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Monday, July 7, 2008

‘Enough is enough,’ youth groups say vs oil price hikes

Walkout, signature campaign held

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 13:53:00 07/07/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- Youth groups are up in arms against the continued increase in oil prices, alleged absence of educational reforms, and “the farce of a democracy,” launching a signature campaign and walking out of their classes to urge the government to take immediate action.

Students and members of the group College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) stepped out of their classrooms at University of the Philippines-Diliman (UP-Diliman) on Monday to express “outrage over unending and unjust price increases” and other issues for “social significance,” said president Vijae Alquisola.

The People’s Caravan for Truth, Justice and Change launched “Isang Milyong Lagda, Isang Protesta” (One Million Signatures, One Protest) at the Adamson University in Manila to urge the government to scrap the value added tax on oil and to junk the oil deregulation law.

“We are urging the government to immediately junk its deregulation policy and scrap its 12% value added taxation on oil and petroleum products to be able to somehow lessen fuel prices,” said Mark Louie Aquino, convenor of People’s Caravan.

Alquisola said the administration was accountable for its “continuous extravagance amid scarcity and national disasters,” and its “false promises of education reforms.”

“We are walking out of this farce of a democracy,” he added.

Alquisola said the walkout was to call for “meaningful social change.”

“Seven years of deceit, corruption, tyranny and social injustice has weighed its toll on the youth and the people. Enough is enough,” he said.

Meanwhile, People’s Caravan’s Aquino said the group’s one million signature target would “provide a concrete expression of the broad and urgent sentiment of the people against the worsening hunger and poverty state in the country.”

The group is expected to go around different communities, including villages, workplaces, churches, markets, and public transport terminals to gather one million signatures.

Key areas where the group would be visiting include Manila, Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Quezon City, and Pasig City.

“We are challenging the millions of discontented Filipinos to be with us and affix their signatures to express their solidarity and protest against this burning issue of our time,” Aquino said.

Friday, July 4, 2008

I am change, are you?

By Harvey Keh
Team RP

LAST March, I was invited as commencement speaker of the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) in Zamboanga City, one of the biggest state universities in the Philippines. During my brief stay, I was able to sit down and talk with some student leaders. I started our discussion with a question. “Who among you here still believes and supports President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” I asked. About a third of them raised their hands. “Who among you here wants the President to resign and step down,” I continued. About half of them raised their hands. I pressed on and asked again, “Who among you here is still undecided?” still some few raised their hands. But when I asked, “Who among you here wants change and reforms in our country and government?” All of them raised their hands.

When I got back to Manila, I held the same discussion with some student leaders from Miriam College in Quezon City and I got a similar response. What am I trying to say?

1. Yes, our country is divided on how we view President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. You have on one side, a group supporting Arroyo despite all the anomalies, allegations of corruption and scandals that have rocked her administration, while on the other, you have groups and highly-influential leaders which have called for her immediate resignation and ouster from power.

2. However, it seems that judging from my experiences in dealing with these student leaders, the people I talk to and the e-mail I get from Filipinos here and abroad, we all want to see positive and lasting change and reforms happen.

That is why I think that if we want to help in bringing our nation together towards a common vision to move our country forward, this unity should not be based on certain personalities like President Arroyo or other politicians. Rather, we need to work together towards building, strengthening and transforming our democratic institutions; that would make them more responsive to the needs of the poor and the powerless in our communities.

Isn’t it sad that we are now facing a food crisis when we were once one of the world’s top agricultural countries? This could be an indirect effect of the one-billion-peso fertilizer scam that was allegedly used to fund President Arroyo’s election. If it was used properly and for the right purpose, then we might not be facing this crisis now or if we do, the effect wouldn’t be as worse.

We at Team RP believe that a fight for change and reforms continues regardless of who becomes the president, vice president, senators, congressmen, etc. We are doing this because we believe that many of our government leaders have failed us and that its time for all of us to take control of our own future and work together for that genuine and lasting change that we all want to see in our country.

Let’s quit making excuses, being inactive, hopeless, indifferent and whiny; these all amount to nothing if we ourselves don’t participate in proactive solutions. 2010 is a big deal for all of us. We will vote for the Philippines’ next top leader in less than two years. Our decision on who will lead us to progress and prosperity is a very important one that could potentially change the course of the country’s future.

