16 December 2010

Rights group tags PLPasay as anti-student

A rights group hit Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasay (PLPasay) yesterday as “anti-student”.

Coalition for Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW Coalition), a nationwide coalition of progressive youth groups that documents abuses on students’ rights, held a picket-rally in front of the said local college to denounce the “unjust removal” of student council president Regina Mae Alog.

Alog was reportedly removed from office by the Dean for Student Affairs Marcos Geronga.  Alog filed a complaint against the board of the said school at the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City.  In addition, she also filed an appeal for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to reinstate her as member of the Board of Regents.

The STRAW Coalition backed Alog in calling for a TRO.  Gibby Gorres, co-convenor of the said Coalition, urged the importance of “protecting Alog’s right as an elected student-official”.

Gorres also denounced Geronga’s “fascist decision to relieve Alog of her position without due process”.

“It is within any one’s right to be accorded due process and Geronga violated this right,” quipped Gorres.

Gio Tingson, law student from Ateneo de Manila University and National Chairperson of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, called for CHED to intervene in the issue.

“CHED is mandated to intervene in this issue and to take a more proactive stance in upholding students’ rights and welfare,” Tingson said.

Tingson also called for the passage of the Students’ Rights and Welfare Bill now pending in Congress.  “The passage of the bill that protects students’ rights and welfare is long overdue”, he concluded.  

02 October 2010

Central Echo (Central Philippine University): 'Hontiveros-Baraquel lectures on STRAW Bill'

by Reyshimar C. Arguelles 
[From Central Echo, the official publication of the Central Philippine University, Iloilo.]

Photo courtesy of Central Echo, CPU, Iloilo.
Former Akbayan representative Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros-Baraquel gave a lecture about the Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW) Bill last July 30 at the Alumni Promenade Concert Park.

The lecture-forum, organized by the Central Philippine University Republic (CPUR) in partnership with Akbayan Youth, the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP), Task Force Pride Philippines, Alpha Sigma Rho-University of Iloilo Chapter and the Cultural Affairs Office, was aimed at informing students of the importance of the said bill in assuring and protecting their rights and welfare.

A former congresswoman of Akbayan Citizen’s Action Party who ran as senator under the slate of the Liberal Party during the 2010 National Elections, Hontiveros-Baraquel discussed the bill, its origins and components.

The Magna Carta of Students Rights Bill, authored by Hontiveros-Baraquel and Representatives Edcel Lagman and Rufus Rodriguez, was a consolidated bill filed in the 14th Congress. Since the 14th Congress ended its term last May it will be refiled in its original form, the STRAW Bill, through Akbayan Partylist Representatives Walden Bello and Arlene Bag-ao in the 15th Congress.

The bill, as the Grand Charter for the fundamental freedoms of students, if passed into law in the 15th Congress will guarantee and protect the rights of students from further exploitation and discrimination by their schools, provide them with relevant quality education and penalize actions that violate these rights.

After the lecture, an open forum was held.

With her entourage, she then proceeded to the Administration Building Conference Room to meet with CPUR officials and to answer final questions with the campus press before leaving.

Hontiveros-Baraquel, a staunch oppositionist during the Arroyo administration, visited Iloilo to give lectures about the bill and ask support for its enactment.

A single mother to four children, Hontiveros-Baraquel is a former journalist who was awarded the Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) Golden Dove Award as best female newscaster in 1994 and received an award as one of the Most Outstanding Young Men for peace advocacy in 2001.

The author of more than 80 bills and resolutions, Hontiveros-Baraquel is currently working as a full-time member of Akbayan after not making it to the top 12 in the senatorial race and will continue to advocate peace and human rights.

03 September 2010

"Uphold STRAW!" - UP ALYANSA, BUKLOD CSSP, and Akbayan Youth

UP ALYANSA, with BUKLOD CSSP and Akbayan Youth, successfully concluded the UPHOLD STRAW Forum at Palma Hall Room 207 on September 3, 2010. Former Rep. Risa Hontiveros of AKBAYAN Partylist was the event's main speaker. Cheanne Matriz, member of the Akbayan Youth NCR National Council, delivered a national situationer on the state of students' rights and welfare. 

This well-attended forum discussed the advocacy for a Students' Rights and Welfare Bill to be passed in Congress. House Bill 2190 (An Act Providing for a National Policy on Students' Rights and Welfare) is authored by Rep. Walden Bello and co-authored by Rep. Kaka Bag-ao of Akbayan.

In line with this advocacy, UP ALYANSA is part of the Coalition for Students' Rights and Welfare, a broad alliance which includes the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) and the Movement for the Advancement of Student Power (MASP).

11 April 2010

Group hits UI PEN’s anti-atudent policy; Calls for dialogue

Nearing enrollment for the second semester of the academic year, a youth group denounces what they deem as unfair practice of the University of Iloilo management.

The private university recently released a memo which gave an automatic incomplete grade to all students who have failed to settle their accounts.  The memo was released by the school administration managed by the Phinma Education Network, a private business firm.

Taken into effect, the memo adds extra fees for students in paying 150 pesos per subject for the reprocessing of their grades.  An average student takes 7 subjects per semester.

The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) criticized UI management for its capitalist approach towards education.

“This policy is clearly anti-student borne out of a capitalist venture within a welfare service”, remarks Joey Limson, Iloilo coordinator of SCAP.  “Education is a welfare service and business interests should be relegated under the public interest”.

SCAP’s sister organization within UI, the Political Science Society, called for a dialogue between the students and the school management.

The UI-based organization is launching a signature campaign calling for a suspension of the memo.  The organization also calls for CHED to intervene in order to protect students’ rights.

Kaiser Cordero, a member of the Political Science Society, reported that the memo was never circulated well among the studentry and thus caught the students by surprise.

“Our teachers can’t encode our grades because they had the system blocked”, added Cordero.

The organization’s president Karl Smith dela Peña in a Facebook post said, “the teaching pedagogy has changed drastically! It’s very obvious that the UI PEN is no longer observing the philosophy of student-teacher relation”.

“The inconvenient truth is that it’s already capitalist-clientele relation”, added dela Peña. 
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