UPLB students start classes with protest vs pending USC chair proclamation, educ crisis


June 13, 2012

Class opening at the University of the Philippines Los Banos was welcomed with a rally today demanding for the immediate proclamation of University Student Council-UPLB (USC-UPLB) Chairperson-elect Ynik Ante and “challenging Iskolars ng Bayan to respond on ‘education crisis’ aggravated by continuous cutbacks on education budget.”

Some 300 UPLB students led by Kabataan Party-list Southern Tagalog began distributing their flyers on the annual breakfast treat to the university’s freshman students, followed by a program at the College of Arts and Sciences steps and a protest march from UPLB to Junction, Los Banos, Laguna.

Ante’s proclamation is still pending after the electoral board’s attempt to bar her from running in the campus election and from assuming her post due to late payment of tuition. The university’s chancellor, however, has already expressed his endorsement of Ante’s proclamation amid students’ continuing support on the latter.

“The prevention of Ante’s proclamation as the legal and legitimate USC-UPLB chair is a disrespect of both the integrity of the election process and the students’ decision,” said Ma. Cristina Madeja, chairperson of the party-alliance Samahan ng Kabataan para sa Bayan (SAKBAYAN), UP’s widest student alliance of 60 student organizations. Ante was SAKBAYAN’s standard bearer for the UPLB student council elections on February.

“The intervention on the students’ activity is part of the long history of campus repression in UPLB,” Madeja continued referring to the then Office of Student Affairs Director Vivian Gonzales, a reserved colonel, as the one behind the pending proclamation of Ante. “(Gonzales) is the culprit of various repressive policies, such as tambayan phaseout, suspension of organization’s officers, intervention on internal operations of student council and publications and non-proclamation of winners in student council elections,” she pointed out.

Ante stressed that ‘campus repression’ happens because there are UPLB constituents, like SAKBAYAN that are “conscious and brave enough to stand against policies that trample our right to a quality and accessible education.”

“We welcome the freshman students with the warmest salutation as the new iskolar ng bayan. Our mass action today aims to educate and inform them of their constitutionally-guaranteed right to education, democratic right to freely express their sentiments, freely assemble and freely organize,” Ante said.

The same students also protest various schemes of tuition hike, such as UP’s Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program that requires students to pay P1,500 per unit, amounting to a 50 percent tuition hike. They slam Mr. Benigno Aquino III’s budget cut on education and other social services that left UP with almost P13-billion budget deficit.

“Amidst Aquino government’s futility to prioritize education in the national budget allocation, we pledge a more serious campaign to lobby in congress and protest for higher state subsidy on education and other basic social services,” Ante said.

Madeja said that the protest today is the commencement of a series of activities that will culminate in their participation in the “people’s state of the nation address (SONA)” along with Aquino’s on July 23. #

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UPLB students start classes with protest vs pending USC chair proclamation, educ crisis

June 13, 2012


Class opening at the University of the Philippines Los Banos was welcomed with a rally today demanding for the immediate proclamation of University Student Council-UPLB (USC-UPLB) Chairperson-elect Ynik Ante and “challenging Iskolars ng Bayan to respond on ‘education crisis’ aggravated by continuous cutbacks on education budget.”

Some 300 UPLB students led by Kabataan Party-list Southern Tagalog began distributing their flyers on the annual breakfast treat to the university’s freshman students, followed by a program at the College of Arts and Sciences steps and a protest march from UPLB to Junction, Los Banos, Laguna.

Ante’s proclamation is still pending after the electoral board’s attempt to bar her from running in the campus election and from assuming her post due to late payment of tuition. The university’s chancellor, however, has already expressed his endorsement of Ante’s proclamation amid students’ continuing support on the latter.

“The prevention of Ante’s proclamation as the legal and legitimate USC-UPLB chair is a disrespect of both the integrity of the election process and the students’ decision,” said Ma. Cristina Madeja, chairperson of the party-alliance Samahan ng Kabataan para sa Bayan (SAKBAYAN), UP’s widest student alliance of 60 student organizations. Ante was SAKBAYAN’s standard bearer for the UPLB student council elections on February.

