Manifesto of Unity sign now

As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Edsa I on February 25, the youth of today pays tribute to millions of Filipinos who contributed to the fight and victory over the 20-year tyrannical rule under Ferdinand Marcos, specifically the youth leaders and members of the First Quarter Storm who served as catalysts of the struggle for the restoration of democracy.

Ironically, however, only two decades after Edsa I, the Filipino nation faces the same predicament. A ruler who is so greedy of power, she cannot see the disheartening conditions of her fellow countrymen. A ruler blinded by her interests and ambitions that she did not only steal the May 2004 elections, but has actually bereft the youth of this generation the future it deserves.

Below are only few of the injustices and offenses committed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo against the youth of this generation.

Budget cuts in education which result to 84\% of public schools operating without water and 55\% without electricity, 45\% of public school teachers having to bring their own chairs and tables, book-to-student ratio of 1:5, teacher-to-student ratio of 1:41 during schoolyear 2004-2005 among others.

Commercialization of education due to the governments tolerance of unabated yearly tuition fee increases pushing 34\% of students from private colleges and universities to transfer to state colleges and universities, or worst, stop their college education.

Non-prioritization of education in the over-all yearly budget, and pours budget into the war on terrorism in Mindanao instead of ensuring that every Muslim youth will have access to meaningful and quality education, and the 40\% automatic appropriation to the debt service payment instead of providing basic social services such as health and nutrition, shelter, and education to millions of community youth who along with their families experience extreme poverty in both rural and urban settings.

Great mismatch of education to careers and available employment opportunities. In a recent report, the Commission on Higher Education admits that there is a yearly surplus of 45,000 graduates who end up being unemployed, and that only 7.2\% of the total job opportunities in the country requires higher education graduates. Not surprisingly, a big portion of the One Million Jobs which Gloria Arroyo proudly offers to the Filipinos, specifically the Filipino youth, are jobs in call centers and abroad as caregivers.

We not only declare Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the biggest thief but a traitor to the ideals and vision of our forefathers who proclaimed that the youth is the future of this country. We likewise assert that the elite of this country has failed to rule this government from the time it was handed over to themto them by Spanish and American colonizers, and that the youth with all the sectors of society must establish a new government that will ensure that the solutions to the problems of the masses will be top priority and build a society that serves the interests of the majority and not the handful few.

Every Filipino youth must now decide to act or lose his or her much-deserved future forever. Is it Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo or change? Our answer is simple, and it must start from the realization of every Filipino youth: I believe, he believes, she believes, we believe. Then one by one and collectively: I will act, she will act, they will act, we will act.

The youth therefore has no other recourse but to declare, Yes2Change!, Yes to our Future.

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Sergio WeaverBy:
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The Filipino People and the Youth

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