Youth groups plan nationwide school walkout on Nov. 21 vs attacks on campus freedoms, democratic rights
MANILA, Philippines — Youth leaders on Monday, Nov. 18, announced a plan to stage a nationwide walkout of students on Nov. 21 to protest what they said was the growing threat of repression of people’s democratic rights and academic freedoms.
The youth leaders made the move in response to a Senate report which recommended allowing police inside school campuses as a deterrent to the recruitment of students by leftist groups.
The bill was reported out by the Senate committees on public order and dangerous drugs and national defense following a series of public hearings on the alleged recruitment of youths in schools by rebel groups.
“The deployment of police and military in universities is a big foolishness because the enemies of the state are. not inside schools,” said Kara Lenina Taggaoa, spokesperson of League of Filipino Students (LFS), at a press conference.
“If there’s anyone who should be pursued by the military, they should go to the West Philippine Sea, Kaliwa Dam and Chico River,” said Taggaoa, speaking in Filipino. “The ones who should be hunted are ninja cops, drug lords and not the youth who are demanding a better future,” she said.
Leaders from the League of College Councils, Anakbayan, Kabataan Partylist, and Student Christian Movement of the Philippines also vowed support for the nationwide walkout.
The Senate report said while the committees recognized the right to freedom of expression and academic freedom, “the exercise of these rights should observe lawful limitations and should not, at any time, sacrifice the rights and interests of the youth who may end up as armed combatants of communist groups.”
A total of 17 senators signed the committee report, with Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon saying that he affixed his signature “only for the purpose of submitting the report for plenary debate or consideration.”/Edited by TSB
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