“The intervention on the students’ activity is part of the long history of campus repression in UPLB,” Madeja continued referring to the then Office of Student Affairs Director Vivian Gonzales, a reserved colonel, as the one behind the pending proclamation of Ante. “(Gonzales) is the culprit of various repressive policies, such as tambayan phaseout, suspension of organization’s officers, intervention on internal operations of student council and publications and non-proclamation of winners in student council elections,” she pointed out.

Ante stressed that ‘campus repression’ happens because there are UPLB constituents, like SAKBAYAN that are “conscious and brave enough to stand against policies that trample our right to a quality and accessible education.”

“We welcome the freshman students with the warmest salutation as the new iskolar ng bayan. Our mass action today aims to educate and inform them of their constitutionally-guaranteed right to education, democratic right to freely express their sentiments, freely assemble and freely organize,” Ante said.

The same students also protest various schemes of tuition hike, such as UP’s Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program that requires students to pay P1,500 per unit, amounting to a 50 percent tuition hike. They slam Mr. Benigno Aquino III’s budget cut on education and other social services that left UP with almost P13-billion budget deficit.

“Amidst Aquino government’s futility to prioritize education in the national budget allocation, we pledge a more serious campaign to lobby in congress and protest for higher state subsidy on education and other basic social services,” Ante said.

Madeja said that the protest today is the commencement of a series of activities that will culminate in their participation in the “people’s state of the nation address (SONA)” along with Aquino’s on July 23. #



Video-interview of Quezon activist points to military as his abductors

June 12, 2012 | Press release from Karapatan Southern Tagalog Facebook.

Watch the video here.

 

Rights group KARAPATAN-Southern Tagalog released today a video interview of Franklin Barrera Jr., youth activist from Quezon province who was recently reported to have been abducted and tortured by military elements. Barrera categorically stated in the video interview that he believes his abductors were members of the 85th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army stationed in Lopez, Quezon.

Last July 7, 2012, Barrera was reported (http://businessmirror.com.ph/home/nation/28439-military-hit-over-kidnap-torture-of-anti-mining-activist-in-quezon) to have been abducted by unidentified armed men in Lopez town. According to a  statement he made to KARAPATAN, he was tortured and interrogated but managed to escape the same day. At about 1:00 AM the next day, members of KARAPATAN-Quezon fetched Barrera in a hospital in Atimonan town and took him to the KABATAAN-Partylist office in Lucena City.

On June 10, Barrera left the office without notice and was later reported to be in the hands of the military again. The video interview was shot last June 8, two days before he left the KABATAAN-Partylist office.

KARAPATAN-ST secretary general Glendhyl Malabanan said the video clearly refutes AFP’s statement yesterday accusing their group of propagating a “tall tale” to “demonize the military.”

Yesterday, Colonel Eduardo Año, commander of the Army’s 201st Brigade operating in Quezon, issued a statement (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/210369/quezon-activist-escapes-points-to-npa-as-abductors-–-army-exec) claiming that members of the New People’s Army (NPA), not the military, were behind the abduction. He said Barrera feared for his life and sought help from the military. He also claimed that Barrera himself is a member of the NPA.

“We stand by our earlier statements that Barrera is an activist and not a member of the NPA. Just like what Barrera said in his interview, we believe that the military are the only ones who have a clear motive in perpetuating such an atrocity. As an activist and a critique of government and military  policies, Barrera is a prime target for human rights abuse,” Malabanan said.

In the video, Barrera said he is the current coordinator of KABATAAN-Partylist in the fourth district of Quezon. He said he has stopped from schooling in order to “serve society.”

Malabanan stated though that should Barrera stick with the Col. Año’s story, they only see this as a possible result of the military’s coercion and intimidation tactics. She said the military uses such dirty psy-op tactics like they did in the case of the Morong 43.

“We can also see in the video how calm and composed Barrera is, which we can look at as a sign that he does not feel any fear for his life during that time, and is most likely telling the truth. Meanwhile, Col. Año on the other hand has no credibility when it comes to human rights issues. He is a suspect in the abduction of activist Jonas Burgos in 2007. He has no moral authority to lay claims that the military has no hand in Barrera’s abduction,” Malabanan added.


