The advocacy of students’ rights and welfare has been a longstanding struggle for the Philippine student movement. Given the lack of a clear and comprehensive national policy guaranteeing the realization of the full potential of students, numerous violations against the young Filipino scholars are still continually being committed even after the restoration of student liberty in the 1986 EDSA Revolution.
According to the documentation of reported cases from student government organizations, there has been an increasing case of violations against student rights and welfare across all universities and schools in the Philippines. In a certain private university, for example, students who are part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community are not allowed to form their own organization focused on the support for their cause. In many private schools, students who are discovered to be and pregnant and unmarried are immediately expelled. In our own University, we are still excluded from consultation when it comes to raising tuition and other fee increases.
These are just some of the violations against students’ rights, but clearly they extend to violations to our civil rights. As students and citizens that are supposed to be protected by the Constitution, we cannot let our liberties end upon stepping into the halls of our academic institutions. Beyond the struggle for a higher budget or better facilities, we have to recognize that quality education includes fostering a conducive environment where students are free to excel without the fear of discrimination or repression.
That is the very essence of the Students’ Rights and Welfare Bill. That is the very reason that House Bill No. 2190 must be passed: it ensures us that academic institutions are able to mold tomorrow’s Filipinos into citizens capable of true nation-building.
It should be in the interest of every student, therefore, to join the rest of the student movement in fighting for legislation aimed at guaranteeing our welfare. Specifically, it guarantees the students, their right (1) to admission, non-discrimination and quality education; (2) to organize and establish their own student councils and/or organizations; (3) to participate in policy-making processes; (4) to free expression and information; (5) to exercise their academic freedom; (6) to due process in disciplinary proceedings; (7) to privacy; and other rights such as their right against unreasonable searches and seizures; and (8) to be secured within school premises.
Thus, we, the 9th National Youth Parliament urge Philippine legislators for the immediate passage of HB 2190 Students’ Rights and Welfare Bill – a national legislation that would secure the democratic, civil and political liberties of the Filipino student.
House Bill 2190 or the Student’s Rights and Welfare Bill, sponsored by representatives Bag-ao and Bello as proposed in the 15th Congress, promotes, recognizes and protects the consolidation of student fundamental freedoms and rights in both public and private schools in all levels. The House Bill 2190, seek to secure the democratic rights for the students and provides an academically responsive development of the Filipino youth’s education.
The passage of the said bill, would be a spring board to halt social injustice and inequality towards the youth in creating a healthy and nurturing academic community.
We call on every Filipino student, teacher, parent and every Youth Organization all over the Philippines to join us in making this ideal a reality. The fight for students’ rights and welfare is also your fight.
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STRAW Coalition - http://strawcoalition.blogspot.com/p/our-call.html
STRAW Desk - www.strawdesk.com
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