POLICE FORCES violently dispersed the protest mounted by students in front of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) on May 30. The group condemned the Supreme Court decision which favors CHEd Memo No. 20.
Daryl Babaydo, national president of the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines criticized CHEd Commissioner Prospero de Vera’s statement lauding the Supreme Court decision recognizing the constitutionality of CHEd Memo No. 20 which removes Filipino and Panitikan (Literature) from the college curriculum. Babaydo said that the approval of the said memo will only worsen the commercialized and colonial orientation of the educational system in the country.
Rep. Sarah Elago of Kabataan Partylist also criticized the hypocrisy of the Duterte administration. Aside from the memo, the regime is also railroading the enactment of the mandatory Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) in senior high school. “The two-facedness of the regime is detestable: it claims to promote “nationalism” through the implementation of mandatory ROTC but seeks the removal of the study of our language,” added Elago.
Meanwhile, various youth groups and teachers converged in Mendiola on June 3, coinciding with the opening of classes, to hold the US-Duterte regime accountable over the worsening state of education in the country.
“We condemn Duterte’s attacks not only on the youth’s right to education, but also on the attack on our identity, sovereignty and rights. The youth and people will again have to shoulder higher tuition and other school fees, and suffer from the continuing K-12 program and reforms such as mandatory ROTC and CHEd Memorandum No. 20,” said Raoul Manuel, national spokesperson of the National Union of Students of the Philippines.
“Through the attack on our language, the Duterte regime seeks to detach the Filipino youth from their rich history and real identity and kill critical consciousness,” said Kara Lenina Taggaoa of the League of Filipino Students.
The Kabataan Partylist called on the Filipino youth to resist the attacks on education and other democratic rights.
“We must give our all to defend the nation from the onslaught of tyranny. We must defend our national language and identity from erasure, our sovereignty from foreign intervention and market dominance, and our education from further commercialization and disenfranchisement. We continue to march and safeguard our rights and future!” ended Elago.