Netizens react to Marcos birthday pub

Based on online reactions, people are dismayed at the recent Facebook post from Upsilon Sigma Phi commemorating the 101st birthday anniversary of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos. The post describes then President Marcos as a “prolific orator,” an “intelligent statesman,” and likewise “polarizing” for “his administration’s marred corruption” and “rampant human rights abuse (sic).”


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Marcos was a member of Upsilon Sigma Phi, a fraternity based in the University of the Philippines. According to its website, it currently has two chapters—a combined chapter in UP Diliman and Manila, and another in UP Los Baños.

Among the fraternity’s notable figures are former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon, UPLB Chancellor Fernando Sanchez, and UP President Danilo Concepcion.

Recently, UP President Danilo Concepcion was under fire for his appearance last August 25 at the Kabataan Barangay reunion in UP Diliman where Ilocos Norte Governor (and daughter of the late dictator) Imee Marcos was guest of honor.

Below are some of the reactions regarding the post:

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Day of Remembrance

UP President Danilo Concepcion recently declared September 21, 2018 and September 21 of every year hereon as UP Day of Remembrance in honor of UP’s contributions at the forefront of the resistance against dictatorship and martial law. The proclamation was signed on September 17, 2018.

Likewise, the UPLB Department of Social Sciences is set to pay tribute to the victims of Martial Law on the Day of Remembrance, which will take place at the Humanities Steps in UPLB on September 19, Wednesday.

WORDS: Sonya Castillo
EDITED BY: Mac Andre R. Arboleda


UPLB students say ‘no’ to freshman recruitment ban—poll


Majority of respondents to an online poll posted via Twitter by UPLB Perspective disagree with the freshmen recruitment ban or OSA Memorandum No. 2 of the UPLB administration.

While 76% of the respondents disagree, 14% agree with the freshmen recruitment ban and only 10% said that they are “not sure.” The informal survey collected a total of 670 votes in 24 hours from September 6 to September 7, 2018.

In a recent dialogue with UPLB officials, the UPLB University Student Council (USC) clarified the basis of the memorandum. According to Office of Student Affairs (OSA) Director Atty. Eleno Peralta, the basis for the memo is the Board of Reagents (BOR) approved Student Code of Conduct of 1998. However, USC Chairperson John Joseph Ilagan clarified that the Student Code of Conduct only indicates the prohibition of freshmen recruitment for fraternities and sororities and not academic student organizations.

WATCH: UPLB students react to dialogue with UPLB administration

Atty. Peralta also added that “many students get dismissed” during their freshman years, citing their membership to student organizations as one of the reasons of dismissal. OSA has yet to present sufficient data on this claim.

Although the memorandum is not new, OSA has continually insisted that “freshmen need adjustment to university life” as one of the reasons for prohibition to join organizations. The discussion on the recruitment of freshmen is crucial especially now as student organizations have been deprived of opportunities for new members due to the K-12 shift that took place in the last two years.

In a manifesto of unity released by the UPLB USC, they condemned the administration’s continued enforcement of freshmen recruitment ban and the Org Recognition Policy, which they said “demonizes organizations” and “curtailed students’ rights to organize.” [P]

WORDS: Mac Andre R. Arboleda
EDITED BY: Caren Malaluan

UPLB students face disciplinary charges over broken glass door

breakingThree UPLB student protesters at the 2017 First Day Rage protest calling for free, quality, and accessible education have been served formal charges from the Office of Student Affairs Director, Atty. Eleno O. Peralta and the Student Disciplinary Tribunal.

Angelo S. Claveria, Sandra Lyn M. Dorington, and John Ludwig N. Valle are charged with damaging University property in violation of Section 2 (j) of the Rules and Regulations on Student Conduct and Discipline for damages on the Main Library door after the students militantly asserted for a dialogue with Chancellor Fernando Sanchez who, for many times, failed to personally sit down with the University Student Council (USC) and the students’ in a formal dialogue.

