[Press Release] SPARK joins Ateneo student strike, urge others to follow suit

#HumanRights #Education SPARK joins Ateneo student strike, urge others to follow suit

A youth group has expressed its support for the One Big Strike (OBS) mobilization to be held at the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) today, November 25.

OBS, a demonstration mainly organized by ADMU students calling for a nationwide academic break as well as accountability from government officials, will be held at Gate 2.5 of the ADMU campus this afternoon.

Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) expressed its participation in the strike and confirmed that its Katipunan chapter will be present at the mobilization.

“When our backs are against the wall, we respond by fighting even harder. No amount of threats from President Duterte or his spokesperson Harry Roque can stop us from criticizing them,” Red Ligot, SPARK national coordinator, declared in a statement.

Among OBS’s minimum education demands, as listed in the Ateneo Student Strike Manifesto, are the sustention of salaries of all teaching and non-teaching personnel during the academic break, as well as providing subsidies to students, teachers, and their families to acquire the necessary gadgets and Internet connection for use in distance learning.

SPARK stated that these demands were “common sense” and should have been implemented right at the start of distance learning in March.
“If education is a right, why are the tools to access it so inaccessible themselves? Why were classes forced through when CHEd and DepEd knew the problems that preexisted?” Ligot asked, referring to the demand to subsidize gadgets and internet connections.

Furthermore, SPARK called for similar mobilizations on a nationwide scale in order to raise the calls for a better normal for education.
“The problems that plague the students and teachers of ADMU are not limited to ADMU alone. The scale of [President] Duterte and [CHEd Chairperson] de Vera’s neglect is national, then our response must be national as well,” Ligot explained.

He argued that the sheer scale and degree to which distance learning has been mishandled has only led to everyone getting left behind.
“If our demands remain unheeded, there will only be more drastic mobilizations, strikes, and full-scale class boycotts are in order,” he warned.

SPARK continues to advocate sweeping structural changes to the country’s education system along with policies such as greater social aid for students, teachers, and their families, and the nationalization of the telecommunications and power industries to ensure accessibility of education under the new normal.

SPARK says they plan to join the Bonifacio Day mobilizations on November 30 with labor unions, urban poor federations and vendors associations.###



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