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“Kantahan sa Lansangan”: Thomasians organize benefit street gig for farmers

Progressive Thomasian students held a street performance event in commemoration of Peasant’s Month echoing the demand for better policies and the call to end the killing of farmers, Thursday, Oct. 17.

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Photo by Jacqueline Martinez/TomasinoWeb

Progressive Thomasian students held a street performance event in commemoration of Peasant’s Month echoing the demand for better policies and the call to end the killing of farmers, Thursday, Oct. 17.

The event “Kantahan sa Lansangan” was spearheaded by Anakbayan-UST to gather funds to aid farmers and be able to register the call by featuring spoken open mic performances and busking. 

Angelo del Rosario of Anakbayan-UST highlighted the benefit gig’s role in joining the plight of farmers in registering and asserting their rights. 

“Yung street gig na ito ay in support sa mga peasants natin. Gusto rin natin na makiisa sa laban ng mga magsasaka para sa mga iba’t-ibang karapatan nila […] at makakamtan natin sa pamamagitan ng tunay na reporma sa lupa,” del Rosario said. 

Peasant workers were also set to talk in the event to share their experiences which, however, did not push through due to heightened police presence in the area, citing safety and security concerns in line with the alleged spur of targeted killings of farmers.

Del Rosario also expressed his frustration in the surveillance of the local police in the area for the event: “Sobrang nakakafrustrate siya, kasi karapatan naman na mag-perform hindi lamang ipanawagan yung mga legitimate na calls ng mga magsasaka, [pati na] yung mga calls ng mga estudyante.”

He added: “Itong tinitiktikan tayo parang kumbaga ikino-consider tayong threat of security sa public. Well in fact, gusto kong sabihin na sila pa nga ang mas karapat-dapat bansagan bilang threat of security.”

Farmers burdened by rice tariffication law, militarization

Moreover, peasants’ rights group spokesperson lambasted the government’s policy of Rice Tariffication Law, saying that farmers’ rights, as the producers of the country, must be addressed by the government. 

Eddie Billolas, spokesperson of Katipunan ng Samahan ng Magsasaka – Timog Katagalugan, in an exclusive with TomasinoWeb, said: “Ang magsasaka ay tagapaglikha ng pagkain ‘yan. [Na] pakainin ang sambayanang Pilipino na walang bahid ng paglabag sa karapatan at dapat nga tugunan ang kanyang pangangailangan.” 

Billolas added that even though the law has already passed, farmers have no control on what they sell. He also implicated that the price of palay has deflated for as low as P9, making the local farmers suffer more in this current bill. 

A farmer from Mindoro, who had an exclusive interview with TomasinoWeb, stated that there is an ongoing militarization which targets the farmers and also the indigenous people specifically the Mangyan tribe. He decided to disclose his personal information for  safety reasons.

“Sa kasalukuyan ay marami ang militar sa amin at ang mga katutubo ay dinadaya at sinasaktan. Pumili rin [sila] ng mga lugar na malapit sa tinitirhan ng mga katutubo at binabantayan sila,” he said. 

Pertaining to the Rice Tariffication Law, he stated that he wishes the government would hear their plights and make an action towards the dreadful situation of the local farmers. “Ang panawagan namin ay sana itaas manlang ang produksyon namin hinggil sa aming pinagkakakitaan tulad na lamang ng niyog, saging at kung ano pa,” he added. 

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‘Duterte regime falls deaf to people’s cries’ –CSC, LSCs

Central Student Council (CSC), along with the Local Student Councils (LSC), denounced President Duterte’s lack of COVID-19 response roadmap in his fifth and penultimate State of the Nation Address yesterday, July 27. 

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Carmina Beatriz Dizon/TomasinoWeb

Central Student Council (CSC), along with the Local Student Councils (LSC), denounced President Duterte’s lack of COVID-19 response roadmap in his fifth and penultimate State of the Nation Address yesterday, July 27. 

“As we reflect upon the state of our nation, so stands our responsibility to address incompetence, the lack of national response from the administration in implementing the need for mass testing and systematic protocols in containing the virus, and its blatant value for militarization over medical solutions,” CSC’s said in a unity statement released yesterday. 

