Students of the Ateneo de Manila University on Monday called for an academic strike, demanding accountability from the government for its “criminally neglectful” response in the wake of the recent typhoons and amid the Covid19 pandemic.
At least 500 students signed a manifesto that read: “We do not strike as a way to exempt ourselves from the academic life, for it is precisely to fight to return its value. While this is a movement for the students, it is our hope that other communities heed our call.
“As we fight for our right to an academic life, we invite all those who want to see it flourish again to join us. We invite our fellow youth nationwide. Together, in our collective action we strike not just for our education, but a country we can be proud of.”
The manifesto included a list of minimum and maximum demands that the government must meet. The minimum included, among others: a nationwide academic break which includes an extension of deadlines and a “no-fail” policy; an end to the “no work, no pay” scheme on a national scale; and greater access to electricity and internet nationwide.
Their maximum demands included but were not limited to: free mass testing for all Filipinos; a clear, “medically-informed” pandemic response; and a clear Covdi19 vaccine strategy.
Moreover, the students called for the government to declare a “climate emergency”, which caused the onslaught of fiercer natural disasters.
Until such time as demands are met, students pledged participation in collective action such as strikes, which started last Wednesday and rallies beginning on November 30, Andres Bonifacio Day.
After beginning their non-submission strike last November 18, the Ateneo administration released a statement two days later, saying that the University did not “in any way” approve their protest. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque warned Ateneans that they would fail if they went through with the strike. Some days later, Pres. Duterte threatened to defund the University of the Philippines if they joined it.
Photo: Manila Bulletin