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REAFFIRMING THE STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRATIC ACCESS TO EDUCATION

On April 24, 2013, we remember Kristel Tejada on the 40th day since she passed away. We again request everyone to be united in prayer as we remember a fellow Iskolar ng Bayan who reminded us of our duty in asserting for our right to education and translating such into critical participation. As members of the university student council, we have not forgotten our responsibility to serve the students and to represent and uphold their interests and rights. Together with the UP Manila community, we remain firm in our stand that education is a right. Financial status should never dictate ones capacity to study, especially in a state university where treatment of education as a commodity runs counter to its ideals in catering to the marginalized and underserved. Student rights are yet to be safeguarded. While the UP Manila administration has announced the temporary lifting of the No Late Payment policy, we challenge the Board of Regents to deliver immediate action. Currently, no resolution has been agreed upon by the highest policy making body in the university which calls for the mandatory relaxation of payment deadlines and directly safeguards students against economic discrimination. There has been a general sentiment within the whole UP community regarding the essence of democratic access to education, yet institutions which have the power to concretize it have been deferring responses to urgent issues. More than interim solutions such as strengthening student loans, intensify scholarship grants, proper channeling of student trust fund, only a sufficient state subsidy that will cater to the genuine needs of the university and its community will be able to put finality on issues of education accessibility. While the role of making auxiliary means might seem practical and more achievable to most, continuous dependence on these band-aid solutions are unsustainable and unacceptable. This is not an isolated case. It is a systemic crisis. UP is not the sole university to experience problems rooted in decreasing state support and abandonment. As such, we challenge the Aquino government to prioritize education in all levels as emphasized by the Philippine Constitution . We call for proper budget allocation in all state universities and colleges, free from any conditionalities. We condemn government attempts to privatize and commercialize the fundamental right to education; thus, we call for the comprehensive review of schemes such as the STFAP wherein the burden is passed on to its stakeholders. Such schemes make education inaccessible to the Filipino youth and therefore should be questioned and challenged. This is a call to the UP Manila community to be continuously united in fighting for our rights as students. We recognize that in fighting for the rights of the Iskolars ng Bayan, we honor the victims of this unjust system. Now more than ever, we need to be steadfast in asserting for our right to education, democratic decision making, and proper student consultation. As we call for justice, we, as one UP Manila, we reaffirm our commitment in ensuring that such tragedy will never happen again.

EDUCATION IS A RIGHT, EDUCATION FOR ALL! FIGHT FOR SUFFICIENT STATE SUBSIDY!

UP Manila University Student Council AY 2013- 2014