The First Day Rage protest on August 2, 2017 was held to address the hiatus in the registration of the First Semester of Academic Year 2017-2018 after the confusion brought about by the series of memos released prior the start of the first semester regarding the suspension of tuition fee collection.

On July 24, 2017, the UPLB Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA) released a memo announcing the suspension of tuition fee collection “until further notice” however, on July 31, a few days before the start of classes in UPLB, the Office of the UP President released a memo saying that UP shall use the Socialized Tuition System (STS) for Academic Year 2017-2018.

UPLB students on the first day of classes marched to the Main Library demanding for a dialogue with Chancellor Sanchez. Sanchez, however, left for a meeting with Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and had Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Portia G. Lapitan address the students outside the Main Library in an informal dialogue. Lapitan deserted the students in the middle of heated debates  on free tuition and registration concerns.

The students then, asserted for a formal dialogue given that there are concerns such as the late release of STS results, how the students and their parents would have to find means to pay for tuition after expecting no tuition collection for the semester, and the faulty registration system, Student Assistance and Information System (SAIS), among others. However, the University Police Force (UPF) and the Community Service Brigade (CSB) formed a barricade to block the Main Library entrance.

Tension between the students and the UPF and CSB ensued after the students werepromised entrance to the Main Library for a formal dialogue and was made to wait only for them to be once again denied entrance. After successfully getting into the main library which caused the broken library glass door, students reiterated their concerns regarding the registration and argued that free education in State Universities and Colleges is possible, citing studies on income generating projects by SUCs.

It was on that same semester when University of the Philippines stopped collection of tuition fee followed by President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of the RA10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act on August 3, 2017 after decades long pressure from student, youth, and progressive groups.

The struggle, however, for genuine free education continues as students are set to intensify campaigns for genuine free education. Student Councils across the UP system vowed to intensify their call for a genuine free education for all in the General Assembly of Student Councils adopting GASC Resolution No. 011-2018, “A resolution calling to intensify the call for genuine free education for all” via consensus. [P]



Ilagan to lead USC sans vice-chairperson

breaking[FIRST UPDATE: 10:27pm, April 24] This year’s UPLB University Student Council and College Student Council (USC-CSC) elections concluded with only 25.92% of the student population voting, or only 2578 out of 9943 students.

The voter turnout remained low despite the extension of the voting period during the second day to 5pm for college precincts and 7pm for the major precinct at Humanities building.

John Joseph “JJ” Ilagan of Samahan ng Kabataan para sa Bayan (SAKBAYAN) won the chairpersonship with 1319 votes.1259 students opted to abstain.

Meanwhile, with 1477 voters abstaining, Dannette “Dante” Sunga failed to bag the position of vice-chairperson. Sunga garnered 1101 votes.

During the meetings of the Central Electoral Board (CEB), it was discussed that in case a position remained vacant owing to a higher number of abstain votes, a snap election will be conducted immediately.

The new USC councilors are as follows:
Maria Angelica Abanilla, SAKBAYAN (843 votes)
Francis Andrei De Sagun, SAKBAYAN (729 votes)
Ervin Gandicela, SAKBAYAN (764 votes)
Sean Javier, SAKBAYAN (776 votes)
Marc Julian Manongdo, INDEPENDENT (987 votes)
Patricia Mae Mayor, SAKBAYAN (1088 votes)
Karl Benz Montesines, SAKBAYAN (820 votes)
Alfredo Palasin, SAKBAYAN (752 votes)
Peter Michael Separa, SAKBAYAN (807 votes)
Jasper Sunga, SAKBAYAN (882 votes)

The voter turnout per college is as follows:
CAFS – 35.55%
CEAT – 29.07%
CHE – 24.20%
CHE Online – 17.95%
CAS – 25.75%
CEM – 32.01%
CVM -34.09%
CDC – 48.90%
CFNR – 58.62%
GS -1.88%
The scheduled election proper was on April 18-19. However, the second day of the election was moved to April 24 due to a power outage in the campus last April19. #UPLBvotes

WORDS: Caren Malaluan

SAKBAYAN USC slate runs unopposed this election


Unlike previous UPLB University Student Council (USC) elections, this year’s candidates for the USC positions, except for the college representatives and an independent councilor, are from one political party only.