Change is now. Hope lies not in our country’s leaders and those in power but in every Filipino. Change does not happen overnight, but when we work together, it can happen in 22 months.

IamChange2010 is a joint project of the Ateneo de Manila School of Government and Team RP. It aims to get the young Filipinos to register and vote in the coming 2010 Presidential elections and educate them on various issues concerning elections. For inquiries, you may also contact Kai at +63 2 4265657.

posted by: aleta

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Student governments urge abolition of ‘non-performing’ SK

By Vincent Cabreza
Last updated 08:10pm (Mla time) 09/05/2007

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines -- The country's student governments want the abolition of the "non-performing" Sangguniang Kabataan (SK or youth councils), now that Congress has begun deliberations on the fate of the barangay (village) and SK elections scheduled next month.

In a September 5 manifesto issued on Tuesday at the close of the National Leadership Training for Student Government Officers at Teachers Camp here, the student leaders said they would launch a letter-writing campaign to draw attention to their appeal.

Joey Pelaez, executive director of the Department of Education's (DepEd) Center for Students and Co-Curricular Affairs, said government must ensure that all youth go to school, a mandatory state service SK officers discard in exchange for salaries and perks offered by weekly city, municipal and provincial council sessions.

Benralph Yu, president of the Region XI Federation of Student Governments, said they do not want the October elections to push through at all to enable government to reallocate the money meant for the polls to augment the budget for public education.

This was not the first appeal for SK abolition, the students said. But their teachers said this was the first position on the SK coming from DepEd.

Yu said student councils are better equipped to represent the country's youth than the SK, a carryover from the Kabataang Barangay (KB or village youth) of the martial law period.

Student leaders said the student councils could begin community work to make up for the vacuum created by the SK’s abolition.

The manifesto, signed by 6,000 high school students and teachers, said the SK elections have "initiated our young early into the ways of traditional politics because of the dirty tricks, vote-buying, kidnap-for-votes or kidnap-not-vote tactics and mudslinging employed by their relatives and parents, who are themselves politicians, and their political patrons."

But Yu said the student governments have not compiled evidence to prove that the SK has become corrupt.

"The SK has lost the bases of its existence with its miserable performance or non-performance to pursue its mandate for 15 years to develop the youth for service, patriotism and leadership, increase their social consciousness and enhance their participation in nation-building," the manifesto said.

"The programs and projects being implemented by the SK are too insignificant if not utterly irrelevant, consisting mostly of construction of waiting sheds and signposts that conspicuously bear and perpetuate the SK officials' names, and wasting precious resources that could have funded more important and urgent concerns such as public education."

Posted by: aleta

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

MDG Music Video (Tayo Tayo Rin)

Whatever advocacy issues and concerns SIKAP may focus on in its future endeavors, having the MDGs (Millenium Development Goals) as its framework will prove to be very beneficial. As such, I am posting here the Music Video of the MDG song performed by well-known Filipino artists.

Enjoy the video. =)

posted by aleta

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bohol's New Face

Hey guys, just thought this article might still be relevant somehow...

Bohol's New Face
culled from the Philippine Daily Inquirer

After handily hurdling the bar exams last year, Adam Jala, 27, is set for another challenge—running for representative of the 3rd District of Bohol under Lakas-CMD.

Although he is the son of the incumbent representative, he is not exempted from having to court votes. He goes around all 49 towns of his district, talking to local leaders and speaking in rallies. He breaks out into a smile while recalling his very first public speaking engagement, where he had to speak to hundreds of people in straight Visayan dialect.

Why run as representative when he could start with, say, councilor? Adam readily answers, “The task of a representative is very unique. He is elected only locally, yet he is tasked to create laws for the country. This is a position that needs both local and national perspective.”

His law degree from Ateneo de Manila University, as well as his familiarity with the problems of his district, would also come in handy. He says that he would rather run for office while still young, as he believes that his youth is an advantage.

“Youth means idealism. The intention for joining public service is pure and untainted, and service is the utmost goal. The drive is public service, not politics.”

He brushes aside criticisms that since he is young, he is inexperienced and irresponsible. If younger candidates start to doubt their own capabilities, he argues, this would create a culture of apathy among the youth.

Read the rest of the article here.