The councils demanded accountability from public officials such as Senator Kiko Pimentel, NCRPO chief Debold Sinas, and Malacañang spokesperson Harry Roque. 

They also called on lawmakers who created “rushed laws that impede fundamental humans rights and freedom of speech.”

‘This is not how democracy works’ 

As Thomasians, the council expressed that they “could no longer sit idly” and watch the government compromise and abuse the country’s freedom. 

“As President Duterte falls deaf towards the cries of his people, his self-serving and personal interests prevail,” CSC said. 

According to them, this is not how democracy works. 

“[I]t is our utmost responsibility that we use our voice to speak for the silenced and oppressed,” the council said. 

“[W]e will embody the resistance and furbish our strength until it extends to the majority of our fellow Filipinos, the true cradle of our sovereignty,” the council added. Paolo Alejandrino 

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Youth groups, student leaders file 14th plea vs anti-terror law

The University’s Central Student Council (CSC), along with different youth groups and student leaders, filed a petition that questions the unconstitutionality of the Anti-Terror Law (ATL) before the Supreme Court yesterday, July 23. 

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Carmina Beatriz Dizon/TomasinoWeb

The University’s Central Student Council (CSC), along with different youth groups and student leaders, filed a petition that questions the unconstitutionality of the Anti-Terror Law (ATL) before the Supreme Court yesterday, July 23. 

“Members of these organizations continue to experience red-tagging, harassment, and intimidation from security forces for actively engaging in protests and different forms of advocacy work and for speaking out on the current administration’s policies,” their statement read.

The petition was filed by Atty. Dino de Leon on behalf of 16 youth organizations “to protect their members and their fellow youth from the dangerous provisions of the Act.” 

CSC, which was represented by Arts and Letters student Therese Ifurung, was joined by De La Salle University Student Government, Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila, University of the Philippines – Diliman University Student Council, National Union of Students of the Philippines, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines.

Other youth-led and youth-serving organization co-petitioners were Kabataang Tagapagtanggol ng Karapatan, Youth for Human Rights and Democracy, Youth Act Now Against Tyranny, Millennials PH, Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan, Good Gov PH, Youth Strike 4 Climate Change Philippines, Liberal Youth of the Philippines, Aksyon Kabataan, La Salle Debate Society.

Earlier petitions were filed by a coalition of university law professors, human rights groups, labor unions, partylist blocs, constitutional framers Christian Monsod and Felicitas Arroyo, and retired justices Antonio Carpio and Conchita Carpio-Morales. 

Another petition is expected to be filed yesterday from the Bangsamoro sector, which is set to bring the total number of petitions to 15.

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Take part in SONA protest, student council presidents urge

University of Santo Tomas student leaders, along with different national organizations, urged the youth to participate in the nationwide protest for the incoming fifth State of the Nation Address of President Duterte on July 27.

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Screengrab from SONAgKAISAng Kabataan sa Paglaban press conference

University of Santo Tomas student leaders, along with different national organizations, urged the youth to participate in the nationwide protest for the incoming fifth State of the Nation Address of President Duterte on July 27. 

“It is imperative that we take a stand on the different social issues that our country is currently facing,” Artlets Student Council acting president Paolo Jericho Manuel said during a webinar today, June 20.

Manuel said that democracy, development, and justice are compromised right now due to the government’s incompetence and misplaced priorities, citing the 11,000 ABS-CBN workers who lost their jobs and the signing of the “vague” Anti-Terrorism Act into law. 

Manuel stressed that there is an urgent need for government action in addressing the problem with the accessibility of education.

Department of Education records showed that six million students from last year failed to enroll for the incoming academic year 2020-2021. 

‘Evil move’ 

Central Student Council president Robert Dominic Gonzales called on the youth to stay vigilant in this time of injustices. 

Gonzales said that the passing of the Anti-Terrorism Law is an “evil move” by the government to silence its critics. 

“We will still be haunted by the horrors that this administration has caused,” he said. 

Gonzales also lauded the sacrifice of the frontliners during the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraged the public to protect and support them. 

The webinar, “SONAgKAISAng Kabataan sa Paglaban,” was organized by the Youth Act Now Against Tyranny (YANAT). Raheema Velasco 

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