The House of Representatives, through viva voce voting, this week approved on second reading House Bill 6283 which seeks to declare November 17 of every year as National Students’ Day in recognition of the contribution of student activism to Philippine democracy.
Principally authored by Reps. Evelina Escudero (1st District, Sorsogon) and Carlos Isagani Zarate (Party-list, Bayan Muna), the bill recognizes the value of inculcating love of country and social responsibility among the youth, and supports the observance of International Students’ Day which was spearheaded by the International Students’ Council in 1941 to commemorate the execution of nine Czechoslovakian students who fought against the Nazi occupation.
“In accord with the observance of International Students’ Day and in recognition of the invaluable contribution of student activism to Philippine democracy for initiating efforts to foster leadership among Filipino students, November 17 of every year is hereby declared as National Students’ Day,” the bill states.
The bill provides that an annual program of activities for the observance of National Students’ Day shall be prepared and implemented, with the National Youth Commission (NYC) serving as the lead agency.
The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) shall support the NYC in all efforts to facilitate and promote related activities to all public and private schools.
All schools, colleges and universities are encouraged to extend their full support for exercises and activities launched by students during the observance of National Students’ Day.
“The bill’s passage is likewise in keeping with the avowed duty of the State to inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs,” said Escudero.
Since it was first commemorated in London by the International Students’ Council in 1941, the tradition has been kept by various student organizations worldwide. “In the Philippines, the time has come for Congress to formally recognize the celebration of International Students’ Day as part of its commitment to legislate laws for the youth’s social, intellectual, and moral development,” said Zarate.
Zarate said Filipino students have long been at the forefront of Philippine history. During the Spanish colonization, although it was the Katipunan that eventually led the revolutionary movement against the colonizers in 1898, the contribution of the student reformists helped open the minds of many Filipinos into supporting the fight for freedom and democracy, he said.
“The student movement continues to demonstrate its unfailing commitment to fight against all forms of discrimination, oppression and injustice. Education for all is a call continuously made by groups such as the National Union of Students of the Philippines, the League of Filipino Students, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, and the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines,” said Zarate.
Aside from Escudero and Zarate, Reps. Ramon Durano VI (5th District, Cebu), chairman of the committee on basic education and culture, and Ann Hofer (2nd District, Zamboanga Sibugay), chairperson of the committee on higher and technical education, sponsored the bill on the floor.
The bill is also authored by Durano, Hofer, Reps. Christopher de Venecia, Mark Go, Pablo Ortega, Federico Sandoval II, France Castro, Celso Lobregat, Micaela Violago, Mercedes Cagas, Michelle Antonio, Lorna Bautista-Bandigan, Sara Jane Elago, Rosemarie Arenas, Luisa Lloren Cuaresma, Carlito Marquez, Ruwel Peter Gonzaga, Salvador Belaro Jr., Gabriel Bordado Jr., Aurekio Gonzales Jr., Lianda Bolilia, Fernando Gonzalez, Jesulito Manalo, and Glona Labadlabad.