BAGUIO CITY — As the school year begins, ANAKBAYAN chapters all over the city once again raise issues of red-baiting, slander and even human rights violations within campuses. This was in response to the continuing disregard of university administrators on the organization’s complaints against the presence of military elements and their smear campaign against militants inside campuses.
ANAKBAYAN SLU spokesperson Niño Joseph Oconer, a political science major in Saint Louis University, was the latest to file his complaint with the said school administration. Oconer’s claim stemmed from the negative propaganda he and others endured at a National Service Training Program (NSTP) lecture.
During a film showing of “Knowing the Enemy”, a certain First Lt. Adriano dela Cruz was reported to have declared that a student leader in SLU whose “surname ay nag-start sa O, C at nagtatapos sa R” was an example of “pronta” or communist fronts described in the film. The said film, although shown by the military in schools, has been deemed by the United Nations Rapporteur Phillip Alston as malicious and in violation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights.
Obviously referring to his person, Oconer filed the original complaint on March of this year with the university’s Student Affairs Office (SAO), NSTP office and with the university President. As of this date, no response has been given to Oconer or to any of the complaints given to schools by members of the organizations who remain unsafe from these attacks even inside their own campuses. The members of ANAKBAYAN denounce this indifference as the school administrations’ concession to the Arroyo regime’s Oplan Bantay Laya campaign.
Oconer declares that these attacks are “aimed solely to sow intrigue and division among youth and students and to demonize youth organizations and leaders [who are] critical of anomalies in government.” Along with his letter of grievance, Oconer demanded for a public apology from the Armed Forces of the Philippines so that both his and the organization’s name be cleared from allegations.
“The propagation of these defamatory campaigns and the slander of our organization and members only give proof to the Arroyo regime’s continuing indifference to human rights,” ANAKBAYAN Metro Baguio chairperson Paula Pamintuan adds. “We shall intensify our calls to administrations like that of SLU to provide a certain amount of protection for their students, especially student leaders who only strive to exercise their rights to free assembly and freedom of thought. Our schools should not be made instruments of state terror but become free venues for critical thought. We likewise appeal to the future Aquino government to veer away from its predecessor’s favoritism of the military and make education its priority.”
The organization plans to take these demands to the streets on a nationally coordinated action on July 16 with other students and youth groups.# nordis.net