Robredo to NYC Chair: Do you want youth just to follow orders blindly?
MANILA, Philippines — Reacting to the proposal to strip students of their scholarships if they join anti-government protests, Vice President Leni Robredo asked government officials on Wednesday if they want the youth just to follow orders blindly.
Robredo’s question was aimed at National Youth Commission (NYC) chair Ronald Cardema who requested President Rodrigo Duterte to craft an executive order which would revoke the scholarship of students joining rallies.
“‘Yong gusto nating klaseng kabataang Pilipino iyong sunud-sunuran lang? ‘Yong gusto ba nating kabataang Pilipino, iyong hindi nabibigyan ng boses para ipahayag iyong kaniyang paniniwala?” she told reporters after a program in Cebu City on Wednesday.
(Do we want the Filipino youth just to follow orders blindy? Do we want young people not to have a voice to express their beliefs?)
“Tingin ko hindi ganoon iyong gusto natin, kasi ang gusto natin Pilipinong malayang nakakapagpahayag ng kaniyang pinapaniwalaan, Pilipinong hindi natatakot sabihin kung ano iyong kaniyang saloobin — at gobyernong handang makinig kahit hindi maganda iyong lahat niyang naririnig,” she added.
(I think that is not what we want. We want Filipinos to be able to express their beliefs, people who are not afraid to share their thoughts, and a government that is ready to listen.)
The Vice President also highlighted the role of young Filipinos in major decisions in the past that helped shape the country.
“Over the years, parang throughout the history of our republic, every time na may conflict, every time na mayroong upheaval, iyong nauunang maglakas ng loob, iyong mga kabataan. Nakita natin ito sa EDSA Revolution. Nakita natin ito during Martial Law. Nakita natin ito even before Martial Law,” Robredo explained.
(Over the years and throughout the history of our republic, every time there is conflict, every time there is upheaval, the first ones to express their beliefs are the young people. We’ve seen that during the EDSA Revolution. We’ve seen that during Martial Law. We’ve even seen that even before Martial Law.)
“Talagang mas naaasahan iyong mga kabataan na ipaglaban iyong kanilang — parang mas courageous iyong mga kabataan eh. Parang wala pang takot, wala pang takot na ipaalam kung ano iyong kanilang saloobin,” she noted.
(We can rely on the youth to fight for what they believe in, they are more courageous. They have no fear to express themselves.)
In a statement on Tuesday, Cardema asked Duterte to release an Executive Order removing the scholarship of students with alleged links to leftist groups — the Communist Party of the Philippines, New Peoples’ Army, and the National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
He also asked officials of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), the Reserved Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), and the Citizen Army Training (CAT) to report scholars who are supposed members of leftist groups.
“As Chairman of the National Youth Commission, I am requesting our Head of Government, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, to issue an Executive Order removing the government scholarships of all anti-government scholars,” Cardema said.
Robredo then asked whether the people should start being wary and fearful of the youth commission.
Earlier, several personalities including Otso Diretso senatorial candidates, Makabanyan senatorial bet Neri Colmenares, and Senator Francis Escudero denounced Cardema’s move.
Escudero called for Cardema’s resignation for bringing shame to the administration because of his ignorance of the constitution./ee
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.