Archives for posts with tag: education

Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK) strongly opposed the proposal of some legislators to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility. The current minimum age is 15 years old under the Juvenile Justice Act.  The said proposal is a mere blame game on the government’s failure to address the problem of increasing numbers of children involved in crimes.

 Violation of the Child’s Rights

Under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN-CRC), a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years of age.  The indicated age should enjoy his/her right to be free from any criminal responsibility (e.g. capital punishment, life imprisonment etc.) It is very clear that our government would be violating the said international convention of which we are a signatory if the said proposal will be adopted.

 Rehabilitation, not punishment

SDK affirm its belief that youth offenders do not deserve punishment, most of the said offenders who committed crimes belong to the poor and working class families who have longed been deprived of a decent life.  They were pushed to resort on illegal activities because they need to survive on a barbaric world of consumerism.  The real culprit on this menace is no other than the government itself, who failed to provide a real program to rehabilitate youth offenders for them to be reintegrated and assume a constructive role in our society. The proposal to lower the minimum age on criminal responsibility will only make the real culprit (the government) get out of its responsibility.  It will not solve a single problem on the issue of youth perpetrated crimes.

 They should be in schools, not in jails

Youth perpetrated crimes will be lessened or in the maximum be non-existent if the youth are enjoying their right to education. But in reality, drop-out rates in schools are increasing due to extreme poverty. Worst of all, the government continues to cut budgets in education and promotes commercialization. This is the government’s worst crime, depriving the youth of his/her right to be educated and build their capacity to live decently.

We call on the legislators to stop this non-sense blame game and focus on creating policies that will ensure our right to education and to live with dignity. Lowering the minimum age on criminal responsibility will never create a substantial solution. But ensuring our rights will definitely generate a more progressive, responsible, empowered and dignified citizens in the future.

September 15, 2011

Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK) joins the workers and the poor today in marching towards the Batasan (Congress) for the 2nd State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino III.

SDK believes that within President Aquino’s first year in office, nothing has change and elite democracy remains. While he continually boast of his straight path to good governance, this administration continues to walk on the old path of neo-liberal globalization.

Despite the absence of wang-wangs, despite the resignation of Merci Gutierrez and despite the initiative to prosecute GMA for plundering the country, it is undeniable that the number of poor and hungry Filipinos has remained the same if not worsened. And it is because there is not social reform being implemented under the Aquino administration despite the so-called social contract with the people.

The Filipino youth have been longing for a change from a commercialized education system and abandoned as a social service.

Budget cuts in the state colleges and universities continuously increased while President Aquino promised that his government will invest on education. 281 colleges and universities have increased their tuition this year with the approval of the Commission on Higher Education. Of 2.9 million additional jobless Filipinos this year, about 36% are youth (probably fresh graduates).

Therefore,  SDK pushes for the 4 basic demands to immediately address the basic problems of the youth:

  1. Stop Budget Cuts on State Colleges and Universities
  2. Regulate Tuition Increases and ensure genuine student participation on consultations.
  3. Allocate 6% of GNP to education budget.
  4. Ensure secured jobs for all fresh graduates.

President Aquino’s communication advisers said the President’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA) will focus more on ‘social transformation’.  How will these happen if the majority of the Filipino youth will never finish college and will not be able to land a secured job in the future?  Social transformation will only be realized if the President will be able to address the basic problems of the Filipino workers and the poor. This will entail major policy changes like rejecting the neo-liberal policy and replacing it with the policy that prioritizes the poor rather than profit.