By FINELA MEJIA
BAGUIO CITY — This year, school administrators have once again failed to serve just education to students with the new round of tuition and other fee increases in Baguio universities and colleges. Hence, they proved that education is a favor that comes with a high price.
Schools are in race with each other with their proposed increases in tuition and other fees. The University of the Cordilleras (UC) will again experience 10% increase in tuition and other fees, not to mention the 556.81% increase in a newly-acquired miscellaneous. Saint Louis University (SLU) will welcome freshmen as they impose 5% tuition increase while other students will have 6% increase in miscellaneous. University of Baguio (UB) is also in race with 15% tuition increase, which apparently, is the highest proposal among the universities. Baguio Central University (BCU) joins in with 5% tuition increase, while Baguio College of Technology (BCT) made an announcement, but did not provide figures.
In this race, they leave behind the primary thing- students’ interests.
Each year, school administrators fall short in providing education as a service. Instead, they proudly inculcate to our young minds that such service means a culture of profit, and a privilege to a few. Each year, they displease us by taking away one thing closest to our heart – education. However, we will not make it easy for them this time.
With all these increases, we, students stand firm with our claim that quality education should not be directly proportional to higher cost of education. In the same way, we assert our right to education inasmuch as we believe that it is not our sole responsibility to provide a quality and accessible education.
We then salute our fellow students, especially student leaders who are courageous in facing school administrators in opposing unjustified tuition and other fees increases. We encourage the majority of students to take the same stand, support and be one with their student leaders and do all possible means to show their opposition.
Likewise, we urge our local officials and educational institutions to equal and complement students’ efforts. It is high time you show your concern and value to education. We ask you to do necessary actions available in your fields to immediately address this dilemma. During this unsurpassed time, we, students need your utmost support.
To our local officials, we challenge you to intervene and demand school administrators to be just in collecting fees by asking them to withdraw their proposed increase. Particularly, we call the attention of Mayor Reinaldo Bautista. As a father of Baguio and guardian to thousands of students, he should genuinely lead in addressing this concern and impose a no increase at University of Baguio.
To the Commission on Higher Education, we urge you to make investigations regarding the long problem in collecting redundant and exorbitant fees. Also, we strongly demand for the implementation of a genuine tuition moratorium in order to put end to all these unwelcome increases.
Again, we reiterate our claim that education is a service and not a privilege. # nordis.net
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
Phot by Aldwin Quitasol
BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) said that the arrest of the 43 health workers last February 6 is part of the Arroyo administration’s so-called anti-insurgency campaign targetting progressive organizations and government critics.
According to CHRA Secretary-General Jude Baggo, the illegal arrest and the continuing detention of the 43 health workers came some weeks after Department of National Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales announced that they will end the communist insurgency in the Philippines by June 2010. This, Baggo said, marks the end of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term. Her administration seeks to accomplish its goal through its Operation Bantay Laya (OBL).
Baggo added that it is a national policy that labels legal organizations such as the Community for Health and Development and the Community Medicine Foundation (COMMED) and other progressive organizations rendering free services to the people who were mostly victims of government neglect as sectoral fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines, New Peoples Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP).
Baggo said that this led to the outright human rights violations of the 43. He also said that the stae policy of Oplan Bantay Laya laid the framework behind the extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and assault on legal progressive people’s organizations since 2001.
According to the statement of CHRA, an earlier attack against one of the members of the health sectors in the Cordillera region happened in July 30, 2006 in Tabuk, Kalinga. Dr. Constancio Claver was with his wife and daughter when his vehicle was fired upon by suspected state security forces . He and his nine-year old daughter survived but his wife, Alyce Omengan Claver, died form multiple gunshot wounds.
He and his wife are also members of Bayan Muna Partylist (BM) and Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA). The rights group said this happened after Dr. Claver received a series of threats and was subjected to surveillance for their stand on human rights issues such as the extrajudicial killingg of CPA leader and Kalinga BM coordinator Markus Bangit. They were also tagged as members of the CPP-NPA-NDF.
“Even here in the Cordillera region, our health workers experience also harassments and threats as they perform community health services. In the interior parts of the region, they are surveilled, questioned and are surreptitiously photographed by the military,” said Baggo.
