By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Kabataan partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago has filed a resolution seeking to uphold the institutional autonomy of student governments or councils and student publications.
She urged the House of Representatives to take a united stance and pass measures against the imminent threats to the existence of the student councils and publications.
“The Duterte regime has been hell-bent in quelling all forms of dissent, especially the growing student movement, in its attempt to further cement its tyranny over the people,” Elago said in filing House Resolution 2497.
She laments that student activists, student journalists and the critics of government continue to be subjected to the growing surveillance networks, political vilification and psychological harassment as the administration’s forms of suppressing organized dissent.
“There is a need for all student councils and publications to forge unities and collectively assert their democratic right to student representation and self-organization in pursuit of national liberation and true democracy,” Elago said.
She said despite the enactment of Republic Act 10931, otherwise known as Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, which made tertiary education free in several state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs), there are still structural barriers that continue to undermine the struggle for a genuinely free education.
“The said law has deemed student council fees and student publication fees as redundant, exorbitant, and dubious, contrary to the nature of the former fees where they are actually used for the holistic development of the students,” Elago said
“By defending these student-led institutions with the goal of paralyzing its operation, the regime weakens the youth’s tactical victory with the RA 10931, thus preventing the full realization of a national, scientific and mass-oriented education,” she said.