Student Leaders Urge Government to Uphold Juan’s Human Rights; Starting with Genuine Political Reforms

10 12 2008

In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, youth group, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, a broad network of Student Governments, will march with Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) and other multi-sectoral groups today, December 10, 2008 to pressure the government to implement crucial political reforms and as well as to denounce any moves to change the Philippine Charter before 2010.

The said mobilization will highlight the issues of the poor and the marginalized, particularly the landless farmers and the urban poor masses. The event is at the same time, a demonstration of the civil society’s discriminating view on the current efforts to amend the constitution.

“Our calls are quite simple, one, Congress has to pass CARP Extension with Reforms before they go on Christmas break on the 17th; and two, legislators should not force CHACHA before the next national polls,” quips SCAP National Secretary-General, Paula Bianca Lapuz.

“It seems that GMA allies in HoR are not wasting time in reviving moves to convene Congress as a Constituent Assembly. While we (SCAP) are busy encouraging “would-be” First Time Voters in 2010 to register starting this month, our legislators in the house are also busy gathering more signatures for CHACHA, with an open intent of extending GMA’s term beyond 2010. This is the height of unethical and trash politics,” adds Lapuz.

The Fight for Land Reform Continues…

“There are still hectares of undistributed land across the country to this date ever since CARP has expired last June, 2008. Farmers have been waging war against undaunted landlords over the past two decades. It’s about time that we, as a nation, recognize that this struggle is not just the farmers’ alone but ours as well, this is an issue of poverty alleviation and food security,” adds Lapuz.

Although, solons in June have adopted joint Resolution No. 21, with the Senate maintaining the land acquisition and distribution (LAD) component of the CARP until December 31, 1.1 million hectares still remain undistributed.

Thus, SCAP strongly supports calls to pass House Bill 4077 which seeks to extend CARP with significant reforms.

Amidst the present global financial crisis, we must secure our local economy and resources.

The Campaign Against CHACHA before 2010 starts all over again…

In a statement last 2007; the alliance said “We believe that the Government’s motivation for changing our current political system is to ensure the political survival of the beleaguered presidency of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo. Genuine pursuit of necessary and essential reforms in our political and electoral system could never take place under the present administration.”

“And we see no difference this year, we maintain our stance on GMA’s CHACHA,” says SCAP Vice-Chairperson for NCR and UP Manila Medicine Student Council President, Tina Langit.

“To push for Charter Change amidst the pressing political crisis is a suicidal step for GMA, the people simply won’t allow it,” Langit continues.

SCAP believes that the true measure of a matured and performing democracy lies in the capacity of the State to promote and uphold the basic rights of its citizens.

Hence, the Alliance reiterates that initiatives for genuine political reforms must come from groups, institutions and individuals which/who have the moral and political ascendancy to lead the process of Charter Change, otherwise this process might just be used to further curtail the civil and political rights of our people.

Widen Democratic Spaces for Political Participation

The group stressed the importance of the people’s direct participation in our democracy.

“We call on all our lawmakers to prioritize bills such as CARPER which would ascertain our farmers’ rights to till their own lands and to give precedence to other landmark bills which can further guarantee the fulfillment of the rights of ordinary Filipinos, such that they will be able to contribute to the simplest and most intricate aspects of nation building.” Langit concludes.

SCAP reckons that maximum political participation of vulnerable / marginalized sectors in a democracy can only be achieved through the peoples’ conscious practice of their basic human rights and the State’s sincere effort to ensure that these rights are fully enjoyed by its people.###




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