"THE STRENGTH AND TOMORROW IS IN US!"
A message in support of Progressive-leaning studentry against the rotten system
By Lualhati Madlangawa Guererro
Alongside the opening of the year is the start of the student council elections in different colleges, universities in the Philippines. And one key objective of every student is to be active in the electing the next student leaders of their respective institutions.
However, despite the promises, discourse and speeches laid upon to them, we must recall the important events in history in order to know the victories of its past, the challenges of the present, and the directions needed to take upon for tomorrow. It is also important to know who's really active, having a strong stand in regards to the problems and willingness to serve the people, particularly the students and its rights and welfare.
As of this day, most progressive student political parties, like STAND UP, ASAP KATIPUNAN, SAMASA, KBPA and TNSPA of UE Recto and Caloocan, ACT NOW of UST and DARE ARELLANO, shown its defiance against the system from opposing yearly tuition increases to massive student repression and state terrorism. And its collective strength, with the help of the students and perhaps their respective communities itself lead to greater victories as it actively defending the studentry and the people in the middle of direct attacks against their right to education, progressive instruction, and other aspects of academic freedom and welfare.
From the 1.39 Billion Peso budget cut in UP, as well as similar ones in other SUCS, to the yearly increase in tuition and other fees in Private Schools laid widespread opposition amongst students all despite massive harassment and coercion by the administration and some faculty members allied in it. Worse, being responded with actions like those in PUP and once in UE-that led to expulsions. Sorry to say but these actions manifested how crisis affected the studentry and of course the laboring people while the profiteers, educator compradores insist in increaseing profits alongside the use of Fascism in their respective institutions. Yet continuously being resisted by collective efforts laid by the studentry-leading to victories like the additional 110 Million Peso in maintainance and other operating expenses budget of SUCs, the 226 Million additional budget for UP, and even scrapping of such attempts detrimental to the studentry like the "No Long Hair Policy" in UE.
We must also remember that attempts for budget cuts in education and social services as well as yearly tuition and other fee increases are a part of the system's program to appease the profiteers and the growing trend of Globalization, Commercialization, Privatization and other "Ions" that is pleasing for their personal ambitions like giving away public owned land to private corporations and telling to the studentry like "improvement" as an alibi like Ayala Technohub and other similar projects in collaboration with private institutions. Same as in private schools, wherein the increase in tuition and other fees resulted to increase in dropouts, all coming from the lower middle and working classes.
So is the actions laid by the administrators against those who oppose their policies contrary to the basic rights and welfare of the students:
In UP Visayas and Los Banos, rampant militarization violated the UP-MND accord and other agreements respecting academic freedom and non intervention from state elements, especially the military.
In PUP, that we've also noticed how intelligence agents and other members of the military, using alibis and actions in order to enter premises in order to harass, coerce the studentry, especially activists who continuously oppose state repression and antipeople policies. Only to be responded with capture and even beatings from the studentry itself.
In UE, the "No long hair policy" attempt, was strongly opposed by the studentry, particularly the LGBT sector until it was scrapped despite justifications coming from the administrators itself, saving face as expected.
Other actions, such as harassing fraternity members and even activists, members of progressive student parties fuel discontent and opposition as the system continuously insisted...and responded by student power.
In national and international matters, we've witnessed the rise in commodities and expenses all despite Aquino's "reforms" in the economy and the society. Last time, we've witnessed the rise in MRT-LRT fares, SLEX and NLEX tolls, prices of oil, sugar, even bread and other basic commodities that may also affect the daily budget of our families and of course ourselves who used to work long hours as part time employees with salaries not enough for our standing. There are still certain attempts to increase tuition and other fees, as well as creating measures just to extract more profits from the majority itself. We've also witnessed the tragic events in which the poor people hath suffered greatly for many years. Demolitions in urban poor communities like San Roque and in San Juan, the failure of "land reform" programs, low wages for the working class and constantly increasing number of victims of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and other forms of human rights violations made us open the real state of the nation what the system tries to hid it from our very eyes.
It is clearly to know that most of our rights, especially to have a decent education, experienced a difficult challenge courtesy of the system; along with intensification of the general crisis of the society. And thus, it is why most students challenge the people in general to integrate all our strength to strength over the vast number of citizens to create a genuine, militant and patriotic change.
Today, we must continuously fight for and defend student's rights and welfare same as the Pilipino people in general. We must also continue the struggle for the advancement of our democratic rights and welfare and a Nationalist, Scientific, mass oriented education system. We must also take the opportunity to be a part of the process in which genuine social change is ought to be commenced.
And as time goes by, with the student council elections draws near, students, both state and private must choose those who are "genuine, militant, and patriotic" enough and seriously willing to serve the students and the community faithfully being adherents of student power and participant in people's democracy; and with the help of the students and the people, we must collectively adhere, support, defend the rights and welfare, not just the students, but also the entire nation.
ATIN ANG LAKAS, ATIN ANG BUKAS!
THE STRENGTH AND TOMORROW IS IN US!