Wednesday, December 2, 2009



Last December 2, students, employees and members of the UP community were assembled and staged a protest as president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the rest of her retinue arrived in a newly built building in that said campus.

That protest becomes a brawl since these peacefully assembled groups of individuals, shouting slogans against the president are end up being forcefully dispersed by groups of policemen, whom calling them as "drug addicts" and even arrested a man after being beaten by canes. That protest, despite being peaceful in setting becomes a disaster-simply due to the actions of quick tempered policemen.

How come these non-UPDP (University of the Philippines Department of Police) policemen enter the premises of a university campus famous for its academic freedom? Well... as what the progressive bloc expect, the reactionary-leaning UP administration somehow approved this kind of idea without any consent from the rest of the student body. Of having these men enter the premises as "additional protection" to the president, worse? These men are ignorant in entering a campus whose famous for academic freedom and of its autonomy, and instead thinking of it as a breeding ground for radicals!

And since they think of it as a radical bastion and not of an autonomous university, these policemen, with the blessing of a reactionary-minded Chancellor named Sergio Cao, had acquired a right to break off the protests illegally and even giving them license to use violence as possible against these peaceful protesters inside the university. To the rest of the community somehow will call this as truly immoral, if not, as malicious for Chancellor Cao of UP Diliman to inflict this violence on his own constituency. Of beating students, faculty, and employees under his own jurisdiction.

Somehow the community tried much to resist the violent actions these policemen gave upon to them, and despite every blows of rattan canes and truncheons unleashed by these people, the protest remained still as it was, shouting slogans and listening to speeches and waving flags of dissent against the regime. And as for Arroyo? She didn't come out of the vehicle and had it canceled due to the actions of the people laid upon against her-these shows how coward she was as she unexpectedly met these people rallying against her.

And according to the protesters, there are reasons why they tend to protest against her, to a person known for her anti-people policies and her corruption. Here as it follows (courtesy of the statement made by the UP community last December 3):

"The immediate provocation was the Ampatuan massacre of 60 persons which included the killings of 30 journalists, two women-lawyers and over twenty women. This carnage underscored Arroyo’s lack of political will in confronting the Ampatuan clan and her inability to enforce authority in Maguindanao having ceded it to these warlords whom she and Garci relied on for votes in 2004 and 2007...

In addition, the day before Arroyo’s planned visit to the university, she filed her certificate of candidacy for Pampanga representative, further underlining her intent to stay in power.

But beyond these immediate reasons, the UP community has long been outraged by the corruption, fraud, terror, and impunity that have marked Arroyo’s nine years in office. The University Council of UP Diliman has come out with two statements demanding that “GMA must go” and another statement condemning the abductions of UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, who remain missing to this day.

Arroyo’s neoliberal education policies, which have required state universities and colleges including UP to generate revenues to cover the limited budget allocation for public higher education institutions, have led to increases in tuition and other fees and reliance on private donors such as Toyota and Ayala for badly needed infrastructure, transforming UP into a commercialized institution. Furthermore, Arroyo’s budget proposal for 2010 for the university means a budget cut of over P2 billion, including a P280 million cut in the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) of the university, the biggest in recent years."

Through the statement being said shows how these people had a reason to protest against her. Especially on her neoliberal education policies wherein it includes increases in tution and other fees as well as of commercialization of institutions-that makes the educational system more of creating a labor force working for the foreigner than of a new breed of professionals serving the nation. The proof? Of having private donors creating buildings that aren't educational, just like the Ayala technopark in Diliman where you only see call centers instead of classrooms. So what's educational in it? Studying a good course to become a skilled worker in the call center industry? Perhaps, the people who are protesting somehow opposed to this scheme, and it is their right to say it for education was and is a right and accessible to all-simply by allocating a large chunk of budget to the education sector, instead of being contented to private donors just to build call centers and any buildings of some sort that seemed contrary to educational practises.

How about the desparecidos?
Cadapan, Empeno and other disappeared persons remained questionable as they are still unsurfaced, dead or alive by the authorities during her military-centric regime. Somehow the right-wingers and its allies are still assailing these disappeared and calling them as rebels and be called as dead or whatsoever, thinking that opposition to the Arroyo regime meant to be terrorism, insurgency, rebellion, treason, and other name calling words of some sort that came out from their subjective mindsets. Is the Philippine justice becomes apathetic to these people? Will they be surfaced in order to return to their families? Perhaps Arroyo tried much to wash hands as she could and acting ignorant regarding this situation-that makes the people continue protesting against her!

And to make the long story short,
The simple reason these people are protesting? They are tired of her regime, and somehow due to the terrible experiences these people faced from 2001 to this date, injustice remained still as basic problems continue to dominate the Filipino scene; so we may expect more and more protests to come around not just in Metro Manila, but in every corner of the Philippines. And thus, every member of the UP community, and even the rest of the people may remember this kind of "barbaric" incident against a people clamoring for change in the system.