Saturday, March 15, 2008
IN THIS TIME OF CRISIS: FENCE-SITTING IS NOT AN OPTION
We have been witnesses to a politicaltelenovela in the past few weeks.This time, Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada, aformer chief executive officer of thePhilippine Forest Corporation, surfacedto expose not only some influentialgovernment officials' involvement in theZTE-NBN deal, but the corrupt, rottingsystem that has long been haunting thelives of the toiling Filipino people,led by no one else but GloriaMacapagal-Arroyo.We have been slaves under a regime whodoes not care and does not even thinkabout the people's future. As of today:• 1 out of 10 Filipinos did not have theopportunity to study at all (6.8 million)• 1 out 6 Filipinos can be considerednot functionally literate (9.6 million)• 4.1 million are illiterate• 11.6 million youth are out-of-school• More than half (51 percent) ofFilipinos only reached elementary levelof education• From 1000 Grade 1 students, only 688will finish elementary level and only 7will pass the school's standards forlearning and development.The present regime could haveprioritized social services rather thantying itself up in paying debts that aremostly anomalous and illegitimate, asreflected by the process within thewhole ZTE-NBN deal picture. It couldhave thought of building the nation'sdevelopment, giving priority to the poorand unprivileged, but all it did was tomake a fortune with people's funds andmake corrupt officials assert their"kickbacks" from ill-concocted projects.We have been audiences – better yet,victims – to a never-ending circus inthe Arroyo regime. The fertilizer scam,the overpriced Diosdado MacapagalHighway, "Hello Garci", politicalkillings, being the biggest borrowersince Cory Aquino – the long list goeson. We made our stand with these issues,but it just does not suffice to toppledown Arroyo's seven-year stint inMalacañang.However, we must not yield. Because, tosimply put, the people who perpetrateand continue to serve the corruptpractices of the current system does notyield as well.And we, youth and students, in unitywith all basic sectors of the societyfrom all walks of life, should let ourvoices be heard. We are one of the manyvictims of this corrupt and uncaringregime. We are one of the many whoshould stand up for truth,accountability and justice.The past EDSAs can be consideredfrustrating because a simple regimechange took place. This time, we do notneed another promise of a vicious cycleof elitist and trapo regimes. We needgenuine social and systemic change,where the real sense of democracy – therule of the majority – is realized andrecognized.In this crucial time of the country, ifwe are not part of the solution, then,we are part of the problem.
SAMAHANG DEMOKRATIKO NG KABATAAN (SDK)