MORE IS TO BE DONE IN THE “DAANG MATUWID”: AN INTERACTION WITH THE PRESIDENT AQUINO’S STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS

23 07 2013

Yesterday, June 22, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III faced the Congress and gave his personal report to his boss regarding the achievements of his administration and what bills would he need in order to continue the march towards progressive reforms and what he argues for “inclusive economic growth.”

The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines acknowledges the vision of the Aquino Administration towards innovative service and transformative politics. This vision enabled the Philippines to march forward in terms of economic growth with a 7.8% increase of the GDP during the first quarter of 2013. Also, the Alliance acknowledges the Aquino Administration’s action towards battling corruption within the bureaucracy and of the other branches of government. We admire his stronger call, within the halls of Batasang Pambansa, for every Filipino to take part with the daang matuwid  and engage with the political transformation within the system.

It is disappointing, however, that the Administration did not mention anything about the youth sector and how would they engage them into progressive change as mandated by the 1987 Constitution which acknowledges the role of the youth sector towards nation-building.

Even with this fabric of achievements, there are more things to be done. The Alliance firmly believes that our economic progress should be inclusive, meaning that it will be felt by all sectors of society regardless of economic well-being. We challenge the Aquino Administration to implement progressive policies towards inclusive economic growth.

Another challenge would be the passing of progressive legislative reforms such as the People’s FOI Bill (using indirect initiative), National Land Use Bill, Anti-Discrimination Bill, the Students’ Rights and Welfare Bill and other progressive policies that can empower every sector within the society especially the youth.

This day marks the start of the midterm period of the Aquino Administration. The Alliance affirms its challenge to include the youth within the progressive agenda of the current administration. It is high time for the 16th Congress to also provide an avenue for the youth to participate within the halls of government.

Our government is not just a government of the few, we are within a political system of which every voice is acknowledged and heard towards social progress within the Philippines, therefore this the government of all people. This is what believe is democracy, a system of political engagement towards nation-building of all sectors including the youth.

The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, therefore, acknowledges the socio-political and economic progress that we are able to experience within the daang matuwid but we affirm that there is more to be done within the system for our democracy to work. ##





OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF ALYANSANG TAPAT SA LASALLISTA ON THE RH LAW

8 07 2013

Reproductive health care is a fundamental human right. As such, the full implementation of Republic Act 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (RH Law) is then necessary for the advancement of reproductive health care here in the Philippines. The RH Law is the national policy upholding reproductive health rights which includes universal access to family planning and reproductive health information and services, and age-appropriate adolescent reproductive health and sexuality education.

Alyansang TAPAT sa Lasallista believes in holding governments accountable for the well-being of its people and is one with the government in its efforts to eradicate discriminatory practices, laws and policies that infringe on human rights. The implementation of the RH Law will enable our government to meet its commitment to its citizens by providing the education and public healthcare services the people need to have better family planning and reproductive health.

The RH Bill was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate and approved by President Benigno S. Aquino III in December 2012, after having been stagnant in Congress for more than a decade. Last March, however, the Supreme Court issued a Status Quo Ante Order against the RH Law, whose constitutionality had been challenged before the court. The longer the RH Law is denied to the Filipino people, the longer our citizens will suffer maternal deaths and deaths caused by sexually transmitted diseases because of misinformation on matters regarding their reproductive health and the lack of accessible and quality reproductive health services available to the public. TAPAT calls upon the Supreme Court to sustain the constitutionality of the RH Law, given that the Law does not violate and, in fact, upholds the human rights of all persons.

#UpholdRHLaw!





BAGONG BENILDE PARTY OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON RH LAW

8 07 2013

Bagong Benilde Party is a socio-political organization in De La Salle- College of Saint Benilde which aims to establish social justice and student involvement via principled leadership towards the integration of CSB with our nation’s society. We fulfil our mission by empowering political consciousness and societal participation, emphasizing democratic governance, student involvement and social justice, and eradicating of all discrimination based on gender, sexuality, religion and ethnicity. The passing of RH bill last December 21, 2012 and became Republic Act 10354 also known as Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012. RH Law guarantees universal access to methods of contraception, fertility control, sexual education, and maternal care. Shortly after the implementation of the RH Law, the Supreme Court issued a status quo ante order which delays its implementation for 120 days. As a part of a greater society, Bagong Benilde Party exercises its freedom of expression and involvement in various issues that greatly concerns not just the students but all the Filipinos across the globe. Today, we make a stand: BBP supports the upholding of RH Law.

