By National Union of Students of the Philippines
October 4, 2018
QUEZON CITY – The Duterte administration resorts to troll-like comments in trying to invalidate the student movement. Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Albayalde had the audacity to call out free education beneficiaries who are vocal and protest on Oplan Tokhang, Oplan Kapayapaan, Martial Law in Mindanao, sky-rocketing prices of basic commodities caused by the detested TRAIN Law, and policies that caused suffering on the Filipino people.
State scholars owe their free education to the Filipino people and not to this arrogant government. Hence they are expected to stand with the oppressed majority who suffer from the policies of the state. We believe that real education should remove our blindness to the social realities around us. Education is meaningful only if we use it to advance the interest of the exploited and promote genuine social change.
Albayalde boasts of free education as if it was given out of Duterte's generosity, stealing the credit from the decades-long struggle of the youth for their right to education. It must be noted that the Duterte regime tries to take back free education from the youth through maneuvers like impending budget cuts, stricter admission and retention policies, and the continued privatization of the country’s education system.
To cripple activism among the youth, the regime exacerbates the attacks on students' democratic rights. No wonder Duterte, the military and police are trying to attack the freedom to express and organize in schools. The state advocates against critical thinking among students and teachers while it actively spreads fake news, fictitious plots, and other forms of disinformation.
Using the no-fee-collection policy to its advantage, the Duterte regime blocked student councils and publications from collecting funds from their fellow students, disabling their operations that ought to promote student interests. Also, the right to organize will be trampled upon by exaggerated monitoring and intelligence networks planted by the state within schools.
Duterte, AFP and PNP must be reminded that the allegiance of the Filipino youth is to the Filipino people, not to this mad tyrant Duterte. He should have learned from history that Filipinos do not tolerate dictators. We are honored to be tagged as enemies of the Duterte regime at the forefront of this struggle, no matter the gravity of the reactionary state’s efforts to put out the blazing resistance of the youth.