THOMASIANS MUST again strengthen their support for the long-delayed passing of the Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW) Bill to law, the speaker of the Central Board and president of the Civil Law Student Council said in a forum held Tuesday.
“It’s not just important na mayroon tayong Students’ Code inside the University, but then it is also needed na mayroon tayong national policy that will safeguard our rights to the Students’ Code against the administration,” Jonathan Santos said. “I think it’s high time to revive the clamor [for] passing the STRAW Bill as law.”
Santos explained that while the STRAW bill is pro-student, it is not necessarily anti-administration of a school or university.
“Hindi naman porket hindi tayo oppressed, hindi na natin ‘to kailangan pansinin. Rights are always existing even without any violation or any form of oppression going on. Kailangan lang natin ng sufficient [and] satisfactory safeguard just like the STRAW Bill on the national level,” he said.
Santos encouraged students who experienced any infringement of their rights to speak up. “It’s not right to be silent. […] Kailangan mag-step up tayo [at ang] pinakamadali na talaga [gawin ay] ‘yung pagfa-file ng complaint.”
The long-overdue STRAW Bill or the Magna Carta of Students introduced by Akbayan representatives Walden Bello and Kaka Bag-ao had been in provision for almost 15 years.
UST’s Students’ Code is a legal document which contains all the rights and responsibilities of the students. It declares students’ responsibilities and privileges regarding academic rights, right to information, freedom of expression, participation in policy making, due process and organization.
However, it remains pending for 13 years since its first drafting in 2004.
The STRAW forum was part of the “Kasangga”- themed STRAW Week. It was organized by the UST Central Student Council and was held at the Central Seminary Gymnasium. F ANGELIQUE ANNE F. TORRES