Magna Carta for the Students: The Revival

Magna Carta for the Students: The Revival

It has already been a decade since the first version of the Magna Carta of Students was authored by Cong. Edcel Lagman and was presented by progressives at the House of Representatives, with hopes of being supported and passed to be a law that shall be the assemblage of all the rights of the students, only to be disappointed by the apathy and the lack of interest by the legislators, in which the people have fully rested their confidence and deference. In the previous session of the 14th Congress, a recent and more audacious one has been instigated by Rep. Risa Hontiveros- baraquel which focused on the current student’s legitimate rights and welfare, a more comprehensive and up-to-date bill which tackles and provides alternative solution to the current context of the education dilemma in our country. However, it did not thrived well as it found its adversaries in each form of unexpected and undeniable ones, which in fact are most of the legislators themselves.

The preceding session of the lower house has been quite disruptive, in paving the way for the bill, by solons who do not act according to what their official duties expect them to be, such as by not being present in the public hearings which led to technical working groups without congressmen, halted votations due to insufficient numbers and bringing up-to-the-last-minute repudiation of what has already been collectively agreed upon by the present members of the committee. The government agencies such as the Department of Education, the Commission for Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority has been indeed lukewarm, indifferent and yielding to the process, which proves that they are really undetermined to support the bill which aims to empower and give them the authority to secure the students. It was also surprising that the other stakeholders in the consultation process where on the warpath to the salient features of the bill, in which the student body found teachers, school owners, and the institution itself as their opponents.

It is really quite upsetting that education, is being taken for granted by this government, and by the previous repercussion of this endeavored reform in its system’s policy and directives, the anticipation of a better future for students lie at the brink of extermination. As the upcoming resumption of the technical working group’s consultation process become near, the steadfast and uncompromising students are expected to be more restless, to do more than their previous efforts and their hopes of achieving their highest aspirations to free themselves from the bondage of a rotten, traditional and repressive education system.

It is therefore of utmost importance, for every student to be tactful, at guard and to be in focus, so as to reclaim what is theirs, and prove to those who look down upon them that they know where should they stand in the issue of their rights and their interests.###

Contributed by: Ebenezer R. Bonbon

Movement for the Advancement of Student Power

Polytechnic University of the Philippines

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