Meanwhile, the Community Health Education, Service and Training in the Cordillera Region (CHESTCORE) reported that just last February 10, 2 staffmembers of the Mobile Nursing Clinic (MNC) of the Saint Louis University (SLU) who were with 2 Swedish exchange students of the same school were accosted by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP). The 4 were coordinating a presentation of MNC entry plans with the members of the council in one of the municipalities of Benguet. A lady police officer told them that her “boss” wanted to get their names and ask them their purpose of going to the area. The police told them that they are on red alert since the arrest of the 43 health workers.
Baggo said healthworkers are not the only ones being targetted in the OBL, but also members and leaders of progressive organizations like James M. Balao. Balao, who is a founding member of the CPA, was a victim of enforced disappearance since September 17, 2008. Until now, Balao remains missing to this day.
According to Baggo, anybody who is critical to the government’s anti-people policies is considered by the government as enemy of the state. Once declared as such, the person is considered fair target for assault , abduction, torture and killing, by state security forces.
“We stand in solidarity with the 43 health workers being illegally detained in Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal as they bear the Arroyo government’s political persecution against those who tread areas where there are no or very limited government health services to provide service to the people.
We demand their immediate relaease. They do not deserve to stay a day longer in Camp Capinpin to be tortured and their rights be violated further,” said Baggo.
Baggo urged the public, especially the members of the healths sectors, to protest the human rights violations and hold accountable the state especially Arroyo and Gonzales who should strongly be compelled to respect its obligations to the Filipino citizen. #nordis.net
By SLOAN RAMOS with reports from MANNY LOSTE
BAGUIO CITY — The Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (MAKABAYAN) expressed alarm in the recent upsurge of black propaganda being hurled against progressive party lists, adding that “this may precede another wave of human rights violations” on their members.
This was announced in a press conference on Wednesday called by the group. According to MAKABAYAN, different streamers and graffiti posted along Naguilian Road and Marcos Highway linking Makabayan’s senatorial bets and party lists to the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
MAKABAYAN condemned this branding as an act that vilifies the candidates and besmirches the good record of the progressive partylists.
MAKABAYAN Baguio-Benguet said they have been receiving reports from the provinces in the Cordillera that progressive partylists as well as people’s organizations, are “being branded as fronts of the CPP-NPA” and are also being “linked to the armed rebels.”
MAKABAYAN added that this is not new, for the military has already been branding people’s organizations and partylists under the MAKABAYAN coalition as “enemies of the state.”
What concerns them, MAKABAYAN said, is that such unproven allegations may put the lives of their members in harms way. The spokespersons for the group also said that their members have become targets of “armed and unarmed attacks” due to this black propaganda being hurled at them.
MAKABAYAN reminded that they are “duly recognized by the COMELEC” and are registered by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and that they are not engaging in any illegal activities.
Their record in the past elections and the proven stellar record of their representatives in Congress is a well known fact. This may be the reason the military is branding them in an effort to discredit them before the voting public.
MAKABAYAN asserted they will hold the Arroyo administration and its security agencies responsible for any untoward incident directed against their members. # nordis.net
By SLOAN RAMOS
BAGUIO CITY — Anakpawis representative Rafael Mariano questioned the missing funds that the Department of Agriculture must have used to address the effects of the El Nino crisis.
In a press release, Mariano said that “Alam ng halos lahat ng mga nasa Department of Agriculture (DA) na tatamaan ng El Niño ang bansa. Sa kasamaang-palad, hindi matagpuan kung nasaan ang pondo sa agrikultura at magsasaka para malabanan ang tagtuyot” (Almost everybody in the agriculture department is fully aware that El Niño will hit the country. Unfortunately, funds intended for farmers and agriculture to counter drought are nowhere to be found).
Citing the 2008 Commission on Elections (COA) reports, Mariano stated that the DA have been the “top performer” in wasting funds through wasteful implementation of projects and missing funds, which is the reason why the government cannot give adequate support to farmers affected by the drought. The DA has spent 7 billion pesos in the year 2008.
Among the observations that Mariano noted in the COA 2008 report where the P5.188 billion Farm to Market road project that was not properly implemented, the P1.303 billion Fertilizer Coupon Discounts that have not been finished, and the P203.790 million Tipid Abono fertilizer program, among others.