Last March 20, 2018, the Central Electoral Board (CEB) released the approved initial list of candidates for this year’s UPLB USC and College Student Council (CSC) elections.

Candidates that filed candidacy for the positions of USC chairperson, vice-chairperson, and councilors are all under Samahan ng Kabataan para sa Bayan (SAKBAYAN). No candidates from BUKLOD-UPLB filed for the said USC positions.

While BUKLOD-UPLB is not fielding any candidates for the USC positions and other CSC positions, the political party has a slate for the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) student council polls sans the councilors. Patricia Isabel Leron, Landcel Clarence Arcedo, and Vince Harvey Juan of BUKLOD-UPLB all filed candidacy for CAS representative, chairperson, and vice-chairperson, respectively.


USC-CSC Candidates vs. Abstain and Snap Elections

The approved initial list of candidates for the USC polls includes incumbent USC vice-chairperson John Joseph Ilagan and USC councilors Ervin Gandicela, Patricia Mae Mayor, and Danette Sunga with Ilagan and Sunga running for USC chairperson and vice-chairperson, respectively. Meanwhile, both Gandicela and Mayor are re-electionists.

Incumbent Graduate School (GS) representative to the USC, Marc Julian Manongdo also filed his independent candidacy for USC councilor.

As the SAKBAYAN standard bearers and most of the candidates for the CSC top positions run unopposed, the unopposed candidate, to be declared as an election winner, should win against the abstain votes by garnering at least fifty one percent of the total votes as per the new CEB ruling. Unopposed candidates who failed to obtain the required fifty one percent of total votes will not be acknowledged as winners.

In cases where there is no apparent winner for a specific position due to either a loss to abstain votes or a tie, a snap election must be conducted immediately on the following semester after the election (1st Semester A.Y. 2018-2019) as per the new CEB ruling.

Moreover, a snap election for the chairperson position in the College of Development Communication (CDC) is expected to take place on the following semester after incumbent CDC councilor and unopposed CDC chairperson candidate Albert John Enrico Dominguez withdrew his candidacy.

In a letter submitted to the CEB on March 26, Dominguez cited personal matters as the main reason for his decision to withdraw his candidacy. The following day, March 27, the CEB approved the candidacy withdrawal of Dominguez.

 Electoral activities

On March 16, 2018, Chancellor Fernando Sanchez issued a memorandum encouraging all UPLB students to participate in the electoral activities for this year’s USC-CSC elections. The following are the 2018 USC-CSC electoral activities:

Date and Time Activity
March 22 (1:00 pm) – April 17 (11:59 pm) USC-CSC Elections Campaign Period
April 10 (7:00 pm) Campus Forum
Before April 16 (7:00 pm) CSC Miting de Avance
April 16 (7:00 pm) USC Miting de Avance

The election proper will be on April 18-19. [P]

Words: Caren Malaluan

PHSA Students denounce admin’s move to add Imelda Marcos’ initials to the MARIA Scholarship


MARIA (Makiling Academy and Research Institute for the Arts) Scholarship given to Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA) graduates who have exhibited outstanding academic and artistic excellence in their years in high school has been awarded to recipients in the graduation last March 22 as MARIA-IRM Scholarship Award, with the initials of Imelda Romualdez-Marcos added to it.

PHSA, atop Mt. Makiling was established in 1977, a year after Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos established National Arts Center (NAC) on April 16, 1976 as a tribute to Filipino artists. To date, PHSA serves as a training ground for students inclined in the arts with its secondary program integrated with a special curriculum in the arts. Currently, there are five (5) majors PHSA students could focus on namely, Creative Writing, Dance, Music, Theater, and Visual Arts.

Recipient of the MARIA Scholarship Award will be receiving monthly subsidy from the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Board for his/her tertiary education. It has been two years since the PHSA held a graduation ceremony due to the implementation of the K-12 Curriculum and in the graduation held on March 22, PHSA students were surprised that what for the longest time was called MARIA Scholarship, was now dubbed as MARIA-IRM with the initials of the wife of the former President turned Dictator added to it.

