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.