In addition, Mariano argued that the reports of the Commission on Audit in itself answers why the government cannot afford to help the farmers in their production amidst this El Nino crisis. He said that this was, in fact, a “man-made El Nino.”
Mariano also said that such kind of corruption in the agricultural sector is threatening food security in the country, and that this fact refutes the claim of the Arroyo administration in providing food in each plate as a way to address the worsening hunger experienced by Filipinos. He concluded that farmers must be watchful in the actions of the DA to prevent another “fertilizer scam” that may be triggered by the upcoming 2010 national elections.
Senator Loren Legarda also questioned the government on the funds for El Nino. Legarda who is chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, said there is a need to release the El Niño funds so the irrigation systems, wells and small water impounding projects of local government units, farmers and cooperatives can help mitigate the effects of El Nino.
Reached for comments, the Alyansa Dagiti Mannalon ti Taeng Kordilyera (APIT-TAKO), a regional peasant alliance in the Cordillera, said that if the government is serious in addressing the effects of the El Nino crisis, they must be able to channel funds directly to farmers, and not through unscrupulous projects that only waste government funds.
According to Vergie Dammay, the current chairperson of APIT-TAKO, it is only through “directly channeling funds to farmers” that they can be able to mitigate the effects of El Nino on their livelihood, and prevent a food crisis in the region.
Citing the heavy losses in cash crops and the death of livestock in the provinces in the Cordilleras, she added that the government must pay special attention in repairing and developing irrigation systems, as well as the rehabilitation of existing watershed areas where water can be sourced out. This, said Dammay, will aid farmers in preventing further losses in their crops, given the fact that it is planting season in many areas in the region. #nordis.net
By LEAH FULLON
QUEZON CITY — It was an emotional meeting between KATRIBU President Beverly Longid and Ray-om Among, a 22-year old Mangyan who is detained in Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal with 42 other health workers.
The visit was the first for Among since she was arrested on February 6 while participating in a week-long health care training sponsored by the Council for Health and Development (CHD).
Longid, an Igorot from the Kankanaey-Bontok tribe visited Among, who hails from Manalaysay, Mindoro Oriental and her “kailian” (fellow tribe member) Angela Manugan Doloricon Thursday. She was also accompanying Prof. Neil Doloricon, former Dean of the College of Fine Arts in UP Diliman, who visited his wife Angela.
According to Longid, she and Prof. Doloricon had to go through the “excruciating ordeal of having to pass through tightly guarded gates in Camp Capinpin and watch anti-activist films before finally meeting Among and Angela.”
Tears and applause for first visit
According to Among, other detained health workers were tearful as they gave her a round of applause when their jail guard announced that she had a visitor. Until Longid’s visit, she was one of the four detainees who have not been visited by family members since their arrest.
A fellow detainee even asked Among if Longid was her mother. It was the first time Among met Longid, who paid the Mangyan and Igorot health workers a visit upon learning that they were among the 43 illegally arrested medical practitioners.
Far-flung tribal community
“Among may belong to another tribe, but as indigenous peoples, we are bound by our land, blood and distinct identity, not to mention that we share the same plight and struggle. Every tribe is our family.” Longid added, noting that indigenous peoples are the main constituents of KATRIBU Partylist.
According to Longid, Among shared that her family is likely facing difficulty in paying her a visit due to financial constraints, not to mention that they hail from a far-flung indigenous community in Mindoro. Among belongs to a family of 10.
One of her sisters is serving as a Barangay Health Worker in their community,
“From the nearest main road, it takes about 8-10 hours of hiking before one can reach our tribal community,” Longid also recalled Among telling her.
Discrimination in the camp
Longid warned that the state forces could be impinging on the indigenous peoples rights as guaranteed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which the government acceded to in 2008.
“Going by the statements of the military, it seems that the health workers have not only been tortured mentally or physically but were also discriminated against on account of their distinct identity and socio-economic status, a matter that indigenous peoples are so sensitive about,” Longid said.
Longid recalled that in a TV interview, Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato, spokesperson of the Armed Forces’ 2nd Infantry Division, claimed that the detained health workers generally had low educational attainment, citing this as a reason to brand them rebels.
According to Longid, Among is a high school graduate. “Does that instantly make her a rebel?” Longid asked.
