Student groups from the University of the East (UE) urged the government to focus on the procurement of coronavirus vaccination instead of red-tagging universities and students.
In a joint statement released by UE student councils, student organizations, political parties, and student publications, the students condemned the “baseless and irresponsible” red-tagging of UE students by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
The group said the “unceasing and simultaneous” attacks towards the students’ representation, progressive activities, and academic freedom are threats to the students’ democratic rights and safety.
This after NTF-ELCAC tagged 38 universities as alleged recruitment hotbeds of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
“We firmly believe this is a way of the government to swerve us from the real problems of the country, ranging from issues of social injustices, poverty, repression, abuse, inequality, and more. We call for the leaders of the nation to focus on pressing issues that significantly matter and should be resolved immediately,” the joint statement read.
The student body called on the government to instead focus on “pressing issues that significantly matter and should be resolved immediately” including the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, assurance of safe face-to-face classes, land-grabbing, abuses to work force, rising inflation rates, and the missing P15 billion funds of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
“We also uphold the resounding call to resist campus militarization and the continuous fight against the government’s aggression towards its people,” the statement also read.
Several other universities earlier decried their inclusion in the NTF-ELCAC’s list.