On K to 12 first week: Southern Tagalog youth groups launch ‘K-12 Watch’ in Los Baños

June 11, 2012

Led by Kabataan Party-list, youth groups launch “K-12 Watch” in Southern Tagalog schools today as they claim that “(K to 12) has wreak havoc in elementary and high schools after a week of implementation.”

The groups affiliated with Kabataan Party-list, League of Filipino Students-UPLB, Anakbayan-Southern Tagalog and Gabriela Youth-UPLB aims to gather starting today feedbacks through a “K-12 Watch Roving Bulletin Board” at Lopez Elementary School in Los Banos, Laguna where parents, pupils, teachers and other concerned post their feedback on the first week of implementation of the K-12 policy.

They also invited high school students, parents and teachers in their “iPose against K-12” photo booth at Los Baños National High School main campus where they pose for a photo with the “No to K-12” thought bubble placards. The group said they will upload the photos on the No to K-12 Alliance Facebook page.

Meanwhile, they launched in Southern Tagalog a more serious signature campaign for the “1.2 million signatures against K-12” campaign. Allen Lemence, spokesperson of LFS-UPLB, said that they will submit the said signature campaign to the House of Representatives through its youth solon Raymond Palatino of Kabataan Partylist.

“We are receiving reports that K to 12 caused heavy burdens to the pupils and students and their parents as well as to the teachers and school administrators. Now, we would like to formalize that into a campaign to finally oppose and call for the junking of the K to 12 program,” Lemence said.

The groups received information that K to 12 has caused confusion among the teachers as to what to teach on the new curriculum. Meanwhile, they also received feedback from parents that they were convinced that the K to 12 program will only give them heavy expenses.

He also stressed that their activities today are just the start of a series of activities that would tackle the worsening state of education and the youth in the region and how they reflect the national situation under the administration of Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

The group aims to encourage the participation of students, parents, educators, and other concerned parties in open discussions on the status of the first week of implementation of the K-12 curriculum in both elementary and secondary schools in Southern Tagalog to reaffirm the group’s stand against the policy.

“We stressed that this K to 12 program is a pro-imperialist and anti-people policy. The questions to be asked should not only ‘are we ready?’ or ‘how can we make K to 12 work?’ But rather we should question and expose the reason behind its implementation—that this program is yet another manifestation of Aquino’s puppetry to the foreign multi-national corporations,” Lemence pointed out as he also stressed that the K to 12 program is not an education policy per se but a labor export policy.

 

7:00 AM – 11:30 AM

K-12 Watch Roving Bulletin Board (Lopez Elementary School, Lopez Ave., Los Baños, Laguna)

11:30 AM – 2:30 PM

iPose against K-12 Photo Booth

Los Baños National High School, Batong Malake, Los Baños, Laguna

 

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

June 12    Independence Day mobilization

June 13    UP Los Baños class opening mobilization

June 19    Kabataan Partylist anniversary voters’ registration and education campaign | Rizal Day celebration

July 4       Filipino-American Friendship Day mobilization

July 7       State of the Youth Address – Laguna

July 14     State of the Youth Address – Quezon

July 15     State of the Youth Address – Cavite

July 18     State of the Youth Address – Romblon

July 21     State of the Youth Address – Batangas


Full land reform in 2016 not possible – KASAMA TK

June 6, 2012

A press release from KASAMA TK’s Facebook.

Militant peasant federation Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK) slams Palace declaration that a full land reform will be implemented as Aquino steps down in power in 2016 through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER).

“That’s next to impossible!” according to Axel Pinpin, secretary general of Kasama-TK, adding that “the Aquino-Cojuangco family shows no clear signs of sincerity to distribute the Luisita estate among tenants and farm workers.”

The group expresses doubt on Budget Secretary Florencio Abad’s optimism on the eyed success of 24-year old land reform program and raises concern that landlessness might grow even worse because of the fast growing difference between the rate of land use conversion and re-concentration and with the current DAR administration’s rate of acquisition and distribution of “CARPable” land in the region.

