International Students’ Day marked with anti-Apec protests in Manila

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Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon on Tuesday said that several youth groups nationwide have gathered in Manila to commemorate the International Students’ Day through a series of protests related to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.

Ridon, in a statement, said that today’s protests kicked off with a morning lightning rally near the US Embassy along Roxas Boulevard.

By 5 p.m., the militant lawmaker said the students will march from Intramuros back to the area near the US Embassy to denounce Washington’s primary role in intensifying neoliberal attacks on education and basic services.

Rise for Education National Convenor and National Union of Students of the Philippines President Sarah Elag, in the same statement, said that “through the years, we have witnessed how the twin policies of commercialization and deregulation transmogrified our education system into an insidious system of money-making. Globalization, and the implementation of neoliberal policies promoted by Apec, has done nothing but exacerbate the situation.”

Education crisis

Meanwhile, Ridon said that the Apec Leaders Meeting will result in a renewed push for neoliberal policies that will “bring further destitution to the ordinary Filipino.”

“For the Filipino student, this directly translates to a future with higher tuition rates, with education being one of the sectors viewed by APEC leaders as an area for ‘business growth,’” Ridon said.

“On part of the youth, we gravely fear the results of intensified neoliberal policies on the Philippine education system. In the past two decades, said policies resulted to the intensified enforcement of commercialization and deregulation, the twin-headed monsters that made education in the country vastly unaffordable and inaccessible for many,” Ridon said.