PHSA students denounced the renaming of the MARIA Scholarship as attaching the initials of Imelda Marcos would seem like the subsidy will be coming from her while in fact the subsidy is from the CCP board and the Marcos family have no direct influence on the scholarship. In a statement released by Variations, PHSA’s student publication, they wrote, “adding the initials of the wife of the president, turned dictator, would imply that it is them who are responsible for helping the students through their tertiary education, when in fact, it is the taxes of the Filipino people.”

Variations also emphasized in their statement that the MARIA Scholarship was initially called MARIA-IRM however it was changed into MARIA Scholarship after Executive Order No. 420 “Converting the Philippine High School for the Arts into a Regular Government Agency,” thus unlinking the school from the Marcos family.

Students also pointed out that in the 2003 PHSA Student Handbook, the scholarship was referred to as MARIA Scholarship whereas in the recently distributed 2015 PHSA Student Handbook, the scholarship is recognized as MARIA-IRM.

Variations strongly denounced the move of the administration to rename the scholarship and the administration’s lack of transparency regarding the matter, Variations wrote, “to name the scholarship after the founders is simply ignorance, and the choice to unlearn what the mountains have taught.”

They also called out the administration’s reasoning that referring to the MARIA Scholarship as MARIA-IRM Scholarship during the graduation was a mistake from the script. Variations wrote, “to dub the incident as a ‘mistake from the script’ during the graduation is spineless.”

The statement released by Variations was first posted in their Facebook page but the post was taken down so the students reposted the statement in their personal accounts with Maura Aurel Yap, Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of Variations and Bianca Ysabel Rabe, President of the Supreme Student Government as signatories.

In an online interview with UPLB Perspective, Yap explained that the post was taken down by one of their staff after their adviser asked them to remove the post. The students were able to repost the statement with the provision in Section 6 of the Campus Journalism Act saying that “the function of the adviser is limited to one of technical guidance,” as basis for posting it despite the adviser’s prohibition.

With regard the administration’s silence on the matter, Variations wrote in their statement, “the media blackout from our school administration is simply proof that something happened without any of the students’ knowledge or consent. As journalists it is our duty to tell the truth, and to tell it well.”

Variations together with the PHSA students are waiting for answers from their administration who has remained silent all throughout. Yap, EIC of Variations who recently graduated, said in an interview with UPLB Perspective “What is the school admin afraid of? Why are they trying to hide the issue? Our school has been silent long enough. It’s time to speak up.”[P]


ELBI STRIPPED: Starbucks Gentrification


Elbi’s Disappearing Act

Less than a year has passed since Cady’s graduation yet when she visited last month, the campus has become a little more unfamiliar to her. A concrete skeleton stands on what used to be the home of We Deliver (or Silog Express), a meat shop, and hidden but loud photocopying shops. Its bottom is dressed in tarpaulin bearing a familiar cosmopolitan logo – Starbucks. Like other UPLB alumni, Cady feels the Elbi she has known is slowly being erased and replaced by a cosmopolitan fantasy. An army of tweets celebrated Starbucks’ arrival citing accessibility of good coffee and the transformation of Elbi to a modern university town. However, like the trojan horse that Troy wildly celebrated as a gift, the arrival of Starbucks is a premonition of much worse things to come.

The Starbucks Effect

Pierre Carapetian, a real estate broker in Canada, has observed that properties that surround a Starbucks store appreciate in value after the store opens. Quartz and The Gaurdian, two western news and opinion sites, have also cited the impact Starbucks and other coffee shops such as Dunkin Donuts have on property value.

Carpetian, Quartz, and The Guardian clarify that even prior to the construction and opening of a Starbucks store, properties that surround the lot are already high in value. Starbucks’ present aggravates the situation and encourages property values to skyrocket because of the personalities that flock the coffee shop.

