“What use is being an Iskolar ng Bayan if we do not persevere to serve the people,” Student Regent Mico Pangalangan says during his End of Term Report.
According to SR Pangalangan, “the board is anti-student…unless they are aware that there is protest. But the thing is, it gives us enough weight. We also realize that the OSR and councils, and pubs, are the hardest of the student movement.”
SR Pangalangan raised four GPOA in his report:
- Youths participation in the national arena
- Heightened student representation and protecting student welfare
- Multi-sectoral collaboration
- On-line and onground communication
GENUINE STUDENT REPRESENTATION
The P2.2 Billion Budget Cut
SR Pangalangan discussed the 2.2 billion budget cut that faced UP, alongside with the increase of tuition fees by CHED. Student councils join protest, systemwide walkout, wherein 3500 students walked out.
#UPFight Against Fees, Cuts, and Commercialization — a campaign demanding our state to provide its people our right to education, an assertion to stop the profiteering from our education. “Education is a right, not a commodity, and most definitely, is not a privilege,” SR added.
With Rise for Education (R4E) and CMC, Undercut against the Budget Cut, students try to be creative in the student statements. The 2.2 B is a phantom budget cut. Pangalangan highlighted the filing of amendments to HB 6132. Support has been received from the students, together with Kabataan Partylist Representative Sarah Elago.
Senate budget deliberations transpired. Support has been given by senators, by the congress.
Rise for Education Alliance (R4E Alliance)
This intensified many campaigns including the unified call to junk the socialized tuition system, and demand free education. The OSFs serve as profiteering mechanisms a scheme to liberate the state from providing sufficient funds for the MOOES. These are exorbitant, dubious fees.
SR tells story of cases in UP Cebu Admin and UPLB CDC laboratory fees. These cases have been income generating. With regards to the fees, it is unknown where they go, but they [the administration] gain money from it. He also reiterated the stories of protest in Mendiola on OSF, and death of our fellow iskolar ng bayan Kristel Tejada. “Education is something that should empower us. However, our right, has become a commodity only availed by the privileged.”
“The budget is really increasing, what we [students] are calling for is not just a higher budget for education, but to end this. We cannot socialize education, it is a right,” SR pointed out.
This has been a result of the commercialized and semi-privated dormitories. This is because of K-12. With the implementation of K-12 under Aquino administration increased the freshman admission because there will be no freshman for years. This is not just a problem of the K-12 but by privatization and commercialization.
Money is extorted from students twice over. First is through STS. Second is through exorbitant and dubious rate of a dorm slot. This rate includes 3000 per person, food, water, and electricity bill not included.
The College of Law Dean said that there is a need to have income from the dorms, so that income will sustain the trust fund of the faculty of the College of Law.
UP Diliman Extension Program in Pampanga asserted for the construction of a dormitory within campus. To add, the UP Visayas Tacloban administration cancelled the plans to construct a dormitory. They constructed nipa huts instead.
Org Registration in UP Los Banos and the 2014 Code of Student Conduct
The administration threatens students with the repressive Code of Student Conduct. UPLB students registered their own organizations, not under the Org Recognition. Office of Student Affairs disregarded the students.
SR Pangalangan also stressed the importance of protest. “One thing we have to remember is the term breach of peace. If you are using your right of expression in a protest, and other people don’t agree with you, they will file a breach of peace. We must not be daunted and we must not apologize when we must stand up and speak against this repression. As long as we remain as a collective, broadening and uniting our ranks, the fascist administration and their repressive policies can and will be junked,” he said.
The 1st University Committee for Student Affairs (UCSA) and Resolutions:
UCSA has the capacity to publish resolutions. Four out of the eight submitted resolutions which have been passed include the following:
- Heightened student representation: student representative in the selection process of the Dean, Chancellor, and Director OSA.
- Proposal for student insurance from UP Visayas and entire UP System. However, the demand has been rejected due to the absence of source of funds.