Posted by: aleta

Saturday, April 7, 2007

SC chief to youth: Exercise your right to vote

Mga ka-SIKAP, huwag kalimutang bumoto !!!
Posted April 06, 2007 12:53:00(Mla Time)Tetch Torres

MANILA, Philippines -- Chief Justice Reynato Puno is urging the youth to exercise their right to vote in the May 14 elections.

In his speech during the 92nd Commencement Exercises of the University of Manila, Puno said the youth play a very important role in shaping the country's future."With over a third of the electorate, your generation is in a position to determine the destiny of our country in the next few years, and this is not something you should take lightly,” Puno said.

"This May, we will be called upon to exercise this sacred duty, to elect those who will govern us and make our laws. In this exercise, let us not blame corrupt and incompetent officials should they win at the polls and run our country into the ground, for they are not the enemy -- apathy is our enemy. For unworthy candidates will prevail only when principled voters do not vote," he said.

“Who you put in City Hall, Congress, or the Senate will determine how much taxes you pay, where your taxes will go, and whether some of the rights you enjoy today will no longer be yours tomorrow," he added.

The chief justice noted that of the 49.2 million people of voting age in the Philippines, over 18 million, or at least 36 percent, are between the ages of 18 and 29."Let us remember that at the polls, rich or poor, strong or weak, educated or illiterate, young or old are all equals; we don't have but one vote, and it would be the height of irresponsibility in a democracy to waste your opportunity to have your voices heard, and I make this call especially to the youth who can make a decisive difference on the outcome of the coming elections," Puno said.

"Use your education to not only to improve your lives and that of your family, but to make a difference in the lives of your countrymen," he added.

posted by: aleta

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Young People in an Obsolete Society

Today's column of Prof. Randy David, Public Lives, highlights the role of the youth in "nation-building". Sounds familiar? Yup, it is the fourth goal "SIKAP" stands for. It began with a seeming cynicism on today's culture during elections, the sorry state of the country and migration as a way out of this reality. However, Prof. Randy David optimistically kept the faith by stressing on the youth's vital role in effecting change.

To quote:

"It is to the young people in school that we must look for hope. Unlike their elders, they are not yet captives of the patron-client relationships that are at the center of our everyday life. They are not concerned with preserving privilege but with breaking its structure. xxx

But judging alone from the types of courses they choose (nursing being the most favored course today), we can see at once that their sights are also set on work abroad. They seem to have little time, if any, for the issues that pre-occupy the country. In many university forums where I have spoken, I have asked how many in the audience are registered voters. At most, only about 20 percent raise their hands. The rest seem dazed , unable to locate the place that politics might occupy in their lives. But they listen, and after a while they begin to ask questions.

Quite obviously, the initiative, the trigger, the jolt that will break the spell of depoliticization, has to come from somewhere else. Perhaps it has to come from the young professionals who have stayed, the ones currently occupying the bottom rungs of the shrinking middle class. They would have first-hand experience with all the habits of a dysfunctional society. Even if they may be set on leaving the country eventually, they cannot help but feel violated by the cyclical rule of the corrupt and the unfit. xxx"

His last paragraph was the clincher. This is "US"... guys and gals of SIKAP. I couldn't help but feel "alluded" to... This is what we are, this is what we are doing and intend to do in Congress,this is our niche, this is our brand. We are on the right track and we should keep moving forward, never looking back.

"Young professionals have a natural constituency in the youth who are in school. But they have to recover from the despair brought about by the failed expectations of the two Edsas. For them to unleash the energy of the young, they must summon the audacity to imagine and offer themselves as the ALTERNATIVE."

and we did... I just truly hope the voting public accept our "offer" ...

Conceive, Believe, Plan and Achieve!!! More power SIKAP!!!

(Click the title to read the full article of Prof. Randy David)

Posted by ka-SIKAP aleta =)

Monday, March 5, 2007

SIKAP conducts Voters Ed for Students

Photographer: SIKAP Field Operations Officer Totskie Mosende

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Young Muslim leaders to talk about peace in De Oro gathering

Written by Samira Gutoc / MindaNews
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 09 26 34

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews/27 Feb) -- Poor Muslim Mindanao has some wealth, its young professionals, which include opposition spokesperson and Harvard law graduate Adel Tamano. They are idealistic, passionate, political and hobnob with Manila’s elite, but distance themselves from traditional leaders and politicos.

