustices to women. Julie’s case just shows that until today women is seen as a sexual object and weak,” said Jade Dionson, a member of Gabriela-Youth Cagayan Valley.

The program ended with a challenge to the students of CSU to exercise their democratic right to assembly, right to organize and right to freely express their concerns. #


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