BBP sees and believes the importance of RH Law on the following aspects; First is to improve the quality of health services and its accessibility to everyone for this will give the Filipinos the chance to plan a family and to access contraceptives and proper medications if needed. Second, to provide sex education for the Filipino youth in order for them to gain awareness and further understand the consequences and responsibilities of being a parent. Lastly, promoting safe sex which will provide proper information regarding the use of contraceptives and most importantly to prevent the spread of diseases specifically HIV/AIDS.

The Party recognizes the importance of RH Law in enhancing the quality of life of the Filipinos. It is now time to take bigger steps towards progress. The Philippines is only at its first step towards the change that we are all waiting for. BBP, together with the people, looks forward to the proper execution and implementation of the RH Law in the future.

 

#UPHOLDRHLAW!

 

 





Our Continuing struggle: #UpholdRHLaw.

5 07 2013

The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines has been in solidarity with women’s groups and civil society groups towards the enactment of the Reproductive Health Law; that is, for advancement of informed choice, for women empowerment, for proactive reproductive healthcare, and for age-appropriate sex education. As the RH Law is now facing its final battle within the halls of the Supreme Court and oral arguments are now set to be prepared, the Alliance reaffirms its support for the Reproductive Health Law.

As stated in its declaration of policy, the act shall recognize and guarantee the right to sustainable development, to health – including reproductive health, and to education and information. In this context, it is clear that the RH Law adheres to the spirit of our constitution – protection and promotion of the principles of social justice and human rights.

To declare the RH law as unconstitutional is to deny the Filipino people the rights and privileges they have fervently fought for. Such denial is an insult to the number of civil society groups who, for the past decade, has fought for the act to be passed as a law in the halls of Congress; not to mention the countless women and mothers who have long been awaiting an enabling law to uphold their reproductive rights and promote social justice.

While it is true that it is within the powers of the Supreme Court to exercises judicial review, the Honorable Justices must also remember that there is a presumption of constitutionality in the passage of every law. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as the Executive, certified that the RH Law is compatible with the state policy to “protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them” (Art. II, Sec. 15. 1987 Constitution) and as furtherance to the human rights of every Filipino citizen.

The RH Law must immediately be implemented. We cannot continue to disregard the rising incidences of HIV-related cases in young people and unwanted teenage pregnancies. We cannot continue to let our mothers die due to supposed to be preventable circumstances. The delay in the implementation of the law puts our country’s women and youth in compromising conditions.  How long should we wait for these problems to be addressed? Not a second longer.

The Alliance, therefore, calls upon the Supreme Court to fulfill its mandante to decide on the constitutionality of the RH Law by rules and reason. We stand with millions of filipinos who are thirsting for progressive change. The RH law is a result of painstaking debates and struggles in Congress for 15 years. We will not stop now. We are ready to defend RH law and we will not let our banners down until the RH Law has been implemented.





CALLS FOR SK ABOLITION ARE ANTI-YOUTH – YOUTH GROUPS

4 07 2013
Several months before the barangay elections, student and youth groups are calling for reforms to be placed within the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), citing that “now would be the proper time for us to entertain the reforms needed”.
 
Youth groups Akbayan Youth (AY) and the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) cite that the SK is a fundamental mechanism for youth participation and calls for its abolition are “essentially anti-youth”.
 
AY National Spokesperson JC Tejano said that “the flaws within the SK as an institution can be remedied and thus should not be abolished”.
 
Fundamental Right
 
SCAP Chairperson Heart Dino comments that the right to participation of the youth is protected by the Youth in Nation Building Act and by several conventions by the United Nations.
 
Youth in Nation Building Act or Republic Act 8044 stipulates that the State “recognizes its responsibility to enable the youth to fulfill their vital role in nation-building”.
 
Dino mentions “that if the State recognizes this role of young people, then SK abolition is not the way to go”.
 
Reform, not Abolition
 
Seats for barangay and SK seats will be filled in a national election to be held in October this year. Calls for abolition of the SK have been forwarded recently by the Commission on Elections and by election lawyer Romulo Macalintal.
 
“We are aware of the criticisms against the SK but these can be resolved if only Congress takes the time to pass the bills addressing these”, says quips Tejano.
 
