Students demand end to ‘bankrupt Estrada regime’

By Herman M. Lagon, Visayas News Bureau, The Manila Times, 26 November 2000

ILOILO CITY—Thousands of students and young people from all over Iloilo province on Friday demanded an immediate end to the bankrupt Estrada regime.

Shouting Erap resign! Erap resign! the estimated 10,000 youths converged at the Rotary Amphitheater to demand the ouster of the most popular Filipino President since Ramon Magsaysay.p

We believe that the youth's future is at stake in this issue hence we also want to take an active role in charting the destiny of our future and the succeeding generations of Filipinos, said Karen Edaniel, speaking for the Youth Network to Oust Estrada-Estrada Resign Youth Movement (ERYM-Iloilo).

The students were from the Central Philippine University, University of San Agustin, University of Iloilo, West Visayas State University, UP in the Visayas (Iloilo City and Miag-ao campuses), John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation (Molo and Arevalo campuses), and Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, Colegio de las Hijas de Jesus, and De Paul College.

Students from the Iloilo City National High School, Assumption School, National Union of Students of the Philippines, Sta. Maria Catholic School, Western Institute of Technology, and Iloilo Doctors College teachers also joined the rally.

Also present were the League of Filipino Students, Anakbayan, and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral at Kabataang Kababaihan, Sangguniang Kabataan Federation-Iloilo Province, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, and the Youth of Iglesia Filipina Independiente.

In the two years of Estrada rule, the people have already proven that there can be no future under his presidency. Estrada should come down from his post before Christmas. There is a need for a change, stressed Anakbayan-Manila secretary-general Apolinario Alvarez.

Edaniel explained that despite their young age, they are old enough to see and understand how the President has trampled upon the rights of the people including the youth and students.

Education is the number one demand of the youths.

[Government] should give education the highest budgetary allocation, not debt-servicing and military spending, they said, adding that a moratorium on tuition increases for the next school year must also be made and that Section 42 of the Education Act of 1982, which allows deregulated tuition fees, should likewise be repealed.

The young people also demanded the following:

Edaniel explained that problems will always hound whoever will be the president. We do not expect all our problems to be solved once Estrada is out of the picture, but his ouster will surely benefit the youth, students and the people, she added.

She urged the masses to continue their protest actions as it is the most decisive and democratic [way of] getting rid of an immoral presidency.

She also challenged Estrada's successor to address the urgent and fundamental demands of the people and respond to the youth and the people's agenda even as she warned that if the next government would betray the hard-won victory of the people, it will eventually meet the same fate as the Estrada presidency.