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Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy University of the Philippines Diliman on the First
Anniversary of the Death of Kristel Tejada
15 March 2014

The Filipino nation was shocked on March 15, 2013 when Kristel Tejada, a 16-year old freshman studying Behavioral Sciences in
University of the Philippines Manila, daughter of a part-time taxi driver and housewife, took her life after failing to settle a previous loan
and was advised to file a forced leave of absence (FLOA). Politicians, students, teachers and school administrators were thrown into
disbelief. Her death painfully demonstrated that even in a state-funded university, poor students are not excused from the crunching
violence of the system that puts profit before students welfare.

But more dreadful than her death is the on-going brutal assault of the US-Aquino Regime against state universities and colleges
by subjecting them to downsizing, foreclosures, rationalization, and budget-cut. In the middle of this rising tide of neoliberal barbarism and
the brutal onslaught on our educational system, teachers, educational workers and students have been building stronger alliance with
other patriotic and progressive sectors of society to demand justice for the pointless death of an iskolar ng bayan! Beyond Kristel as the
icon of the failure of neoliberal policies of commercialization and privatization of education, teachers and students are now strongly
demanding greater state subsidy for public education. The death of Kristel had intensified the simmering anti-capitalist rage among
educators and students to demand that the state be held responsible in providing basic social services to the people. The people are now
building up irrepressible resistance to the continuing abandonment of education by the state. Now, we are faced with a forced choice:
more deaths of iskolar ng bayan or a humane future.

On the first year anniversary of the death of Kristel Tejada, as we remember this painful memory in the history of the University
of the Philippines, as we remember how our useless government and the callous bureaucrats in the state university abandoned Kristel and
her family to fend for themselves, we, the members of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy UP Diliman, stand
united with the family of Kristel and all the iskolar ng bayan who are seeking justice for her tragic death. We are resolved not to allow the
barbaric policy of neoliberal reforms of education to claim another life of iskolar ng bayan and be offered at the cathedral of profit.

We refuse to be coaxed by those reactionary establishment psychologists and bogus existentialist detractors who use Kristels
so-called psychological weakness to explain away her ordeal rather than condemn the unjust system that allowed her death. We denounce
those who continue to blast the people who found political cause in her death. We demand justice against the Pilates who washed their
hands from this meaningless death. We will not allow her death to go in vain. As her memory is silently passed over by the coldblooded
US-Aquino Regime and the merciless bureaucrats of higher learning, we will rage against the sadistic system that forced Kristel to take her
life. The mourning is over. We cannot remain forever paralyzed in fear and despair. Its time to move on and heighten our struggle against
the bureaucratic machine that killed her. We should not allow this system to continuously pommel violently the iskolar ng bayan and their

We will continue to demand justice! Her memory, no matter how painful and brutal, will guide and inspire us to take courage to
fight until the end. It will be a mockery of Kristels death if we simply remember her today without waging war against the STFAP system
that sealed her fate even if today it mutated as the STS (Socialized Tuition System) monster. Today, our challenge is to harness the immense
indignation and the grief we felt and use it creatively and militantly to wage a total war against a system that breaks students will, and
plunges them to destitution and hopelessness.

No more tears. No more deaths! We the members of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy resolutely
pledge our relentless pursuit of justice for all iskolar ng bayan. We will always remember Kristel! We will always see Kristels light in the
weary faces of poor students and their parents. We believe that the liberation of Kristels memory from the brutalizing narrative of state
abandonment of education can only be accomplished if we persistently work to liberate the iskolar ng bayan from forced subjection to
daily despotism of the profit-worshipping educational machine. We will abide by the teaching of Katipunan: Defend the oppressed and
fight the oppressor!

No more Kristel Tejadas!
Justice for Kristel Tejada and all iskolar ng bayan!
Down with commercialized education!
Oppose neoliberal reforms of education!
Fight for free education in all levels!
Fight for a nationalist, scientific, and mass-based education!