BAGUIO CITY- “Nasaan ang tunay na pagbabago? Sino ang tunay niyang boss? Kanino natin hihingin ang pagbabago?” (Where is real change? Who is his real boss? To whom will we ask for change?) These were the questions raised by Tracy Anne Dumalo, Anakbayan Cordillera spokesperson, as progressive youth groups in the city held a program as a commemoration for the 25th anniversary of the People Power Movement or EDSA I and a protest for the continuous price hikes of basic commodities and tuition fee increases.
Youth groups lead by Anakbayan Cordillera, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) Baguio-Benguet, College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) Cordillera, League of Filipino Students (LFS) Baguio, Progressive Igorots for Social Action (PIGSA) and Kabataan Partylist Cordillera, held a whole day signature campaign to urge the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to regulate all tuition fee increases of all universities and as a campaign to stop all price hikes. The program was closed by commemorating the 25th anniversary of EDSA 1.
According to Dumalo, the youth have lost their trust in the current government because until now, ex-president, and now Pampanga District 2 Representative, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her cronies are not yet prosecuted but instead, are awarded with higher pork barrel and are protected. Further, the president’s promise “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” (If there’s no corruption, no poverty.) is an irony, because the current economic situation of the masses continue to worsen, Dumalo added. She also cited the decades long struggle of the farmers and land workers for proper land distribution in the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita Incorporated is still one of the big issues in agrarian reform. Noynoy Aquino is one of the stakeholders and is a member of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan.
Dumalo also reiterated that the said EDSA people power on 1986 is not a revolution and is not yet finished. There was no real revolution that happened since there is change in the system. She added a revolution would only happen if there is a fundamental change in the lives of the Filipino people.
“Two and a half decades have passed since the said movement but Filipino masses still face the same problems. A big portion of the population is still burdened by the high price of basic commodities and of unjust budget cuts on social services. The youth sector is deprived of a free and quality education due to the yearly increase on tuition and other fees. Clearly, the government does not cater to the needs of its constituents. They are serving foreign countries for their own interest in the sake of the welfare of their own constituents, the people who gave them power,” the youth leader said.
She ended her speech by challenging the current administration to immediately formulate long-term solutions to the nation’s problems and serving his real boss, the Filipino masses, and commended the youth of today who continue to struggle and fight for social justice and change. ###