Tejano maintains that the abolition will further limit the participation of young people in governance. “If we are to produce new and vibrant leaders, we should not abolish institutions that seek to produce these”, he said.
 
Abolition is an emotional response
 
The National Anti-Poverty Commission Youth and Students’ (NAPC-YSS) Sectoral Representative Gibby Gorres also claims that the call for SK abolition is an “emotional response”.
 
“It is an “emotional response” from the Comelec and Atty. Macalintal. They are frustrated with the way the SK is going but this does not make their position right. We are frustrated with the way Congress and the barangay officials are functioning but it is illogical to push for their abolition”, says Gorres.
 
“Since the inception of the SK in the Local Government Code of 1990, no reforms have been introduced to the institution. And by no fault of the SK officials of this country but because Congress has no political will to reform the institution”, claims Gorres.
 
He also mentions that proposal for reforms have been in discussion since the 13th Congress but the legislators have sat on the issue. ###




CALLS FOR SK ABOLITION ARE ANTI-YOUTH – YOUTH GROUPS

4 07 2013
Several months before the barangay elections, student and youth groups are calling for reforms to be placed within the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), citing that “now would be the proper time for us to entertain the reforms needed”.
 
Youth groups Akbayan Youth (AY) and the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) cite that the SK is a fundamental mechanism for youth participation and calls for its abolition are “essentially anti-youth”.
 
AY National Spokesperson JC Tejano said that “the flaws within the SK as an institution can be remedied and thus should not be abolished”.
 
Fundamental Right
 
SCAP Chairperson Heart Dino comments that the right to participation of the youth is protected by the Youth in Nation Building Act and by several conventions by the United Nations.
 
Youth in Nation Building Act or Republic Act 8044 stipulates that the State “recognizes its responsibility to enable the youth to fulfill their vital role in nation-building”.
 
Dino mentions “that if the State recognizes this role of young people, then SK abolition is not the way to go”.
 
Reform, not Abolition
 
Seats for barangay and SK seats will be filled in a national election to be held in October this year. Calls for abolition of the SK have been forwarded recently by the Commission on Elections and by election lawyer Romulo Macalintal.
 
“We are aware of the criticisms against the SK but these can be resolved if only Congress takes the time to pass the bills addressing these”, says quips Tejano.
 
Tejano maintains that the abolition will further limit the participation of young people in governance. “If we are to produce new and vibrant leaders, we should not abolish institutions that seek to produce these”, he said.
 
Abolition is an emotional response
 
The National Anti-Poverty Commission Youth and Students’ (NAPC-YSS) Sectoral Representative Gibby Gorres also claims that the call for SK abolition is an “emotional response”.
 
“It is an “emotional response” from the Comelec and Atty. Macalintal. They are frustrated with the way the SK is going but this does not make their position right. We are frustrated with the way Congress and the barangay officials are functioning but it is illogical to push for their abolition”, says Gorres.
 
“Since the inception of the SK in the Local Government Code of 1990, no reforms have been introduced to the institution. And by no fault of the SK officials of this country but because Congress has no political will to reform the institution”, claims Gorres.
 
He also mentions that proposal for reforms have been in discussion since the 13th Congress but the legislators have sat on the issue. ###




Youth group urges 2013 senate bets to prioritize healthcare

29 01 2013

Youth group urges 2013 senate bets to prioritize healthcare

 

A youth group today urged senate bets for 2013 to prioritize healthcare in keeping with the momentum of health reforms in the country.

The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines [SCAP] made this statement in a senatorial forum for health and young people conducted at San Beda College-Alabang today, attended by Sen. Gringo Honasan of the United Nationalist Alliance, former Akbayan partylist representative Risa Hontiveros of the LP-led ticket and Ang Kapatiran’s JC delos Reyes.

 The forum was done in partnership with InterAksyon, News 5, Smart Telecommunications and The Forum for Family Planning and Development as part of the Now Trending: #YouthVote2013 series in campuses nationwide.

“With the passage of the Reproductive Health and Sin Tax Reform laws in the 15th Congress, we feel that the next set of legislators should have a similar if not more intense advocacy for healthcare”, says Kenneth Yrastorza of SCAP.

“Our series of events aims to forward young people’s issues and recommendations, mainstreaming the idea of platform-based elections”, he added.

Yrastorza, who is also the student council president of San Beda College-Alabang, also appealed to fellow young voters to discern well “beyond campaign promises and refer to the track record of those running for the midterm elections”. #








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