Let us keep them in our prayers,
Members of the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) joined thousands of students who walked out of their classes today with the slogan ‘Remember Kristel Tejada, Remember Mark Chua’, demanding urgent and drastic reforms in the Philippine education system.
Today marks the first death anniversary of Kristel Tejada, the University of the Philippines Manila student who committed suicide after being forced to drop-out by campus administrators due to her inability to pay her tuition fees on time. At the same time, it is the 13th death anniversary of Mark Welson Chua, the University of Sto. Tomas ROTC cadet who was murdered after exposing rampant corruption and other wrongdoings in the ROTC program.
A year after the death of Kristel, and more than a decade after that of Mark, it is enraging that the problems of the education system linked with their deaths not only remain unchanged, but are taking a turn for the worse” said Einstein Recedes, national spokesperson of the SCMP.
He noted that the tuition fee in the University of the Philippines is now at the P30,000 per semester level, close to the national average which includes fees in private universities. Alongside that, more than 400 colleges and universities will also hike their tuition for the next school year.
On the other hand, Recedes reiterated his group’s call for the total abolition of the ROTC, pointing to last month’s case of hazing done against a PUP ROTC cadet by her officers as a sign that ‘history is repeating itself’.
“The ROTC, along with the military, are essentially violent, fascist, and inhumane institutions. There is no reforming that. Making it ‘voluntary’ is clearly not enough, as its mere existence guarantees the continuation of human rights violations against students. What we need is the complete, and total elimination of this antiquated Cold War relic” said the youth leader.
He warned “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Unless there are changes in the education system, there will be more Kristels and Marks in the future”.