Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

ARMM Bans Lozada Tour in Public Schools

It is another story, however, in public schools in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

ARMM Education Secretary Udtog Kawit said they would not allow a campus tour by Lozada in the region. But he clarified that “if the rallies are to be held outside school campuses, then there’s no problem with us.”

Lapus made the clarification after his statement drew protests from various sectors, particularly students and teachers. But he pointed out that it was the mandate of the DepEd to look after the safety and well-being of students.

“There are long existing orders on the holding of austere and simple graduation ceremonies in elementary and high schools…This special event is for the parents, students, and teachers,” Lapus said in a statement.

He explained “the policy has been in effect over the years and was not a knee-jerk reaction or related to ZTE star witness Rodolfo Lozada Jr.’s campus tour” -- or the possibility that he would be invited by some schools as commencement speaker.

Lozada has been going around various campuses in Metro Manila to discuss corruption in government and to rally the students against the Arroyo administration. He planned to do the same in the Visayas and Mindanao.

On Saturday, militant students lashed out at Kawit for banning Lozada’s campus tour.

“While the DepEd has backtracked on its statement, the Palace would still prevent by all means Jun Lozada from speaking the truth... Anakbayan’s chapters nationwide will continue to sponsor campus tours for truth and social change and hold protests calling for the ouster of (President Macapagal-Arroyo),” said Anakbayan chair Eleanor de Guzman.

Stressing that “schools are truth zones,” League of Filipino Students chair Vencer Crisostomo asked students and teachers “not to submit to the liars and crooks in the government, including the DepEd.”

“Banning Lozada’s campus tour will only ignite more protests by students,” said Anakbayan spokesperson Katrina Sarah Maramag.

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