“This pronouncement is a mere showoff to accommodate pseudo-farmer organization’s media mileage to further lure peasant masses into reformism and provide opportunity for the landlord government to pose as champion of democratic reforms by playing this all too predictable skit where farmers air grievance, Malacanang opens door, government promises, farmers go straight home, hence “problem” is solved without changing a bit in the current social order,” Pinpin illustrates.

Pinpin stressed further that “this statement clearly sends the message that landowners’ interest would remain unscathed under the Aquino Administration, an assurance that no land will be distributed until or even after 2016 as long as CARP remains the framework of reform and the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill is not passed into law.”

“But for the militant peasant organizations, it has been quite clear that we cannot count on CARPER but only on our collective strength to boldly initiate genuine land reform through organized occupation of disputed vast estates for the benefit of poor peasants and farm workers and this form of struggle is slowly becoming the main trend in rural communities as the peasant masses have completely rejected the moribund land reform program despite continuous harassment by private armies and state security forces,” according to Orly Marcellana, convenor of Save Bondoc Peninsula Movement.

“CARP has had 24 years and billions of funds to bring about real changes for the peasant masses. It distributed only about 10% of all CARPable land these past two years of its extension, now it dreams to distribute the remaining 90% in two years? Bogus CARP is the longest running land reform in the world and is bound to fail over and over again,” the group declares in a statement.

Hoping for land reform beyond 2014 is just too much for farmers fighting for this cause for the past 24 years and as much as we are sure of the possibility that CARPER won’t be able to deliver its promises, Aquino might also find it possible to see his term end earlier than expected,” Pinpin ended.#


On the eve of CARP’s 24th anniversary, another peasant leader abducted–KASAMA-TK

a press release from Kasama TK’s facebook

 

A militant farmers’ group in Southern Tagalog reported another peasant leader who was illegally arrested and detained in Quezon province yesterday.

Franklin Barrera, an 18-year old farmer from Brgy. San Vicente, Gumaca, Quezon was the latest victim of human rights violations in the region.

Suspected elements of the military hit him from behind and forced him inside a red van in Yumul St., Brgy. Gomez, Lopez, Quezon. He became unconscious and found himself in a house in Brgy. San Isidro, Lopez, Quezon, near the 85th IBPA detachment.

He escaped through the backdoor and was confined in a hospital in Atimonan, Quezon.

Barrera is a convenor of the Save Bondoc Peninsula Movement, an alliance organized to stop the human rights violations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Bondoc Peninsula.

“The Aquino government obviously wants to preempt the people’s alliance campaign that will expose the real characteristic of its “people centered” counter-insurgency program dubbed as Oplan Bayanihan,” said Axel Pinpin, secretary general of Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and a former political detainee.

The group mentioned that yesterday’s incident is only one among the many cases of human rights violations in the province since the AFP deployed 8 battalions of military in the area.

“Aquino’s policies like Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and Oplan Bayanihan deprived us of a normal and peaceful life. We live in fear as we experience illegal arrests and search, torture, and other forms of harassment everyday,” says Orly Macellana, spokesperson of the Save Bondoc Peninsula Movement.

“The abduction of Barrera sealed the grim future of the agrarian reform under the rule of the country’s top haciendero, Noynoy Aquino,” Pinpin added.

The group lambasted President Benigno Simeon Aquino III instruction to DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, “that CARP should be completed within the time allotted to us because it will be very difficult to get further extension.”

“Aquino’s statement is a mockery of farmers’ long aspiration for land, a mere lip service,” Pinpin reacted

The group called for the junking of CARP two days before its 24th year of implementation.

According to Kasama-TK, CARP, which is to expire in 2014, failed to distribute the land to the farmers because “it was designed to serve the interest of the big hacienderos in the country.”

“CARP even legitimized fascism in order to protect the big landlord’s properties from acquisition and distribution,” Pinpin added.

Military and paramilitary groups escalated their operations in Bondoc Peninsula and South Quezon, which they believe to be consolidated areas of the New People’s Army, after Aquino announced that he would end communist insurgency by 2012.

