[Statement] Stand for Our Rights! Defend Academic Freedom! -Youth Unity Statement

#HumanRights #AcademicFreedom

Stand for our rights! Defend Academic Freedom!

Youth Unity Statement

Photo from Youth Network

In many parts of the world, youth and students are in the midst of fighting for their people’s rights by upholding justice, democracy, equality and fairness. In Thailand, students are at the forefront of the struggle to end the military junta and bring back democracy. In Hong Kong young people are protesting against the encroachment of the Chinese government in the autonomous region. Many young people were at the heart of recent Black Lives Matter protests as well as the famous Climate Strike that highlighted a push back against fossil fuels in a bid to halt a global climate emergency.

Here in the Philippines, we have a long history of the youth’s involvement in anti-colonialism, nation building, and fighting for our rights. Our national heroes, like Jose Rizal, Gat Andres Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini among others were at the prime of their youth during the Spanish
revolt.

During the Marcos dictatorship, the youth led the First Quarter Storm, a series of massive protest demonstrations from different universities all over the country. FQS protesters were calling for accountability for Marcos’s huge and unjust spending during the elections, growing debt from the IMF resulting in peso devaluation and severe inflation.

Decades passed, and our country still faces issues of repression and economic inequality. As we face the current crisis of this pandemic and the continuing tyrannical character of the Duterte administration, many have taken a stand including our sector. We have been vocal with our call for transparency and accountability in the government, a concrete response plan on the COVID-19 pandemic, opposition in the continuing attacks on academic freedom, and other societal concerns.

SAFE SPACES NOW!

The Filipino youth firmly believe that schools should remain a safe haven for the students and all members of the youth sector. Schools should serve as cradles to the young mind for excellence and heart for service of the students, not a venue for the police and the military to threaten, intimidate, and suppress the academic freedom of educational institutions in the country.

DEFEND ACADEMIC FREEDOM

Duterte’s authoritarian rule and repressive policies have no place in our schools!

We vehemently oppose all forms of curtailment of student’s rights and welfare such as the slew of red-tagging of students and other known critics, creating a list of red tagged schools, the unilateral abrogation of the UP-DND Accord,the threat to abrogate the PUP-DND Accord. All this serves to threaten and intimidate the youth for voicing out their legitimate concerns about the country and the well-being of its people. We likewise call all our school administrators to make a united stand and defend the grounds of our educational institutions to protect the rights and welfare of its students and to uphold the academic freedom of all schools, colleges, and universities in the country.

SCRAP TERROR LAW

On February 2, we will witness a significant event in our country with the oral arguments for the petition against the Anti Terror Law taking place after months of being delayed.

The Terror Law, which was hastily passed in the middle of a pandemic, only reflects the kind of priorities this government has — his authoritarian agenda above all else.

The Terror Law is not only a betrayal of our democracy; it is a betrayal of our history, a betrayal of our heroes and martyrs, and an insult to the legacy of the Katipunan. We are against anything or anyone that endangers the safety and well-being of the Filipino people.

Despite being composed of a majority appointed by the president, we place our faith in the wisdom of the Constitution and will hold the Justices of our Supreme Court accountable to act as impartial judges who will uphold and protect its integrity. We remind them that the people, especially the youth, are watching the proceeding closely.

Likewise, we call on our fellow young people and every concerned citizen to unite and support all efforts to junk the Terror Law at the Supreme Court. Let us remain vigilant and take care of each other during these trying times.

Hindi tayo titigil; may Pag-asa pa. #JunkTerrorLaw #UpholdTheConstitution

We The Future PH

Akbayan Youth

Youth for Nationalism and Democracy

Youth Resist

Student Council Alliance of the Philippines

Kaisa-Ka Youth

Teatrong Bayan

Laban PUP

UP Alyansa

UP Eduk SC

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