- Refinement of the SET.
- Increasing the benefits of student athletes at the system level.
Four other submitted points for deliberations which have been rejected include the issues on Dormitories, Org Recognition, Campus Militarization, and Democratic Rights.
In UP Diliman, it was reported that the College of Architecture, College of Arts and Letters, and the Asian Institute of Tourism administration advised students with less than 6 units pre-enlisted to take a leave of absence. In UPLB, 5000 students were unregistered as of 28 January 2016.
These are cases which show how the registration problems affect students, not just because of the insufficient budget for personnel services, limited items to hire more professors and staff, but because of the prioritization of the administration on profit-generating projects.
K-12 induced influx of freshmen increased the demand for subjects. After the immediate effect of the influx, the succeeding semesters will have fewer professors teaching because the administration has advised them to go on study leave, focus on research and publish instead. This is an entire attack, not just by UP but by the entire country, the global economy.
Militarization in UP
This militarization is not just to UP but by UP itself.
On the 31st of March 2016, the Board confirmed the memorandum of agreement between the Philippine Army through the 11th Regional Community Defense Group and UP. The MoA activates the ROTC in UP Mindanao.
In UP Mindanao, there are 100 PNP inside interrogating students on their organization, and course. In UP Tacloban, there are military before Yolanda. “It is scrutiny. We should not see it as an opportunity to be influenced by the military, but the students to the military. The cadets are not military, they are students,” Pangalangan said.
It shows the violation of the DND Accord 1989 by then UP President Abueva and then Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos. This gives the university a reason to say no to the entering of police and military.
In UPD, the police caught five individuals who later identified themselves as members of the PNP. Chancellor Tan released an open letter to the PNP due to the violation of the DND accord.
SR Pangalangan talks about how the admin did not take any course of action in the defense of the students. He calls for uniting as a student sector to enlighten and mobilize other student sectors. The 41st GASC passed resolutions calling to junk the STS and OSFs, uphold democratic rights of students, demanding the Aquino regime to all free political prisoners including Maricon Montajes.
SR cited the case of The Taysan Three which the motion for bail has been approved. They were falsely accused because of red tagging.
The Commercialization of Education
The legacy systems across the system were developed at virtually no expense, incurring only salaries for the programmers who maintain them.
750 million is the budget for eUP, which is a pet project of PAEP. Its vision is “one UP” which aims for “operational excellence”.
22 million is the budget for the Student Academic Information System (SAIS) over the UPD CRS (14M), UPM CRS (15M), UPMIN CRS (3.3 M), and UPLB SystemOne (480 K).
“eUP is a failed attempt to prove that we need to privatize our operations to compete with international universities. Privatizing our operations will do us more harm,” Pangalangan said.
The commercialization of UP is evident with the UP BGC, UP Clark Green City, UP Cavite Technopark, among others. For the case of the Henry Sy Sr. Hall and such cases, the SR reiterated that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with donating money to the university. However, renaming a building and an entire course to a Marcos crony such as Virata is historical revisionism.
UP Cavite Technopark
Five hectares of land within the University Town of Vista City is to be given to UP. Also, infrastructure development worth of P100 million will also be donated by Vista Land. With this, tuition fee will be high to cover the expenses for the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses.
University Town of Vista City
These campuses are not being created to provide accessible and quality education to the masses in different regions, not to democratize UP, but to serve as a factory producing an immediate labor force to be exploited by companies controlled by the few and elite.
UP Return Service Agreement
“Academic freedom, liberal education, and our democratic rights are lost in commercialized education.” CPHSC initiative forced the administration to review the RSA framework. The RSA which intends to address the brain drain has transformed into an income generating mechanism.
The K-12 Program and the General Education Reforms
The university welcomed students to the second semester with a massive neoliberal attack, reforming 2012 hybrid general education program which embodies the liberal education identified with UP. The UPD USC created a GE taskforce to critique and to review the 2012 GE program as a prerequisite to any reform.