Absentee landlord
Kasama-TK also likened Aquino to an absentee landlord who just waits for harvest season and receives share without even visiting his land or meeting his serf.

As the farmers hold their protest at the Aquino residence in Times Street, President Aquino is on a trip to Europe and the United States.

“We’re fed-up of Aquino’s rhetoric,” says Pinpin when asked if they are demanding an audience from the President to hear their grievances, adding, “Why not just immediately distribute his hacienda?”

Another group of farmers supporting CARP that marches all the way from Mindanao, is set for a dialogue with Malacañang officials today after President Aquino directed administration officials to meet with the farmers.
But Pinpin’s group counters that “A dialogue with Aquino will only give opportunity for the Haciendero Republic to pose as champion of democratic reforms by playing this all too predictable skit where farmers air grievance, Malacañang opens door, government promises, farmers go straight home, hence “problem” is solved without changing a bit in the current social order.”

“We could not take that Aquino is enjoying his trip abroad and having fun while farmers are suffering in the hands of the military. Hindi namin maisip kung paano pa siya nakakatulog nang mahimbing habang puno ng ligalig ang buhay ng mga magsasaka,” Marcellana said. #


Anakbayan to Aquino: Jail Gloria Arroyo, distribute Hacienda Luisita, address people’s issues now!

by ANAKBAYAN on May 30, 2012 • 5:34 am • Click here to go to original post.

National youth group Anakbayan joined workers and other sectors in a protest held in Mendiola, Manila this morning, following yesterday’s conviction of the Supreme Court’s chief magistrate.

The youth group said that while they welcomed the impeachment court’s decision, the people should be warned that Corona’s conviction may give rise to an ‘Aquino court’. Thus, Aquino will be granted full control not only of the judiciary but all three branches of government.

“It did not come as a surprise seeing that the Aquino ruling clique and its legion, Akbayan Party, has stepped up tirades against the chief justice, used the congressional pork barrel as pressure point and the entire state machinery to secure conviction”, said Charisse Bañez, national secretary-general.

An ‘Aquino court’ would make the forcible shoving of policies and programs in favor of the elite few as easy as breeze.

The organization of young workers, peasants, out of school and urban poor youth and students expressed that “Corona’s conviction may not bring about significant change in the lives of the Filipino people suffering from extreme poverty and hunger”.

“We challenge the Aquino government to immediately distribute the Hacienda Luisita lands to its rightful owners. We fear that the CJ’s removal from the SC would enable the landlord president to avail of powers to overturn the high court’s decision”, Bañez said.

Ultimately, according to Anakbayan, Corona’s impeachment trial was a counterblow against a historical SC decision ordering the distribution of Hacienda Luisita and an outright maneuver to preserve the Cojuangco-Aquino family’s monopoly of the vast landholding.

Meanwhile, Anakbayan said that Aquino and his allies, who granted Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo political accommodations in exchange for a smooth transition of power in 2010, are no longer left with any ‘palusot’ for its failure to prosecute and jail Arroyo for her crimes against the people.

“Aquino can no longer stem the people’s growing clamor to prosecute and punish Arroyo for the biggest cases of corruption, war crimes and gross violations of human rights and wholesale election fraud. Aquino could’ve held Arroyo accountable sans the impeachment powwow”, they said.

If anything, toeing the line of his much-abused ‘daang matuwid’, Aquino and his ‘Kaklase, Kaibigan, Kamag-anak and Kabarilan’ (KKKK) should be held accountable for their corruption and abuse of public office for personal and partisan interests. The challenge for their disclosure of bank accounts and financial records stand.

“Large-scale corruption is rife in the implementation of Aquino’s key programs, the Conditional Cash Transfer and Public Private Partnerships where state contracts are negotiated to favor his KKKK, among other big foreign and local businessmen”, Bañez said.

But for the most part, Anakbayan presses on the people’s basic demands: job generation, decent wages and the reduction of oil price, appropriation of bigger budgets to education and other social services, genuine land reform and an end to urban poor demolitions.

“After the blitz and glitz of the spectacle that is the impeachment trial has died down, we think it’s time for the Aquino government to stop grandstanding and immediately address gut issues sidetracked in the process”. ###