Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Bam Aquino slams Malacañang : Free education should not hinder student protests

Senator Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV takes a swipe at the Duterte administration.

The statement came after a week when Malacañang reminded protesting students of the University of the Philippines- not to waste taxpayer’s money by walking out of their classes to participate in the National Day of walkout Against Tyranny and Dictatorship.
Senator Bam Aquino (photo credit to owner)

“So ang sinasabi lang ng Presidente, huwag naman natin sayangin iyong mga pera ng sambayanan na ginugol natin para sa free tuition ng lahat ng state universities and colleges,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing in Laoag City in Ilocos Norte over the weekend.

“Kung talagang nais mag-walkout ng mga taga, estudyante ng UP, karapatan [nila] ‘yan,” he said.  “Hindi po ipinagbabawal ang malayang pananalita. Hindi po ipinagbabawal ang rallies.”

This issue came up when president Duterte threatened to replace protesting UP students with those from the Lumad communities in Mindanao.

“Earlier today, they walked out. Go ahead,” President Rodrigo Duterte said in reaction. “f you don’t want to go to school, get out of there because I will bring [indigenous] students who are bright and put them there. A lot of Filipinos want to have an excellent education.”

Senator Bam weighs in

The administration should not use free education to  “blackmail” or prohibit students from exercising their right to free expression and dissent, opposition Senator Benigno “Bam’ Aquino said.

Walang kapalit ang libreng kolehiyo. Hindi dapat nilalagyan ng pamahalaan ng limitasyon ang karapatan ng mga estudyante kapalit ng libreng edukasyon sa pampublikong unibersidad at kolehiyo,” Aquino said in a statement.

he free college law is a form of benefit to the Filipino people, and should not be used for blackmail or as hush money,” Aquino said.

Senator  Bam Aquino is principal sponsor and co-author of the Free College Education Act, stressed that students in SUCs must not surrender their right to speak and dissent just to enjoy free education.

Report from PDI