While rising property values sounds good to property owners, it is the poor and low-middle class that suffer most of the brunt. As customers from upper and middle classes flock Starbucks, businesses would take the opportunity to acquire properties adjacent to the coffee shop to tap a new market. Businesses would offer owners of apartments, dormitories, or establishments that line Grove generous amounts of compensation for their desired properties. This would mean that owners would have to evict their tenants or residents to sell their property. It would also mean that owners will exploit this opportunity to increase rent to either attract a wealthier class to occupy their rooms or encourage big business to replace small sized businesses occupying their space. This is called Gentrification.

In the United States, the construction of Starbucks or a high-end apartment complex, meant that it was time for colored people to pack their bags and bid farewell to a town they called home for centuries if they can not afford the new set of rent prices. These gentrified areas were thriving pots of ethnic cultures but after Starbucks, they have become leisure spots for many of privileged American millennials.

While most of the occupants were able to relocate after the annex of Vega was torn down for Starbucks’ construction, some of the occupants who sold umbrellas and knick-knacks are now left on the pavements of Grove facing a possible threat of eviction from town authorities. Most were able to afford to relocate but those who can not shell out more are those who rely most on their livelihood to survive.

Jose Alejandro Inciong, a BS Biology graduate from UPLB, claims that there are rumors circulating in Los Banos that multinational corporations are on the hunt for property along Lopez and and National Highway for their local branches. He says that Starbucks is just one of the first few chapters of Elbi’s transfiguration.

New businesses opened by Multinational Corporations provide job opportunities and stimulate economic growth but at what cost? Their profits go to their coffers while they can avoid taxes and taxes can become politicized against the provincial poor.

Coffee could warm the sleepless Iskolar but it has left the evicted and financially disempowered cold on the streets.

The Untapped, rising

The renovation of Selina’s, Dunkin Donuts and Paponei’s, the rise of Centtro Boulevard and BonChon, the opening of National Bookstore, and the expansion of Bugong and Seoul Kitchen in the recent years are symptoms that Elbi’s profile has changed. The sudden and unexpected demise of Sulyaw, a legendary establishment known for its cheap meals (and world-class sanitation), could have been a trigger that Elbi was moving away from frugality (this could be true if not for the sudden stardom of Bogart’s Bentelog)

It is safe to assume that the demographic now consists of students who come from middle and upper income classes of the population. While Elbi culture demands one reforms their own ways to adapt to the hermit and frugal life of an Elbitizen, the current demographic’s desire for a cosmopolitan life defined by coffee consumption is about to be tapped. The harms that these desires and businesses bring might be unintended but they have long term implications. Higher property prices and the existence of highly valued establishments affect the cost of living in the university town.

Expensive rents would mean lesser options for current and prospective students who come from low income backgrounds. Education is free but students and parents also weigh in cost of living as part of choosing a university. Expensive restaurants might not kill all budget-friendly establishments but it trims down cheaper options for students. Much worse is the threat of eviction faced by established but cheap restaurants by big corporations and profit-driven property owners. In this scenario, the solution of providing stipends for low-income students is good but how far those stipends can go is the next question that needs to be resolved.

If Elbi refuses if not fails to address this, the university student population becomes less heterogenous by being composed more by the middle and upper classes. The consequence for academic freedom and diversity are harmful because it would mean a community who would have lesser boundaries of difference with regards to lived experience, thinking, and lifestyle. Much frightening are the lost talents and intellect who refuse to pursue Elbi because of high cost of living.

It is not Elbi’s obligation to adjust to the demands and desires of the middle and upper class for high priced coffee or Korean fried chicken. If market forces become the Oracle of our faith as a community, patronizing the remaining local cheap establishments could be a weapon to signal a strong demand.

If Elbi becomes a town of the privileged, does a state university then fully serve its purpose?

Like many alumni, Cady plans to visit Elbi annually because she still considers it as home. But she has to confront the question – “Is it still home when the parts of pieces of it have changed?”

She just hopes, Elbi doesn’t pull off an entire disappearing act.[P]

Words: John Albert Pagunsan; Graphics: Maria Maxine Jaleco