Youth slam CHR chair for forgetting lessons of martial law

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.comPolicies under Marcos still continues

Crisostomo said Martial Law is still very much alive under Aquino administration. “We cannot simply remember. The ‘legacies’ of Marcos are still very much alive. Marcos’ Education Act of 1982 which legitimized tuition increases is still in full force today.”

For the academic year 2012-2013, there are more than 267 tertiary schools that have increased their tuition by as much as 15 percent. The groups said the actual number could be much higher as government does not monitor the dubious miscellaneous and other fees.

State universities and colleges such as the University of the Philippines (UP), and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) which are supposed to provide accessible education have also increased school fees. The UP, through a “rebracketing” scheme has increased tuition from P1,000 ($24) to P1,500 ($36) per unit. PUP has meanwhile hiked its miscellaneous fees by as much P500 ($12).

Palabay also said Karapatan has received reports that the Armed Forces of the Philippines continues with their red-tagging campaign against youth organizations in schools in their counter-insurgency symposia with the assistance of the Department of Education.

“These, Ms. Rosales, along with the continuing human rights violations, the poverty that drives the young out of schools and the sheer puppetry of Aquino, are the ‘legacies’ of Marcos that you keep today,” Palabay said.

Lessons of Martial Law

For NUSP secretary general Isabelle Baguisi, the greatest lesson of Martial Law is that the people themselves should fight for their rights against tyranny. “And that is what we are doing now,” Baguisi said pertaining to their week-long protest.

She said it is not only once that Aquino, his spokespersons, Cabinet members – and now the chairwoman of CHR has belittled the youths’ ability to understand the needs of the time. “They have refused to even acknowledge the concrete calls of the youth and the pressing needs of the people.”

“If a callous government that is continuously committing human rights violations, and worsening the crisis does not merit mass protest actions and strong student outrage, then what does? The times are dark with the increasing drop-out rates, increasing unemployment, increasing prices, increasing militarization with decreasing rights, and decreasing social services.”

“The youth will honor that lesson when they march with the people on Sept. 21. And people like Rosales and Aquino will remain like cobwebs in the libraries of our history as a nation,” Palabay said.

Meanwhile, the youth and students’ group will still continue with their week-long protest in different state universities and colleges. Students will join the“unity march for education and human rights” together with faculty, staff and administrators. They will also join the bigger mass action on Sept. 21 as different sectors commemorate the 40th anniversary of Martial Law.

Palatino then urged Rosales to join the students in the upcoming strikes. “Perhaps Ms. Etta Rosales should join the upcoming strike to refresh her rusting memory on the value of collective action in asserting democratic rights,” Palatino said. ()

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