By ROD ASURIN
TABUK CITY — The Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Kalinga (Samaka), a broad progressive students’ organization in the province, launches its 11th General Assembly attended by one hundred fifty four students from various high schools and colleges all over the province bearing the theme, “Invigorate the Fervor of the Youth for the advancement of Democratic Rights and Quality Education”, held at the Kalinga State University on November 30, 2017.
The resource speaker, Julius Cesar Daguitan from the Cordillera Youth Center discussed the current situation of the youth in the Cordillera. He also said that students must not only look into issues regarding education but also be vigilant about the issues besetting their communities especially the widespread militarization.
He recalled that the Philippine Military encamped and even occupied schools and daycare centers in some communities in the province which is a clear violation to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Daguitan also discussed the K12 program as a form of neoliberal attack on the Philippine education system as it aims to create a workforce, rather than work, that serves only for labor export to cater to foreign interest. The speaker also talked about the RA 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act as a fruit of an arduous fight for free education of the youth and students’ movement. However, he said that students must be vigilant on the implementing rules and regulation of the said law as it may be another barrier to a true free education.
Meanwhile, Richard Membrot, a pioneer Samaka organizer and now a successful professional teacher, shared his sentiment that it has been a practice of those in school administrations to threaten, intimidate and even tag the members of this organization as sympathizers and supporters of the New People’s Army. Despite these, he never cowed and continues to assert the democratic rights of the students.
He also encouraged the students to join progressive organizations as it will shape them to be a good person citing those colleagues who have been activists and now holds higher positions in the government with their untarnished work and good service as the principle instilled in them. He also debunks the claim of other people that to become an activist will never be absorbed in reactionary government work.
Moreover, Tabuk City Vice Mayor Darwin Estranero expressed his support and solidarity message to the organization. He said he is one with the Samaka in its advocacy for Free Education as this basic right is vested in the 1987 Philippine Constitution. He also addressed the students to become enthusiastic with joining the student movement and to muster courage to build strong solidarity ties and advancing their democratic rights.
The assembly ended with the construction of its action plan and election of their new set of officers. # nordis.net