By PAMELA MENDOZA
On the second death anniversary of Kristel Tejada, UPLB students wore black and gathered in front of the CAS building to protest against repressive policies against students, including the plan to remove the University Student Council (USC) and the UPLB Perspective offices from the second floor of Student Union (SU) Building.
Initiated by the USC, various organizations joined the protest, including Samahan ng Kabataan para sa Bayan (SAKBAYAN, Anakbayan Southern Tagalog, League of Filipino Students (LFS), Gabriela-Youth, Umalohokan, KASAMA SA UP, SLAM Aquino Movement, Sigma Alpha Nu Sorority, and UP Cell Biological Society (UP CELLS), where they joined and expressed their qualms in the current national state of education.
This activity was held as the Code of Student Conduct was being discussed at SU’s Makiling Ballroom. It was also only a few weeks after a student from Cagayan State University, committed suicide after not being able to take an exam upon failing to pay increased matriculation fees.
Alongside the Blackout Protest in UPLB, activities in other places were conducted, such as a separate mobilization in Crossing Calamba; PUP Sto. Tomas and De La Salle University-Dasmariñas (DLSU-D) students took photos that have speech balloons shouting against commercialization of education. There was a walkout in UP Diliman, and a unity march by students from Southern Luzon State University and Manuel S. Enverga University Foundation in Lucena City.
According to Diego Torres, chairperson of Anakbayan ST, the Blackout Protest played an important role amid the many activities held in telling the students the anomalies in the school and national administration and how large the damages already have been, including the deaths of Kristel Tejada and the CSU student.
Meanwhile, nearly 1000 signatures from students were gathered in petition sheets on the renovation of the SU building. These were presented in a meeting between the USC, Perspective, and Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez Jr. [P]
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