/ 15 January 2023

A YEAR after abuse and harassment cases surfaced at the Philippine High School for the Arts, students reiterate their demands for safe spaces through a protest by the end of their first week of full face-to-face classes.

During the rally, the students also urged the institution to prioritize policy reforms and to establish effective mechanisms.

Marching from their dormitories all the way to the National Arts Center, the students congregated in front of “Lolo Bus”, the old nonfunctioning school bus stationed at the parking lot, and declared their demands “No Justice, No Peace, Safe Spaces Now!”

They likewise spray painted on the concrete the words “Here Lies Justice,” while others lit candles, put up flyers, and wrote their calls in chalk.

The reception on the mobilization by the school’s employees ranged from quiet support to hostility.

Following the protest, the faculty addressed the students by batch in varying degrees.

There were reports the school administration made efforts in dissuading students to mobilize before it took place.

On Thursday, the PHSA administration summoned the entire student body for an impromptu open forum after finding information regarding the protest.

The school management later said it is doing its best on issues raised by students, including the two-day long drinking water shortage.

The administration later summoned the parents of the students who joined the demonstration in an emergency meeting on Monday, reiterating the students participated in an ‘unauthorized gathering.’

The student council views the invitation as an overreaction to the creative and peaceful gathering to reiterate their inherent right to seek redress of grievances.