ST student leaders convene, intensify ‘strikes’ vs budget cuts



PRESS RELEASE | SEPTEMBER 23, 2011

MEDIA COVERAGE IS REQUESTED.

 

“The campus strikes in various universities in Metro Manila are so deafening that their echoing protests reach Southern Tagalog,” said Pura Beatriz Valle, chairperson of the University Student Council-UPLB (USC-UPLB)

Led by the Southern Tagalog-based multi-sectoral alliance Save Our Education Movement, Valle and her constituents in UP Los Banos together with All UP Workers Union held various activities since August to rekindle wide participation in opposing the cutbacks. All their efforts are headed towards participating in the nationwide campus strikes against budget cuts on Sept. 19 to 23.

Strikes ‘intensified’

Some 110 student councils and 70 student publications in Southern Tagalog, including USC-UPLB gather today in a convention to discuss the new round of social service budget cuts under Benigno Aquino’s National Expenditure Program 2012.

Student leaders are convinced that the budget cuts are in line with the systematic program of the Aquino administration to reduce state funding on social services as compliance to neoliberal policies ‘dictated’ by foreign banking institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

“As iskolar ng bayan, the new round of budget cuts [makes] our already pitiful economic condition [more severe] and strangulates our hope of a better tomorrow through education,” Cavite State University Central Student Government Chairperson Paul Dulanas explained.

Dulanas stood with Aquino’s regard to the people as his ‘bosses’. “We ask PNoy to reconsider his thrust towards us, his ‘boss’, and to acquiesce to our valid petition to help us help him in building our beloved nation as graduates in the near future,” he continued.

Southern Luzon State University Student Council Chairperson Benson Del Valle emphasized the saddening condition of state universities and colleges relative with their foreign counterparts.

“Globally competitive students are what Southern Luzon State University produces…[pero] marami pang equipment ang kailangan sa school. Kung kami ang kinabukasan ng bayan dapat kami ang priority [sa national budget],”  Del Valle said.

The convention was organized by the National Union of Students of the Philippines and College Editors’ Guild  of the Philippines in Southern Tagalog.

At 10am today, some 500 UPLB students, teachers, employees and administration officials led by Save Our Education Movement gather at the UPLB Oblation grounds, ‘strike’ bowling pins painted with ‘BUDGET CUT’, ‘plank’ forming the words “NO TO BUDGET CUT”, and stage various cultural performances to participate in the nationwide strikes against budget cuts.

‘Striking’ creative, internet activities 

Previously, Save Our Education Movement organized the Facebook campaign “Strike a Pose to Oppose Budget Cuts” where students, teachers and employees attach the slogan in their photos. They also conducted a “funeral march” where students carry a coffin with the words “RIP EDUCATION” while reading a poem that concludes with the call “Resurrection for Education, Strike Back for the Nation”.

On the commemoration of Martial Law on Sept. 21, the alliance also organized a “mass planking” in Los Banos, Laguna to denounce the “Anti-Planking” Bill filed in Congress and call for “respect of democratic rights” such as the freedom of expression and organization.

Several other activities are noise barrage, mobile art exhibit, mini-concert, film showing and room-to-room discussions.

Save Our Education Movement is a convenor of another broader alliance Kilos Na Laban sa Budget Cuts (Act Now Against Budget Cuts) which is flooding state-funded universities and hospitals as well as social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter with the slogan “Strike back”.

 

Confronting Aquino: ‘We protest intelligently’

“’Strike’ is the reverberating call and action that is flooding the nation during this time of chronic crisis along with a government that deceives the people,” Save Our Education Movement Spokesperson Allen Lemence furthered.

Lemence referred to the Department of Budget and Management, Aquino and his communications team ‘misleading data’ claiming that there is no cutbacks, but a 10 percent increase in education fund. He debunked Aquino camp by exhibiting the impending P800-million cut on UP budget next year, and the almost P500 million cut on SUCs’ maintenance and personnel services funds next year.

Lemence also cited Rep. Castelo’s act of repression for condemning the students who ‘planked’ in streets to express their protests.

“We do not hesitate to engage in any form of protest intelligently to go against the flow of silence, apathy and helplessness. We will not let this to pass without Aquino and the world witnessing the Filipino youth stand firm for our right to free and quality education,” Lemence ended.

 

STRIKE BACK against BUDGET CUTS!

Sept. 23 | Southern Tagalog

9am                assembly at the UPLB oblation grounds, chanting and snake rally

10am              start of solidarity program

11am              ‘strike’ bowling pins painted with “BUDGET CUT”

12nn               planking forming the call “NO TO BUDGET CUTS!”

                        Barricade at the UPLB gate and march to Junction, Los Banos

 

10am              propaganda caravan from Quezon to Laguna to Tagaytay City

4pm                assembly for the Southern Tagalog Regional Student congress

                        (National Union of Students of he Philippines-Southern Tagalog &

                        College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines-Southern Tagalog)

 

7am-5pm       Black ribbon wearing, manifesto signing and leafleteering

                        (Cavite State University and Southern Luzon State University)

For questions, clarifications, comments and suggestions, please do not hesistate to contact any of the following:

Allen Lemuel Lemence

Spokesperson, Save our Education Movement

09272771096

Mark Vincent Baracao and Beverly Laguartilla

Media desk, Save Our Education Movement

saveoureducationmovt@gmail.com | 09352986944; 09358676334

Facebook: Save Our Education Movement

Strike Lead

strikelead2011@gmail.com; www.cegp.org

Facebook: #Strike Lead (page); CEGP Pambansang Opisina



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