As part of the WE ARE STUDENTS NOT CUSTOMERS – Global Week of Action people rallied in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, on November 19th.
Two coalitions called for the protest: Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition (Youths’ Voice Coalition) and Freedom from Debt Coalition.
Below you will find a joint statement from the organizers as well as more pictures of the demo.
This statement was released by the organizers of the rally:
November 19, 2014
OUR EDUCATION IS NOT FOR SALE
On this day of the Global Week of Action to Reclaim Education, we, the undersigned Filipino youth and non-youth, students and teachers, activists and workers, join the youth and peoples all over the globe for a loud and united call for emancipatory education for all. We are one with the International Student Movement and the youth movement across the world because wherever we come from and where we live in, we all face the same struggle – against the relinquishment by governments to private business of one its prime duties, that is, to provide quality education for all; against profit-driven interests and their hold on our education.
For the past decades, in the Philippines, and true as well in many countries, we are faced with budget cuts to public spending on education; with either closures or corporatisation of public school and universities; with the retreat of regulation by the state, thus, the climbing costs of living and tuition fees. These are all in line with the logic of the dominant economic system, the track of commercialization and privatization of all facets of public life, including education.
Since 1996, when the Delors Commission submitted its recommendations to UNESCO pegging its benchmark for public expenditure to education at 6% of Gross National Product (GNP), the Philippines has not breached 4% of its GNP even at the government’s highest spending, and has only invested in education and in the youth’s future, on the average, 2.2% of GNP for the past five years. It should not come as a surprise, therefore, that the right to quality education in this country effectively remains to be beyond the reach of millions of poor Filipinos, beyond the reach of around 6.24 million Filipino out-of-school youth.
Across the globe, we witness students, and their families, drowning in debt. Faced with these debts, supported by the individualistic notion of “investing in one’s own future”, students then are burdened to re-pay by selling their future labor. Our youth’s futures are mortgaged even before they graduate. For us, this is unacceptable.
Education is supposed to emancipate minds and people, not enslave them.
It is with this dream of emancipation for all, today, that we call on the peoples of the world to unite and to pressure their governments to unshackle education from the hold of profit and business.
We, in the Philippines, call for the increase to 6% of GNP of the annual budget for education, through the repeal of the automatic appropriation for debt service law and through progressive taxation to raise more revenues for education.
We stand with the all the youth and non-youth, students and teachers, activists and workers all around the world: OUR EDUCATION IS NOT FOR SALE!
Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition
also published on sigawngkabataan.wordpress.com