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Statement of Condemnation Against St. Theresa’s College – Cebu

The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines [SCAP] condemns the administration of St. Theresa’s College (STC) in Cebu for not allowing a student to attend the commencement exercises. STC administration opts to punish a 16-year old student for having pictures of her taken “wearing bikini tops and a towel” posted on social networking site Facebook.

STC argues through their counsel Romeo Balili that they are a “Catholic school governed by the teachings of the Catholic Church. We have to see to it that values are formed”. They also add that, ““We are not happy with the penalty but we are forced to impose it because we have to form the values of children”.

SCAP condemns STC for violating the student’s right guaranteed by the Bill of Rights enshrined in the 1987 Constitution. Article 3, Section 4 of the Constitution guarantees every person’s freedom of speech and expression. This freedom is extended to the Internet and social networking sites. STC has also violated provision of Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act for causing psychological violence to the student causing humiliation and trauma.

STC’s Student Handbook teems with rules and regulations that violate students’ rights and the Constitution. One of the rules stipulates that students should not be “posing and uploading pictures on the Internet that entail ample body exposure” among numerous provisions that impede on the private and personal affairs of their students.

SCAP believes that a person’s civil and political liberties, protected by the Constitution, cannot be suspended by the mere fact that he or she attends a Catholic school or by the virtue of a Student Handbook. STC should be made accountable to the bias and bigotry that they have shown to the public, especially against women and children.

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In this regard, we call on the Regional Trial Court that is handling the case to act swiftly in order to minimize the trauma caused to the child and her family. We also urge the Department of Education, Commission on Human Rights and the National Youth Commission to look into the administration and unfair policies of St. Theresa’s College Cebu to prevent similar cases from happening. #

GIBBY B. GORRES
Executive Director, Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking, Inc.
National Secretary General, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines

This is a press release from the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP).

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