MANILA, Philippines — On Nov. 18, youth leaders announced a plan to perform a nationwide student walkout on Nov. 21, Thursday, to protest against the growing threat of repression for democratic rights and academic freedom of people.
This is their action with regards to a Senate report which suggested police visibility inside school campuses to restrain rebel groups recruit students to join their groups.
Senate committees on public order and dangerous drugs and national defense reported the bill after a series of public hearing made in response to the alleged recruitment of students by leftists.
“The deployment of police and military in universities is a big foolishness because the enemies of the state are not inside schools,” said at a press conference by Kara Lenina Taggaoa, spokesperson of League of Filipino Students (LFS).
“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 added.
Leaders from the League of College Councils, Anakbayan, Kabataan Partylist, and Student Christian Movement of the Philippines also backed up the nationwide walkout on Thursday.
“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,” the Senate report said while acknowledging the right to execute freedom of expression and academic freedom.
Seventeen senators already signed the committee report. However, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon says that he only placed his signature for the purpose of fulfilling submitting the report for consideration or plenary debate.