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.