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Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago and youth and students leaders–such as from UP, PUP, ADMU, and from Davao, Cagayan Valley, Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines, and National Union of Students of the Philippines–graded Pres. Duterte after delivering his 5th State of the Nation Address.

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Youth groups give Duterte ‘F’ grade on his fifth SONA

Despite Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque
giving Duterte 9 out of 10 in his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), youth leaders from different groups relentlessly gave Duterte a failing grade.

In a virtual press conference held today, July 28, Raoul Manuel, National Convenor of Youth Act Against Tyranny, hit back on Duterte saying, “His SONA was useless. No solutions were offered to combat the coronavirus pandemic.”

Duterte is also trying to “conceal his failures” by reviving the death penalty and is making countermeasures in silencing its dissenters.

Manuel also asserted that the death penalty is a violation against the international law which the Philippines should abide by.

“We don’t need fascistic measures just to solve the country’s problem,” Manuel added.

Jayvie Cabajes, Vice-chairperson for Mindanao of Kabataan Party-list, said that even during the pandemic, the problem in Marawi City has not been resolved as leader-activists, too, are continued to be red-tagged.

“There are no immediate actions for the victims of martial law in Mindanao,” Cabajes mentioned.

Regina Tolentino, deputy secretary-general of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, slammed Duterte’s supposed dismantling of oligarchy after ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal was rejected.

“The Filipino people know who is the real enemy and who kills their livelihood,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino, later on, brought emphasis to Duterte’s hypocrisy towards the oligarchs.

“Duterte seems to be oblivious when he said that he dismantled the oligarchy when he himself is an oligarch, too, together with his cronies that steals and controls resources in our country,” she added.

Maya Santos, chairperson of Sandigan ng Mag-aaral para sa Sambayanan-Polytechnic University of the Philippines, marked Duterte a dropped grade by saying, “Duterte’s SONA has no substance. Duterte should be ousted because of his gross negligence against the Filipino people.”

Kara Taggaoa, spokesperson of League of Filipino Students, reaffirmed Duterte’s inutility where the president admitted that he cannot do anything against the West Philippines Sea aggression.

“The only right thing that Duterte said is when he admitted that he is inutile. He did not do anything for he is useless, and he never learned for the love of his country,” Taggaoa said.

While solutions for Covid-19 was overlooked during yesterday’s SONA, Duterte boasted of his “Build, Build, Build” program; being branded as “a successful scam,” by Joshua Kyle Abibico Ching of Kabataan Party-list Cagayan Valley.

As the coronavirus cases continue to increase, mass testing is really imperative.

“In some communities, people cannot afford to be tested because it is commercialized and privatized. Even the Balik-Probinsya program remained to be ineffective,” added Hen Namoca, Convenor from Ateneo’s One Big Fight for Human Rights and Democracy.

Froilan Carriaga, a councilor from the University of the Philippines Diliman-University Student Council, said that it helped the Covid-19 pandemic expose the worsening problem of the education system.

“Instead of the money being spent on food, it is being used for gadgets.”

Sarah Jane Elago, representative from the Kabataan Party-list, lamented the government’s lack of response on people’s immediate needs and instead resorted to attacks against people’s democratic rights, especially at the time of the pandemic.

“We need to fight for our rights against threats and intimidations on our basic rights. We need to seek accountability against all forms of rights abuses,” Elago said.

Vinz Simon, spokesperson from Anakbayan, also reminded everyone that despite Duterte’s tyrannical rule, we need to fight back.

“The Filipino youths are here today to urge the government for free mass testing, economic aid, safe resumption of work, and classes geared towards medical solutions,” Simon said.

At the end of the virtual press conference, youth leaders gave the Duterte administration a failing remark because of its gross negligence and incompetence.

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