We hail the signing into law by President Duterte of the Universal Access to Quality Education Act. This is a historic victory in our fight for the people’s right to education.
We commend and thank President Duterte for siding with the people on this issue and repudiating the advice of his elitist economic manager, who made it clear that they wanted a presidential veto. This is concrete proof that change can only come by rejecting the neoliberal dogma of DBM Sec. Diokno and his ilk in favor of policies that prioritize people’s rights above over the free market.
Malacañang and Congress must now work together to ensure that the free tertiary education law is sufficiently funded. Since the House deliberation on the 2018 national budget is still in its preliminary stage, we call on the Executive, through the DBM, to submit a revised budget that provides for the initial implementation of the new law.
We urge the people to remain vigilant and continue to mobilize to ensure that the gains made possible through this law will be realized and preserved. Surely, the neoliberal spoilers in the Cabinet will take every opportunity to roll back what we have gained today. Tuloy ang laban para sa libre, makabayan, siyentipiko, at pangmasang edukasyon!
It’s an appalling prospect but not unexpected, especially since the recent Supreme Court ruling has enabled the virtually unfettered exercise of the President’s martial law power.
It’s becoming more evident that the Marawi crisis was merely the pretext, but the Duterte regime’s plan all along is to place all of Mindanao under permanent martial rule. Pres. Duterte and his allies are keen to implement big infrastructure and agribusiness investments Mindanao, funded mainly by China, that will face opposition from poor farmers, lumad, and Moro who will inevitably face displacement and exclusion. His administration is turning towards more repressive tools, such as martial law, in the hope of suppressing the resistance of the poor and marginalized so that these big ticket projects will push through.
However, the Duterte administration seems to be ignoring the lesson of history, that martial law will not bring peace but only further violence to the people of Mindanao.###