12 June 2013

MOVE UP: Renewing the Challenge

Kalayaan—an abstract word made concrete since the day this nation was freed from more than 300 years of Spanish colonial regime. Today, we celebrate not just the declaration of independence of the Philippines, but also the struggle for freedom where we saw countless of Filipino heroes sacrifice their lives to free the nation from the shackles of oppression and the bondage of dependence from colonial power. Today marks the 115th year of this historical event—a success of our collective struggle for freedom.

In line with the 115th anniversary celebration of Philippine Independence and as the 16th Congress starts this July, MOVE UP urges our legislators-elect to genuinely put the interests of the marginalized, oppressed, and powerless sectors of society in their utmost priority. We set upon them the challenge to:

  1. Reintroduce and refile the Freedom of Information bill. Putting FOI bill as a main legislative agenda in the 16th Congress is crucial in President Noynoy Aquino’s reform agenda and the national government’s initiative to eradicate graft and corruption. It ensures that the principles of transparency and accountability are upheld by giving the Filipino people access to public documents, especially those involving government expenditures. The immediate passage of the FOI bill will empower the Filipino public as stakeholders to the continuous struggle of reformation and the development of our nation.
  2. Join in the clamor to ensure the development of students’ rights and welfare. As the heroes of the Philippine Revolution valiantly fought for the future of our nation, they put great importance to the role of the youth as catalysts for social change. For a long time now, we are still firm with our stance that the immediate passage of the Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW) Bill is essential, because students are key components in nation-building. Securing a legislative measure that intends to protect their rights and welfare of the students is a step towards progressive social change. We, in MOVE UP, believe that the STRAW Bill can overhaul policies that are unconsulted, oppressive, and neocolonial such as the “no payment, no exam” policy, and the refusal to accept enrollment because of pregnancy and gender, to name a few.
  3. Promote a safe and clean political system free from the grip of political dynasties. More than three centuries of colonial rule saw the Philippines mired in corruption and greed for power by clerics and government officials. The Philippines has indeed become an archipelago largely controlled by political dynasties that look at elections as a family enterprise. According to the 1987 Constitution, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.” (Art. II. Sec. 26). We, in MOVE UP, believe that a legislative measure such an Anti Political Dynasty Law will ensure fair access to public office and a progressive leadership loyal not to their families’ interests but to the common good.

Ultimately, we, in MOVE UP, challenge our fellow Iskolars ng Bayan, Para sa Bayan to go beyond the borders of our university to fight for these advocacies. The fight goes far— beyond the campus, beyond the Congress, and beyond the streets. It is only by our collective action that our vision for a truly just, democratic, and progressive Philippines will be a reality. It is only through this that we may be able to ensure that the sacrifices of those who have come before us will not be in vain.

Hindi pa tapos ang laban para sa kalayaan. Only by living up to the challenge can we find and appreciate the true meaning of freedom.

Mabuhay ang kasarinlan ng Pilipinas! Mabuhay ang malayang Pilipino!    

[The Movement of Students for Progressive Leadership in the University of the Philippines (MOVE UP) of UP Los Baños is a partner organization of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI).]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...