Students from University of the Philippines Manila expressed their solidarity with the workers of Super 8 with a campaign to provide support for their fight against contractualization.
The UP Manila University Student Council, in partnership with Sigma Delta Pi Sorority and youth mass organizations Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students and Kabataan Partylist, conducted a donation drive to give food packs and financial support to the Super 8 picketline. The donation drive consisted of room to room discussions and organization hopping to bring the plight of the workers closer to the students as well as to invite them to join the Basic Masses Integration.
A forum, entitled Maiwat, was launched by the UP Manila College of Arts and Sciences Student Council where the workers shared their struggle against contractualization and for better working conditions. Max Santiago from the UgatLahi Artists’ Collective presented about protest art.
The campaign ended with a basic masses integration to the Super 8 picket line in Pasig City. Around 40 students from the concerned organizations and student councils went to Axis Road, Pasig City. The basic masses integration started with an orientation about the situation of the workers and why they are staging a picketline. The assembly broke up into four groups where the workers discussed their specific situations. After that, the students along with the workers joined Musicians for Peace in a song-learning activity where they studied a song about the centennial of the workers’ movement, ‘Sandaang Taon.’
The students and their organizations expressed their solidarity in a demonstration where they gave messages uniting the youth with the struggles of the workers. They also performed ‘Sandaang Taon’ celebrating the continuing struggle of the workers in different parts of the world.
Why do students express solidarity with workers? Issues like contractualization affect so many of the youth today—estimates of Kabataan Partylist Metro Manila cited data from labor rights advocates that 8 of 10 workers are contractual; among the contractuals, 80% are from the youth sector. Students today may fall victims to contractualization in the future, if the practice continues and vetted (vetoed?) legislation being passed to supposedly curb it actually legalizes it.
This is an issue we hear in the news all the time since President Rodrigo Duterte promised to end contractualization in his campaign trail, but it is an issue that people who think they are not affected by it tend to look over. There are things we cannot learn if we stay in the confines of our classrooms.
Why do we have to take a stand in issues that ail the nation? One simple reason is that as citizens of this nation, we have to take part in the issues and events happening in the country. More importantly, as students, we must unite with the basic masses, those who are marginalized in the society as they reflect a baseline of the society’s problems that the youth today must help change for the better. We take care of our future today.