The general education reform is an initiative to streamline the education and narrow the specialization to meet the needs of international market and foreign interests instead of providing holistic, nationalist, scientific, mass oriented education grounded on the concrete conditions of the Philippines.
THE OSR AS ONE WITH THE UP COMMUNITY
The Shopping Center
There has been a 400% increase in the rental rate for the concessionaires in the shopping center. “Why are we increasing? They want to use these assets for income generating initiatives.”
Commercialization would mean increase in the fees of basic student services. The administration disregards additional financial burden since UP is earning from it.
UP Tacloban Santa Elena Transfer
When Yolanda destroyed part of UP Tacloban campus, the land for commercial use is bigger than the land allocated for UP use, thus PAEP changed land legend from ‘commercial use’ to ‘future use’.
Academic purposes of UP will be set in the middle of nowhere. The administration has many plans, not for the interest of the students.
SR also highlighted the fire which took place in the faculty center. He pointed out that the faculty should be given amount equal to their actual loss.
THE OSR AS ONE WITH THE NATION
Why are the paramilitary entering the lumad lands?
Neoliberal policies exist protecting transnational miners. When the lumad want justice for the leaders killed, administration turns a blind eye; it is upon us to oppose these policies.
SR Pangalangan highlights that with unified action, the unified march; it shows the need to find an initiative to expose. A dialogue with UPD Chancellor Tan, then pushes to allow the Manilakbayan in the university.
An anti-APEC forum has been held. He pointed out as to why is there a movement against APEC. SR Pangalangan said that through APEC, it maintains ascendency of power over us, Philippines. It opens our economy to be dominated by transnational companies.
This is a system initiative for post calamity response which serves as a venue for student councils in extending relief and support to other regions.
Task Force FREEDOM
This has been a campaign spearheaded by CMCSC advocating the advancement of human rights and the release of all political prisoners which includes Maricon Montajes. The petition for bail has been approved to P2.1 million. The system joins effort for the release of the freedom.
SR highlighted the Kidapawan massacre. It shows, in a national scale, that general agrarian reform is absent. The legislators are land lords, President Aquino for example. Students from Mindanao went to Kidapawan to find out what was happening to know the truth about the farmers; SR Pangalangan commended the students who are willing to do such action.
The Continuing State Neglect of the Students and the Masses
SR Pangalangan reported the approved tuition hike by CHED on the 400+ private higher education institutions in 2015 and 300+ in 2016. Cases of Kristel Tejada, Rosana San Fuego, and Jesseven Lagatic have been cited which are victims of commercialized education.
Kabataan Tayo ang Pag-asa
The iskolar ng bayan unite in campaign demanding free education for all, with simultaneous nationwide campaign. The Office was the main convener of the Kabataan Tayo ang Pag-Asa which initiated mechanisms to encouraged the youth to participate in the national elections to elect leaders who forward the people’s interest.
May 1 – Labor Day
Labor Day is uniting with the working class, joining multiple sectors demanding to end contractualization. There is a mechanism exploiting the working class, depriving them of the right to union, no job security and tenure even after years, if not decades of service. The call to end contractualization has been raised.
SR Pangalangan also pointed out that K-12, along with TESDA, will divert millions of Filipinos to the technical and vocational job opportunities which are contractual.
THE CHALLENGES WE MUST FACE
The search for the next UP President
SR Pangalangan highlighted that with this search, it is a high tide tor the students to assert their principles. Students must have a clear voice and assert the demands of students. The UP president should stand by the interests of the students.
Support for People’s Agenda for President Duterte
There is a need to support Duterte’s agenda by scrutinizing his leadership and unite to support the peace talks. SR said to let the youth unite in support of the peace talks between the National Democratic Front and the Philippine government.
