QUEZON CITY – Amidst the escalation of conflict between the GRP and the MILF in Mindanao, and the Arroyo administration's attempts to railroad Charter Change, students from the University of the Philippines Diliman show their protest in a unique way--through a dance competition.
In a protest action and dance competition spearheaded by the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND-UP), students from various colleges in UP Diliman converged at the Palma Hall steps to witness the first ever "Dance Against Cha-cha" to express their unity against opportunistic moves by the government to use the Mindanao conflict as a scapegoat to push for Charter Change.
Amidst watching and participating in dance events like the Jive, Cha-cha, and crumping, the students also gathered in protest to stand with the Bangsamoro people's struggle for their right to self-determination and peace.
"This is our unique way of saying, we don't want Cha-Cha and we literally stomp our feet in protest," said Terry Ridon, spokesperson for STAND-UP. "We believed this is just a vain and self-centered attempt by the Arroyo regime to perpetuate itself in power and to continue its corrupt and repressive policies against the people."
"The Bangsamoro people, alongside their Lumad and Christian counterparts, have long been suffering from Arroyo's schemes to ensure her political survival," STAND-UP deputy secretary-general Fudge Tajar states. "It is already apparent that the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between her regime and the MILF is no more than a smokescreen for Charter Change. Cha-Cha shall ostensibly commence the shift to federalism to accommodate the demands of the Bangsamoro people's call for autonomy, but it shall only help perpetuate the Arroyo regime in power further than 2010."
"Mindanao cannot achieve genuine peace and autonomy under the US-Arroyo regime. The tally of human violations committed by government forces against the Bangsamoro people and Arroyo's manipulation of anti-Moro hysteria are but testaments to the government's insincerity in granting the Muslims the community they envision," Tajar says.
Further, the students lambast the Arroyo regime for pitting the Bangsamoro and the Christian people against each other as yet another diversionary tactic to obscure the intensifying cries for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's ouster.
Tajar states, "We, mga Iskolar ng Bayan, will never condone the atrocities Arroyo and her cohorts have committed against the people. While we unite with the Bangsamoro people's quest for genuine autonomy and peace, we also seek Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's ouster as instrumental to ending both the Bangsamoro people and the Filipino people's plight." ###