St. Scholastica alumnae: Active social participation, not child abuse
A group of concerned alumnae of St. Scholastica’s College (SSC) in Manila has defended students, parents, and the school leadership from accusations of child abuse for joining protests against the clandestine burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).
In a letter signed by 1,000 Scholasticans, graduates of all-girls Catholic school, denied rumors that students were forced to protest “to advance a political agenda.” The false reports shared by Marcos supporters circulated online after SSC students held a noise barrage last Friday in protest of the former president’s secrecy-shrouded interment at the heroes’ cemetery.
Citing the right to free expression as guaranteed by the Constitution, the alumnae said students’ participation in the protest was not child abuse.
“We are greatly concerned over the proliferation of false reports that have triggered cyberbullying attacks against young Scholasticans. We urge netizens to be vigilant and cautious of this negative propaganda,” the letter read.
“We take serious exception to the accusation that the active social participation of children is a form of child abuse. Contrary to that claim, the Philippine Constitution ‘recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.’ The UN Convention on the Rights of Children also states that ‘children have the basic right to freedom of expression, which includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds,’” it added.
The group said those perpetrating attacks and online threats against the students are the ones committing child abuse and cyberbullying. “We have taken note of the identity of these individuals and are considering the best possible legal remedies to protect these children and their rights,” they said.
The SSC alumnae noted that Scholasticans had been “at the forefront of protest action” since the early 1980s, adding that their alma mater provides “a safe place for students to learn and understand social and political issues within and outside of the confines of the classroom.”
“The institution builds foundations of equity, inclusion, and social justice at a young age. It is a space where students can grow into critically aware, socially responsible, and self-fulfilled women of character and integrity,” they said. “We have faith that the younger Scholasticans will benefit from the holistic education that the school continues to provide. Generations of Scholasticans have made a firm stand to uphold social justice… It has kept its mission burning.”
“The school has taken a stand against many political issues and students have used their voice to support many causes: the displacement of indigenous peoples, the protection of the environment, and the rights of women and children, among others. It firmly believes in education for justice,” the statement added.
The group urged the public to respect the opinion of others and avoid “personal and unwarranted attacks.”
“We are proud graduates of our alma mater. We will fight to ensure that many more generations of Scholasticans can stand up for a just society—free from oppression, abuse, and discrimination… We all want the best for the younger generation. Thus, it is our shared duty as Filipinos to protect our nation’s children,” the alumnae said.
Marcos’ burial at the LNMB last Friday took the nation by surprise and sparked protests throughout the country. The burial, which saw full military honors including a 21-gun salute for the late dictator, came almost 30 years after he was ousted in the historic Edsa People Power Revolution. RAM
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