“What use is your perfect attendance if you are absent in times of action? Why raise your hand for recitation if you do not raise a clenched fist in times of protest? What use is the iskolar ng bayan if we do not persevere to serve the people?” SR Pangalanan says as he ended his term report.
#SR2016 | Point of Manifestations and Messages from Student Councils
UP Mindanao’s manifested that the resistance by the OSR is always powerful and they commend OSR for being pro student for being open and not being silent whenever there are anti-student policies.
UP Manila Public Health also manifested by thanking the SR for responding to the students’ protest and served not only the students but also the people.
UP Visayas’ manifested by recognizing the OSR for being pro people and pro student in time of need and for continuous support. They pointed out that education is becoming a privilege already when in fact education is a key to development. “Every child is dreaming of having the iconic student number although being an Iskolar ng Bayan is not only fighting inside the university, we are in UP because we recognize the rotten system and we need to fight it.”
SR then called on UPD CMC for their manifestation, wherein they thanked the OSR for passing the petition for bail that was granted recently for Maricon Montajes. There were times that hope is lost because of this system. “May mga oras sa kampanya na nawawalan ng pag-asa dahil sa kabulukan ng sistema, yung napakarami pang isko na kinulong dahil sila ay lumalaban, maraming salamat sa OSR dahil sa wakas ay napakalapit na nating makasama dito sa labas. Kaming mga lagad ng media ay nagpupugay sa lahat ng suporta ng OSR.”
“Sana po ay suportahan natin nang lubusan ang people’s agenda ng ating pangulong Duterte, kung tutuparin niya ang kanyang pangako na palayain ang mga political prisoner hindi na natin kailangan pang mamalimos upang palayain ang mga political prisoners.”
UPD CAL SC said that there are a lot of problems that UP students are facing. The OSR was always there to respond to these problems– dorm crisis, budget cut, lumad killings, multi-sectoral alliance of UPD, and STS.
“This is a product of collective action of students who are tired of the rotten system.”
SHS Koronadal was the next to manifest and thanked the OSR because of responding to their problems in Koronadal.
The UPM MSC also manifested that health is inaccessible at the moment – lack of doctors, nurses etc. The budget for health care is not enough. “During the RSA workshop, 1 vote of students vs 7 votes admin, but we are the larger population in UP. We must continue our rights for education and health.”
UP Visayas pointed out that the campaign must not end. During 2011, there was an Anakbayan chair threatened to kill a co-student. “Right after the martial law, bills are passed to avoid this yet there are still some who enter our university and some are arrested. Our service is to fight oppression.”
UPLB thanked the OSR for its accomplishment especially during the registration. They are saddened that the UP code of students is being limited. They want other SCs to step out of their comfort zones.
UPM also thanked SR Pangalangan. They recognized that the OSR is not perfect, and these criticisms should be used to make the office stronger. “To dismiss the victories that we had, is to dismiss the mobilization of the people. We should always look forward in strengthening the students.”
The UPD EPP SC manifested in behalf of their student council and thanked the OSR. Their campus is inside the military base and when SR came it was slowly changed and it strengthened their argument. They also shared a message of a political prisoner from Pampanga and pointed out the role of the Philippine youth as catalysts of change; and also the youth’s ability to mobilize and serve the people.
UPLB CASSC pointed out the freshman ban recruitment in organizations. They thanked the OSR who lead the dialogue in org registration as well as the org tambayan phase out. According to them these issues can be resolved if students work together.
UPV SOTECH said that they had a dean selection, but one did not recognize the student movement. The one who was pro-student did not win because of bureaucracy.
UPV CFOS thanked the SR and pointed out that they are victims of lab fees, they are not sure how to solve it. But the OSR supported them.
UPD CSWDSC said that in UPD there is a rent increase of the shopping centers and it wasn’t changed during Mico’s term. They said that every member of the UP community must fight against it.
The session has been suspended at 7:21 p.m. Discussion of the UP Situation followed as the session resumes.