80 days before its 80th anniversary, CEGP urges Aquino to reverse ‘anti-people’ policies

The broadest intercollegiate alliance of student publications nationwide marks today as the 80th day before its 80th anniversary, challenging the new administration “to implement policies in favor of the impoverished and vowing to continue its legacy of pro-people journalism.”

Previous president Gloria Arroyo’s term had been particularly dismal in terms of policies for all sectors in the society, said the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP). “Aquino promised to reverse her policies, but after more than 10 months in power, there was no significant change, and some policies even worsened the conditions,” said Trina Federis, national president of CEGP, which currently has 750 member publications in 68 out of 78 provinces in the country.

“Aquino’s measures, if there are any, in addressing the recent spate of fare, price and oil price hikes have been ineffective. They posed as solutions to the dilemma when in fact they are retrogressive and were crafted in favor of the foreign corporations,” said CEGP National Secretary General Ednalyn dela Cruz.

For instance, the oil subsidy that the government claims to be a mitigation measure is nothing more than a “band-aid solution,” said dela Cruz. If Aquino is really intent on stopping the unreasonable price hikes, then it should start with scrapping the Oil Deregulation Law, which it refused to do, she added.

Also, just recently, Aquino blatantly rejected the petition for a P125 across the board wage hike, despite the consecutive increases in commodity prices. Meanwhile, in terms of human rights, the death toll had climbed to more than 40 in Aquino’s first 10 months in power, and yet nobody had been held accountable for the violations.

As an alliance that has a long history of involvement in social struggles, the CEGP deems it necessary to expose and oppose this anti-people thrust of Aquino’s administration.

“For example, the United Nations Human Rights Commission had already released a resolution holding Gloria Arroyo’s administration responsible for the death of former CEGP vice president for Mindanao Benjaline Hernandez. The UN did not accuse the administration of violating human rights, it categorically stated that it is guilty of violating human rights because of the unreasonably slow pace of delivery of justice and overwhelming military culpability,” said dela Cruz.

Aquino, who had long been trying to distinguish himself from his predecessor, has not yet acted upon the resolution, explained dela Cruz. The Department of Justice and the Commission on Human Rights even cleared the military of any liability in the killing of botanist Leonard Co and torture of cultural worker Melissa Roxas, who said that it was the soldiers who abducted her.

“As an alliance that has a long history of involvement in social struggles, the CEGP deems it necessary to expose and oppose this anti-people thrust of Aquino’s administration. To do otherwise would be an insult to the guild’s 80 years of active engagement in the pursuit of genuine change,” said Federis. 

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