“In this day and age, violence is an understatement. Violence is a word that hardly suffices to describe the blood, gore, shock, and terror instigated by state forces all throughout the nation – from the distant mountains of Mindanao right to the alleyways of Caloocan.”

This is the statement of Anakbayan National Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo, as youth groups join the Lakbayanis, or the delegates of the month-long caravan protest “Lakbayan” in trooping to several government agencies this Monday.
Early morning, the group of youth and national minorities trooped to the main office of the Department of Education (DepEd) to call on the agency to immediately act on the continuing violence and militarization of Lumad schools in Mindanao.

“The military has turned Lumad schools, Lumad communities into utter war zones. Homes and classrooms are continually ransacked, forcing many to traverse mountains just to escape,” Crisostomo recounted, noting that many Lumad children and teachers from Mindanao have already trooped and camped in the University of the Philippines-Diliman since last month to escape the ongoing turmoil.

“And DepEd is doing what? Practically nothing. Kailangan pa umabot sa puntong kakatukin na sila ng taumbayan, ng ating kababayang Moro at Lumad para sabihing umaksyon naman sila,” Crisostomo emphasized.

The groups then trooped to the main office of the Commission on Higher Education in Quezon City at around lunch time today to protest against the impending mandatory drug testing in state universities and colleges (SUCs).
“CHED is again disproving that it is a commission governing higher education, for amid this ghoulish and terror-stricken time wrought by the President’s war on drugs, the commission seeks to implement a scheme that will open the doors of our universities wide open for police brutality and even killings. Only this week, the public has been outraged by yet another brutal – supposedly drug-related – killing involving former UP student Carl Angelo Arnaiz. With the mandatory drug testing, we fear that more Carls will litter the streets with their lifeless bodies,” Crisostomo said.

UP students held a candle-lighting ceremony later this afternoon in UP Diliman to call for justice for Arnaiz’s death and the over 13,000 deaths caused by the war on drugs.

“Today, it is no longer enough to mourn the dead among our ranks. It is no longer enough to seethe in anger at the atrocities committed against our people. Now is the time to join forces, to unite and struggle against this regime that has gone out of its way to wreak havoc on all parts of the nation. The Filipino people should show this regime how the people can – and will – fight back, kahit pa kamatayan ang sinasalubong ng rehimen sa mga nanlalaban,” Crisostomo stressed.

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