Seeming frustrated by the never ending peace talks, these Muslim yuppies cannot wait for the fruits of the peace negotiations for development to begin.

Some have forsaken jobs in Manila's air-conditioned high-rise buildings and instead returned to their hometowns to make a difference.

Read more here.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Party-list wants AFP chief censured for endorsing Palparan

By Jerome Aning
Inquirer - Last updated 11:41pm (Mla time) 02/26/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Labor groups scored on Monday retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan's reported interest in running for a seat in the House of Representatives under the party-list system in the coming May elections.

The Partido ng Manggagawa, which occupies one seat in the House, also wanted Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff Hermogenes Esperon censured for practically endorsing Palparan's candidacy.

"Of course Esperon will make it appear that he is not campaigning for Palparan. But it is enough that Esperon says he hopes Palparan succeeds in the party-list elections for it to be interpreted by the chain of command as a virtual endorsement," PM vice chair Rivera explained.

Read more here.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

SIKAP International Marathoners 2007

SIKAP joined the 3rd International Philippine Marathon held today, 25 February 2007, at Fort Bonifacio, Makati City. The marathon, dubbed as Takbo para sa Pasig, was dedicated for the rehabilitation of the ailing Pasig River in Metro Manila.

This is SIKAP's second run in two weeks. Last week was with DZMM's Takbo para sa Kalikasan.

There's (sponsored by Pasig City Government) another Takbo para sa Pasig on March 18, 2007. Expect us to be there.

Some snapshots:

SIKAP Commissioner ZYMosende shows off his SIKAP Shirt after finishing the 5-kilometer run.

SIKAP Member Teresa (5K), SIKAP Commissioner ZYMosende (5K), and SIKAP Operations Officer Totskie (10K) on a souvenir pose after getting Takbo para sa Pasig shirts.

Commissioner ZYMosende with 42K 7th-placer.

Of course, SIKAP's Totskie with fellow 10K finisher Senator Pia Cayetano.

SIKAP runners with Jho-An Banayag , 42K Grand Champion (also a fellow Bisaya - a Davaoena) Female Division.

Related news here.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Filipinos in Singapore to test Internet voting

The Philippine Star 02/22/2007

SINGAPORE (AFP) – In a first for the Philippines' cumbersome electoral process, Filipinos working in Singapore can use the Internet to vote for their candidates in May mid-term elections, the service provider said.

Spanish technology firm Scytl said on its website that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Manila has awarded the firm a contract to conduct the Philippines' first online voting.

Filipinos in tech-savvy Singapore will be the first to try the system.

"The Comelec has awarded a contract to Scytl to carry out the first Internet election in the Philippines," the company said.

read more:

posted by: Mel Mags,SIKAP HQ

Friday, February 23, 2007

PPCRV faces tug-of-war with parties, bets over poll volunteers

The Philippine Star 02/22/2007

The Catholic Church's election watchdog, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), faces a major concern in its bid to ensure credible elections on May 14: an apparent tug-of-war with political parties and candidates in getting volunteers.

PPCRV chairwoman Henrietta De Villa admitted it was this "sort of competition" that prompted the group to start its recruitment of poll watchers as early as September last year: "At the end of the day, we are really competing with the (political) parties. I think they offer P5,000 to each volunteer, so how can we top that when some of our poll watchers even shouldered their own expenses in previous elections?"

read more:

posted by: Mel Mags, SIKAP HQ

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Sigaw ng Kabataang Pinoy (SIKAP) Executive Manager Rommel "MEL" Magalong was interviewed today, 22 February 2006, by DZRM 1278 on kabataan (youth) issues. Mel highlighted SIKAP's fourfold goals which center on youth empowerment and welfare.

Kabataan party list to campaign vs political turncoats

By Jeffrey M. Tupas
Mindanao Bureau - Last updated 05:31pm (Mla time) 02/14/2007

DAVAO CITY -- The Mindanao chapter of a youth party list will mount a campaign that will paint political butterflies as “total turnoffs.”

Karla Hyasmind Apat, vice president for Mindanao of the Kabataan (Youth) party list, said politicians "who are jumping fences do not emanate a good example in terms of holding on to a commitment."

"Politicians who shift from one fence to another only deserve the voters' second thoughts in the coming elections," Apat said.

Read more: