‘Planking’ issue later, higher social service budget now—advocates

During a rally in UPLB, varsity players and students 'planked' and formed the words "UP FIGHT" to call for higher state funding to UP and education sector.

The Anti-planking bill received criticisms from anti-budget cut campaigners as they claim that the legislation is very untimely because it diverts the public from focusing and participating in campaigning against budget cuts on social services including education, mentioning as well that the bill is unconstitutional.

Save Our Education Movement, a Southern Tagalong region-based multi-sectoral alliance against budget cut, was dismayed when Quezon City Second District Rep. Winnie Castelo filed an Anti-Planking bill in Congress today. In an interview, Save Our Education Movement Spokesperson Allen Lemence said that Castelo should focus first on the issue at hand, instead of pursuing for the said bill, which he claimed as a violation of the constitutionally-guaranteed right to freedom of expression.

“To some, the planking may not be attractive. But to us, it is one of the youth’s way of expressing their protests,” Lemence said. “So instead of curtailing our right to freely express our grievances, Most Honorable Castelo should join us in calling for higher state subsidy for education. It may not be through planking but through using his wit and his position [as congressman] to urge his fellow legislators to approve higher state subsidy for education,” he continued.

Lemence promoted the planking along with other creative activities of the youth and students to protest against budget cuts on social services and call for higher state subsidy on education and other services. Lemence cited as an example the “Malikmata” art exhibit of the Kartunista-Manunulat Kolektib that is being held today in University of the Philippines Los Banos as part of their build-up activities heading toward the nationwide campus strikes on Sept. 23 against budget cuts.

“Even Beauty Queen Shamcey Supsup called for free and quality education and higher state funding on state universities and colleges like her alma mater UP. Rep. Castelo should make such statement too rather than overrating planking,” Lemence ended. ###

Reference:         Allen Lemuel Lemence

Spokesperson, Save our Education Movement


Mark Vincent Baracao and Beverly Laguartilla

Media desk, Save Our Education Movement

saveoureducationmovt@gmail.com | 09352986944; 09358676334

Facebook: Save Our Education Movement

                                Strike Lead

Facebook: CEGP Pambansang Opisina


One Comment on “‘Planking’ issue later, higher social service budget now—advocates”

  1. nielsky_2003 says:

    Anti-planking bill – a cursory view.

    ‘Anti-Planking Act of 2011’ as read in House Bill No. 5316 has just been blest with public attention never before seen.

    As soon as it took off, it hit the chart as the top trending topic in the Philippines and to swing back as the third most-talked about theme worldwide in the social media networking site, Twitter.

    One Carlo Ople opines that it is just a matter of time how this phenomenal social contagion spread. In short, it has reached unforeseen viral proportion as to be posted in Sunday New York Times Magazine if by way of a comic and the Washington Post, not to mention in many other online sites to the point of ‘notoriety’.

    A growing negative perception seems to be taking shape, albeit, more from a single sector, call it, the Filipino youth from all over the globe. But that more likely indicates how, as a fad or a game, planking is revered by a whole universe of youngsters, plankers and all.

    Understandably, when a youngster hears that, however he may have missed first reading the bill, its explanatory note, and the press statement of the author, the immediate reaction translates into a resistance game.

    But perhaps, if that youngster, planker or not, only gets to hear the news from the horse’s mouth, in a manner of speaking, this negative mindset might be quickly obliterated. Besides, Twitter is about twitting which is not necessarily synonymous with ‘thinking first before clicking’ (the keyboard).

    Be that as it may, it will be instructive to go over the materials made available. The bill’s main text, the bill’s explanatory note (an abstract), and the press statement that was rolled out are but the three items that one disinterested reader should have at hand to arrive at a more enlightened understanding.

    From the outline, the negative global response to Castelo’s ‘Anti-Planking Act’ is a social epidemic of sorts, viral if you may, that does not have to have a cure any more than efforts by those in support of the legislative measure should also find space in the reading chart to say their piece.

    Let this piece be one.

    Something happened in the streets of Espana in Sampaloc, Manila that saw some twenty human planks rolled out to block, presumably, the otherwise normal traffic at that road turnabout. Planking in this particular case digressed from the common reason why its enthusiasts do planking in the first place. This self-satisfying art where practitioners find personal fulfillment is reinvented to be the message itself in radical or militant social upheavals.

    And it was as if these student protesters who did the planking perform the photo-requiring act as a sign that they sympathize with PISTON, the organization that launched the mass transport strike which in turn caused humungous but undue traffic inimical to public order and safety.

    With this in mind, perhaps, Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo thought of drafting a measure lest this scene might repeat itself in the future to the point that unforeseen and fatal consequences might arise from it – especially so if soon adopted as an acceptable form of free speech or expression.

    Except that the author thinks otherwise and some, though quite a few for now, have ‘blogged’ their views on the bill appreciative of the salient points raised therein by the author.

    So who should really cry wolf?

    What really caused the phenomenal viral epidemic as though one tiny idea invaded the inner recesses of the “Big Brain”?

    At bottom, the bill is to my mind, about a societal concern which could be expressed by anyone, a parent at best, who gets to see in the newspapers pictures of people serving as living planks in national highways in order to prevent, purposively, all sorts of vehicles from crossing a turnabout road.

    Is it unfair to be concerned enough?

    Let us proceed. In the main text of the bill, a Code of Student Conduct shall be prescribed for use in all schools, colleges, and universities. And Dep Ed takes care of this job in the case of elementary and high school students while CHED in the case of college or university students. Is there anything wrong with that so far?

    A code of conduct of whatsoever form is of course always in service of a desired brand of discipline and propriety that any bonafide student should give heed to or violations thereof shall be a valid basis for suspension to dismissal depending on the gravity of offense. Thus if a student violates what the school or agency of government prohibits, he may have to be slapped with administrative sanctions. Is this wrong?

    Planking, just planking, is purposively covered in the bill if it is occasioned by a street rally or similar protest action as a form of redress of grievance. This seems to be the single and only conditionality that the bill proposes to take into account. This is one important point that vibrant detractors should not miss.

    It is clear that the bill’s author does not intend to push planking as an art to the archives. Nor does he intend to inject poison into that constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of expression. This anti-planking bill is not intended to shelve this highest fundamental freedom in a democracy.

    Planking as art, fad, trend or craze remains. It was never under siege.

    In the name of safety to life and limb, the bill throws its moorings. And whatever punishment or penalty implied in violation of the bill vis a vis appropriate sanctions is something for either Dep Ed or CHED to prescribe when it issues the pertinent rules and regulations to carry out the provision of the Act.

    From where I stand, it seems difficult to see what awesome germ or virus must have carried with it the contagious illusion that HB 5316 is a fascist move, its release as it were, occasioned by the anniversary of martial law.

    In that universe called Twitter, most anyone seems to have really thrown their weight – and even curse or swear words – were thrown in the path possibly degrading of Congress if not to the author of the proposed measure.

    Truth belabored, bills are mere proposals from anyone of Congress (either House of Representatives or Senate) that go through a long if stringent process of First Reading, Second Reading and Third and Final Reading. Further legislative rituals follow at that point until the time it goes to the President for signature if likely approved and so on.

    In short, any bill at all, to include HB 5316, is part of the territory.

    It bears watching where the public debate leads lead to and how it turns out to be. But quite frankly, another congressman’s argument opposed to this bill is yet to hold water based on that phone interview between him and Arnold Clavio of Channel 7 in Unang Hirit (21 September).

    Well, for all the fun and excitement that the bill generated, how we can wish all bills that come out of the legislative mill receive the same vibrant responses, good or bad, of that universe that millions of people fondly inhabit called Twitter. But maybe, let us try to think before we twit.

    The children and youngsters have spoken. Maybe it is the turn of the parents and school administrators next.

    Legislators or policy makers – let them be the judges to calibrate where safety ends and to where danger begins.

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