Cebu Students’ Unity Walk for Educational Rights
“’Estudyante, Makighiusa, Pakigbisugan atung Katungod,’ (Students, Unite, Fight for our Right!) No to Campus Repression! Scrap all other fees! No to Tuition Increase! Education is a Right!”
These were the shouts given out by a few yet brave young individuals during the International Students’ Day Unity Walk last November 17 at around 5:30 to 7:30 in the evening, from the Capitol grounds to the Fuente Osmena Circle.
The annual celebration of the International Students’ Day is to remember the Nazi occupation in Prague University in 1939 during World War II, wherein the attack of the Aleman soldiers at the said institution resulted to inhumane violence against the right of the students; nine lost their lives, hundreds were thrown out and imprisoned together with a number of teachers. Furthermore, it is to commemorate the victories and successes of the student sector movements all around the world by stopping tuition increases, such as in Cuba.
Among the participating schools were the University of San Carlos (USC), University of the Philippines (UP) – Cebu , Southwestern University (SWU), Asian College of Technology (ACT), Cebu Normal University (CNU), and youth organizations such as Anakbayan Cebu, College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Anonymous Philippines, Kabayan Partylist-Cebu, National Union Students of the Philippines (NUSP), and Youth ACT Now-Cebu.
The said attendees believe that even though many years have passed, the injustice that happened 75 years ago still remains. They were gathered on a mini-road intersection just across the Fuente Osmeña Circle, with their respective placards bearing the words “Stop Tuition Increase”, “Education for all”, “Re-channel Bork Barrel to Social Services” and others.
Some youth representatives such as Dyan Gumanaw (NUSP), Jan Lloyd (Student Christian Movement of the Phils.), Marc Cosep (CEGP), Ken Ecarma (VP, USC-SSC), France Digamo (President, NUSP) and Niño Olayvar (Anakbayan Cebu) vocalised their stance before the crowd. They all had similar points and concerns during their speeches which are, repressive educational system due to the “colonial” Foreign Bargain Basis; the need for truth and justice; the contribution of students for the betterment of society if they aspire for development and change; and educational budget deficiency and a must for tuition rollback.
They further elaborated what they believe as the different forms of student repressions saying “Nga kung kinsa ang mureklamo ihulga nga tangtangun sa ilang tunghaan; kinsa ang nakakakita sa kamatuuran, hulgahun sa ilang administrasyon” (That those who complain are threatened to be expulsed from the school; those who see the truth are threatened by the administration) in the various state and private universities, not just in Cebu, but in the whole country itself.
Jessa Basiga, a student from the University of San Carlos, said that she was supporting her co-students at that remarkable event due to her doubts about the “ghost lab fees” as to not knowing where the money goes. She even added that seeing corruption is not only within the school grounds but in the entire scope of the Philippines and that we are the ones bringing the future of our country. “Ganahan ko nga ang mga students dili lang sila magpakabuta-bungol, dapat aware sila kung unsa ang nahitabo sa suud og gawas sa eskwelahan”, she emphasized, as she is also hoping for the whole force of the Carolinian student body in conveying its concerns to the administration for a more immediate and effective response of the latter.
“Sabi nga ni Andres Bonifacio, itinuturo na ang katwiran ang tayo’y umasa sa ating sarili at huwag antayin sa iba ang ating kabuhayan, and we the Filipino Youth are the vanguards of the new generation…we must take actions,” were some of the powerful words delivered by Jan Lloyd of SCMP, which is a concise form of the message that those participants are holding to, in order to attain the justice that they’ve been longing for— the right for education.