20 February 2019
Right to education is universal, not a carrot on a stick– labor senate bet
Labor leader and senatorial aspirant Leody de Guzman slammed National Youth Commission (NYC) chair Ronald Cardema for asking President Rodrigo Duterte to revoke the scholarships given to students who join protests against government policies. He said the Cardenas’ recommendation is “outright callous, irresponsible, self-serving and unbecoming of the Comission he heads”.
De Guzman, chair of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino also pointed out to other critics of Cardema which includes Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and members of Otso Diretso slate that it is not only the right to free expression that the NYC chair infringed but also the universal right to education of the youth.
He said that Cardema seems to be ignorant of the mandate of the NYC and is weaponizing the commission by going after student critics of the administration. He pointed out that the NYC mandate encourages the active participation of the youth in both governmental and non-govermental programs.
De Guzman disclosed that Cardema’s real motive behind his attacks against progressive partylists is because his wife, Ducielle Marie Suarez-Cardema is the number one nominee of Duterte-Youth partylist.
“If Cardema seeks the youth’s active role in nation building, the first order of business is to educate them in order to develop a keen political sense and arm them with the tools for critical thinking,” said the labor bet under Partido Lakas ng Masa.
“By promoting the opposite, he is only galvanizing their belief that this administration is tyrannical and vengeful of critics,” he added.
The labor leader also took a swipe at a statement of Otso Diretso bet Pilo Hilbay who said that scholarships should be based on merit.
“I beg to disagree with those holding an elitist perspective on who should receive state subsidies. Everyone should be government scholar. The right to education is universal. Anybody who seeks an education should be automatically provided for and not be discriminated against.
De Guzman stressed that the right to education should never be compromised even under the most autocratic form of government. “The right to education must have precedence for the very reason that the constitution guarantees that education should be receive the highest allocation in the national budget”.
In a survey conducted in April 2017, only a mere 23% of Filipinos have actually finished college.
Also, the labor leader argued that government subsidies for education cannot be used as a carrot on a stick to induce their desired behavior and opinion of the youth on the administration.
“The scholars owe nothing to the president, Cardema or the senators who have claimed to have championed free education or any other social programs of the government. Those funds the government spends is borne out of the taxes automatically deducted from employees wages,” De Guzman clarified.
The labor leader called on the youth to stand with workers – the real benefactors of their education.###