Joint Statement (August 20, 2009)
We, Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, National Union of Students of the Philippines and College Editors Guild of the Philippines condemn in the strongest terms the violent dispersal and mass arrests of the youth rally at the Malacañang gates by elements of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and the Manila Police District – Philippine National Police yesterday, August 19.
What happened at the Malacañang gates is an exaggerated use of force against the youth and students. At the moment we reached Gate 7 of Malacañang, elements of the PSG and PNP immediately welcomed us with blows and nightsticks. Some of them were not even in uniform. Negotiations went underway only after they have arrested 20 of our fellow students and 17 of us have suffered mild to serious physical injuries.
They were like rabid dogs hitting many of our fellow students in the face, abdomen, some even pinning them to the ground like common criminals. Those who have fallen were stepped on by the perpetrators like they were putting off cigarette butts. Female students were harassed by un-uniformed elements which held and pulled their clothes off, almost getting them undressed.
Our message is clear: we are enraged over Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s corrupt practices and tyrannical rule. Shame on this government who has the gall of lavishing millions for foreign trips and banquets while raking millions in corruption, one after another ever since she came into power.
We want justice! The impunity of state forces in committing violence must be stopped. We want justice and let the callous Arroyo government accountable for the grand malversation of public funds in history.
Let this be a warning to the Arroyo government: she was put into power by People Power, an event she has constantly insulted and desecrated. Now we say, we can pull her down through People Power, again.
Tomorrow, we commemorate Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino’s martyrdom, who said “The Filipino is worth dying for.” Today, we say yes, the Filipinos are worth fighting for.
As we face this tyrant, we the youth, are very conscious and aware that the last nine months might not be the last as Arroyo pushes for term extension. And we are ready to stage a storm again, in the gates of Malacañang and beyond. ###
League of Filipino Students
Student Christian Movement of the Philippines
National Union of Students of the Philippines
College Editors Guild of the Philippines