22 January 2008

Students continue to campaign for student rights' and welfare

The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) spearheaded a series of student dialogues in different universities in the National Capital Region to increase awareness about the Student Rights and Welfare (STRAW) Bill.

“The bill which aims to uphold and protect the students’ rights and welfare, was filed last September 18, 2007, and we hope to get the support of the students,” said SCAP’s National Chairperson Mark Roy Boado.

Student councils and political parties in different universities in the National Capital Region (NCR) have conducted fora, round table discussions, and symposia to inform the students of the basic principles of the bill.

“We have already done discussions in De La Salle University Manila, San Juan de Letran University, University of the Philippines, and Rizal Technological University in Mandaluyong. We are aiming to invite the majority of schools nationwide to participate in this campaign,” Boado mentioned.

The struggle to pass the Magna Carta of Students has proven to be an arduous task. Hence, the STRAW Bill is another way to sustain the struggle.

“Right now, we are having a difficulty in raising the awareness and appreciation of the bill in Congress, since the priority of the House is the passage of the Cheaper Medicines Bill now that the budget deliberations are over. However, we will remain insistent on pushing for the bill,” asserts Tina Langit, SCAP NCR Vice Chairperson.

“What is genuinely unique about this bill is that it contains penalty clauses which the other versions of the Magna Carta of Students lack. Aside from that, the STRAW Bill is the only legislative effort of its kind which was created with the help of students themselves. We were very careful as well not to override existing laws which pertain to somehow similar provisions in the STRAW Bill like the Anti-Hazing Act,” Langit added.

The STRAW bill aims to encourage students to practice their rights conscientiously with due consideration and respect for the rights of the other stakeholders within the university. It will protect students from discrimination, harassment, and the curtailment of their rights.

The bill has been receiving a positive response as far as the student sector is concerned. Dialogues with school administrators are also being arranged by the alliance to ensure a participatory process in pursuit of the passage of the bill. 
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