Southern Tagalog Cultural Caravan

in Morong, Rizal


July 12, 2008




Youth in Southern Tagalog hold protest action in Morong, Rizal against rising prices of oil, rice, tuition and other commodities.


The protest is part of the 18-day cultural caravan led by Anakbayan-Southern Tagalog and Southern Tagalog Cultural Network which will culminate on July 28 to expose the true state of the nation and the youth. The caravan will go around schools in Cavite today, their second stop after Rizal.




PRESS RELEASE Reference: PJ Santos

July 10, 2008 Secretary General, ANAKBAYAN-TK

Surging prices of oil bring art, performances of Southern Tagalog youth to the streets

Alarmed and angered over the weekly oil price hikes, youth group ANAKBAYAN-TIMOG KATAGALUGAN (ANAKBAYAN-TK) vowed a series of non-stop protest actions and performances in the streets starting today up to Arroyo’s state of the nation address (July 10-28). The youth group, together with Southern Tagalog Cultural Network (STCN), kicked-off the 18-day cultural caravan with street skits at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) and a protest action at Crossing, Calamba, Laguna. The caravan also held short protest actions in front of schools in Calamba.

PJ Santos, ANAKBAYAN-TK secretary general, hit the anticipated oil price hike tomorrow which may amount from P6 to P10 based on Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes’ statement. “It is clear from Reyes’ statement that the Arroyo administration is not keen on preventing oil price increases. The P1/liter rollback in gas price implemented by 3 oil firms is a far cry from the total of P18/liter for gasoline and P19.50/liter for diesel that it has increased this year alone.”

Santos said they will be soliciting signatures during the caravan to scrap the 12% VAT on oil as one immediate measure to help lower oil price. They will also launch an email brigade and lobbying campaign of the youth urging Congressmen in the region to support the suspension of VAT. “Malacañang’s statement that it will provide more subsidies for the poor from VAT collections will not significantly address the problem. In fact, the subsidies are a meager part of the revenues that the government robs from the people.”

Aside from oil price hikes, the caravan will also campaign against the soaring prices of tuition and rice which they said were the main issues affecting students and youth in the region. Entitled ARANGKADA (Aral at Sining ng Kabataan sa Kalsada), the youth said the caravan will show the true state of the youth as it holds workshops, discussions, and protest actions in Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon and Batangas. The activity is also supported by the Southern Tagalog chapters of National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), College Editors Guild of the Philippines, and Kabataang Pinoy Party.



In UPLB, students called for a roll-back of the 300% tuition fee increase implemented last year. They also hit the UPLB administration’s series of repressive actions which infringes on the right of students to organization and proper consultation. Since March, campus elections have been delayed by the UPLB administration. Policies have also been implemented removing organization tambayans, prohibiting activities in buildings after 7PM, and stringent requirements questioning the recognition of student organizations.

“The state of UPLB is clearly reminiscent of Martial Law years when organizations were banned and efforts of students to organize and express themselves were hindered. Even the UPLB Perspective staff, the campus publication, are not allowed to hold press works beyond 7PM when in fact it is during the night the campus journalists have time to write and edit articles. These student institutions were fought for during these times and it is ironic that these are again being attacked many years after,” UPLB University Student Council vice chairperson Charisse Bañez said.

Rayan Brozula, NUSP-ST deputy secretary general, said that tuition and other fees also increased in state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the region despite Arroyo’s statement to freeze tuition hikes in SUCs. “The Commission on Higher Education should look into the 100% tuition increase in the University of Rizal System and the P500 special assessment fee collected from freshmen at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines-San Pedro.”

“These attacks against the ranks of the youth paint a bleak future for the youth under the Arroyo regime. We call on all patriotic youth to defend our rights and welfare. Just as the generations before us fought against Martial Law and other anti-people policies, this is our obligation not only for our generation but also for the next,” John Paulo Bautista, coordinator of Kabataang Pinoy Party, said.

In Lipa, Batangas, students and youth held a forum to unite the ranks of the youth in the province regarding the issues in education and the national situation. The youth formed the Save our Education Movement-Batangas and Kabataang Pinoy Party to advance these rights.

Tomorrow (July 11), the caravan enters Rizal where workshops on mural and effigy-making will be held in the town of Morong. The youth will hold a protest action and noise barrage in the afternoon.###

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