“First, the FOI network; now, the Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW) Coalition. It is clear that Makabayan lawmakers are nothing more than deceitful partners ready to take the credit when a coalitional campaign succeeds and quick to blame fellow advocates when the campaign faces setbacks,” Akbayan Youth Spokesperson JC Tejano reacts to the statement of Kabataan Party-list Rep. Mong Palatino.
Palatino recently blamed Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello for the cancellation of the technical working group (TWG) meeting in Congress to consolidate the different versions of the STRAW Bill.
Through an SMS message, Bello informed and consulted Palatino about the former’s request to postpone the meeting. Palatino replied “noted” but later attacked Bello publicly on his party-list organization’s website. Bello explained that the postponement was a strategic move given that there were only a few session days left.
“It is difficult to deal with groups like Kabataan which, instead of working in good faith with partners to seriously pursue reform legislation, have only the 2013 elections in mind. Inasmuch as we dream of a unified student sector to push for the passage of the STRAW Bill, propaganda such as this from Kabataan are not helping at all,” commented Mickey Eva, National President of the STRAW Coalition, a network of student groups advocating the legislation of the STRAW Bill.
“It is interesting to note that Kabataan never criticized COCOPEA when it argued during the committee hearing that students can be discriminated on the basis of gender, pregnancy, religion, and political affiliation upon admission into schools,” added Ernest Calayag, Secretary-General of the Student Council Alliance of the Phillippines.
“As it seems, Kabataan’s tactic is not to push for the STRAW Bill but to disparage like-minded advocates in order to get ahead of them come election time,” Calayag quipped.
Akbayan has been pushing for the STRAW Bill since the 10th Congress and has taken the lead in forging the nationwide STRAW Coalition for the passage of the bill.
In cooperation with the National Youth Commission, the STRAW Coalition has been engaging institutions to take action on documented and undocumented violations of students’ rights. Kabataan, on the other hand, has never assisted or even engaged the STRAW Coalition.
Akbayan Youth, along with the STRAW Coalition, remains committed to effectively and strategically work for the passage of the STRAW Bill in Congress.###