17 October 2011

STRAW Coalition on The Manila Bulletin; Rep. Quisumbing signifies intention to co-author

Students' rights
by Charissa M. Luci
posted on the Manila Bulletin website on October 16, 2011, 2:20 p.m.

MANILA, Philippines -- Another House leader has rallied behind the bill which seeks to promote and safeguard the students’ welfare and rights.

Cebu Rep. Gabriel Luis R. Quisumbing, vice chairman of the House Committee on National Defense, has “signified his intention” to co-author House Bill 2190 or the Magna Carta of Students Rights Bill, which was refiled by Akbayan party-list Reps. Walden Bello and Arlene Bag-ao in the 15th Congress.

Last week, the Students’ Rights and Welfare (Straw) coalition got the signature of Deputy Speaker and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada for the co-authorship of the measure.

Quisumbing said that apart from recognizing and promoting students’ rights and freedom as enshrined in the Constitution, HB 2190 also seeks to regulate the tuition and other school fee increases, penalizes students’ rights violation, and strengthens the capacity and power of education agencies in ensuring that students’ rights and welfare are promoted.

“Although many schools recognize students’ rights and welfare, this bill will institutionalize the right to student represen-tation; the right to school publication and information; freedom of peaceful assembly and expression; and sundry rights guaranteeing benefits like student counseling and adequate school facilities,” he said.

During the 14th Congress, the consolidated Magna Carta of Students Rights Bill was filed by former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.

Quisumbing said once the bill is enacted into law, it will “ensure that all students will enjoy the right to due process and freedom from discrimination by reason of handicap, health condition, civil status, socio-economic status, political and religious belief, sexual orientation, or membership in student organizations.”

The House Committee on Higher and Technical Education of Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara earlier assured the passage of the STRAW bill will be given due consideration by the chamber.

Last October 5, Angara met with the representatives from the University of the Philippines Diliman, the Ateneo de Manila University, and the De La Salle University who belong to the coalition.

Angara said the measure will be tackled “sometime next year” after the committee had completed some pending matters including the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) bill, student loans, pending investigations on the quality of the Philippine higher education, among others.

* The same story written by the same author can also be found in Tempo, a sister publication of the Manila Bulletin.

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