Youth group opposes move requiring Senate bets to have college degree
MANILA, Philippines — A youth group has opposed the suggestions to include a college degree in the requirements for senatorial candidates, claiming that “tertiary education still remains a privilege than a right for many students.”
Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) said in a statement on Thursday that while they agree that the quality of public service will improve if college education is a qualification, the current state shows that only a small percentage of Filipinos would be allowed to run, thus, disenfranchising the rest.
“Public service would really need a more systematic way of thinking–something college graduates would have practiced for years–if not mastered. Looking at the context of the Philippine society, tertiary education has always been a privilege, more than a universal right,” the group explained.
“It has become a social measurement of how much your family can take financially, as it would take another four years of expenses before you can actually find a ‘decent’ job, […] As of April 2017, only 23% of Filipinos have actually finished college — miles away from out total adult population,” they added.
During the last senatorial debates hosted by ABS-CBN, several candidates including opposition stalwarts were open to include having a college degree in the requirements.
Currently, the Section 3, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution states that senators should be a natural-born Filipino, at least 35 years old, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the country two years prior to the election.
According to SPARK, the proposal will foster an idea that only college graduates are capable of being elected — contrary to the constitutional provisions on the right to suffrage.
“It promotes a narrative that only college graduates are deserving of holding office Wherein fact, everyone has the right to elect and be elected by the populace. What is important is that those elected truly represents the poor majority and uncompromisingly advances their interests,” SPARK said.
“For as long as our educational system is far from perfect and partial to those with money to invest in education […] requiring public officials to be a college graduate is an elitist and privileged view,” the group noted.
They clarified though that they are against the practice of voting via name-recall, especially since celebrities and famous personalities who may have not finished college education are trying to occupy Senate seats every election season.
“But this does not mean that we allow the ‘artistahin’, the mestizos and mestizas to monopolize public office,” the group stressed.
“Besides massive reforms in the educational system to fully develop the peoples’ keen political sense and tools for critical thinking, we will also have to overhaul the entire electoral and political system in order for true representatives and champions of peoples interests trounce the Trapos and political dynasties,” they added. /jpv
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