“Such remark is discriminatory and insensitive to marginalized sectors such as indigenous peoples. It is precisely government’s neglect to provide basic services such as education and health that drove the health workers to serve poor communities. Now such State neglect becomes the crime of the health workers?” Longid lamented.
Milk, blanket and freedom
Longid called for the immediate release of her “katribus” (fellow indigenous persons) Among and Doloricon as well as the other health workers. She also urged the military to stop the labeling and targeting of human rights defenders as communists and rebels.
According to Longid, her group will help mobilize legal, material and moral support for Among. “We are trying to facilitate the visit of her family. We will stand by her side and Angela’s as they go through this ordeal,” Longid said.
Longid, a feisty human rights defender from Cordillera could not help but get teary-eyed when her 30 minute-meeting with Among was up, and all the young Mangyan health worker would ask for were a blanket and a can of milk.
“Among, Angela and the other illegally detained health workers immediately need food and comfort, but freedom above all,” Longid said, vowing to support her “katribus” and the rest of the 43 until they are freed. # nordis.net
KATRIBU MEDIA RELEASE
QUEZON CITY — A sectoral party of indigenous peoples challenged presidential candidates to reveal their respective positions on the pressing human rights issue of the day – the plight of the 43 health workers illegally detained in Camp Capinpin, Rizal province.
“If you were President, how will you address the issue head-on?ÿh asked Beverly Longid, KATRIBU Partylist President.
Longid observed that presidential candidates hardly speak in the campaign trail about the plight of the detained health workers, let alone extra-judicial killings.
“Yet human rights should be a defining issue in these elections. Let their stand on the issue be a barometer of their commitment to human rights,” she remarked.
Katribu is set to launch a ‘score board’ that will gauge the sincerity of the presidentiables to uphold and defend human rights using their positions on hot human rights button issues as indicators. The issue of the forty-three health workers is one such indicator identified.
Free our “katribus,” free the 43
Revealing that two of the detained health workers are indigenous peoples, Longid called upon the presidentiables to support the campaign to immediately free our ‘katribus’ (fellow indigenous persons) and free the forty-three.
The detained indigenous health workers are Angela Doloricon, an Igorot, and Ray-om Among, a Mangyan, from the Kankanaey and Hanunuo tribes, respectively.
Longid, who belongs to the same tribe as Doloricons, said “Our communities in Mountain Province and abroad are already asking why nothing is being heard about the condition of their detained kailian (village or provincemate).”
“The kin and tribe of Ray-om must also be very worried by now as her indigenous group is also a close-knit lot,” said Longid, who is also extending support to the Mangyan detainee.
Longid warned that the state forces could be impinging on the indigenous peoples rights as guaranteed by the International Declaration of the World’s Indigenous Peoples which the government acceded to in 2008.
“We fear that they are not only being tortured mentally or physically but also discriminated against on account of their distinct identity and socio-economic status, a matter that indigenous peoples are so sensitive about,” Longid said.
In an TV interview, Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato, spokesperson of the Armed Forces’ 2nd Infantry Division, claimed that the detained health workers generally had low educational attainment, citing this as a reason to brand them rebels.”
“Such remark is discriminatory and insensitive to marginalized sectors such as indigenous peoples. It is precisely government’s neglect to provide basic services such as education and health that drove the health workers to serve poor communities. Now such State neglect becomes the crime of the health workers?” Longid lamented.
“In fact, the circumstances of the health workers and their grassroots beneficiaries provide the presidentiables a glimpse not only into the political and civil but also the economic, social and cultural dimensions of the state of human rights of the country they want to lead,” Longid said.
Voice to the voiceless
Longid urged all presidential aspirants to use the campaign trail as platforms to amplify the plight of the poor and oppressed sectors of our society such as indigenous peoples.
All cameras and microphones follow you. Use them to give voice to the voiceless and make visible the invisible sectors in our society,” she said.
Silence on human rights issues is not only deafening. It can also be draconian,” Longid added, citing as an example the inaction of the Arroyo administration on the issue and its “dreadful track record in dealing with other human rights violations.”
Longid said that the public needs assurance from every presidentiable that under his or her leadership, the culture of impunity that Arroyo nurtured must be stopped.
On day one of the next presidency, the people do not want to see even the slightest fragment of Arroyo’s draconian and despicable shadow,ÿh she stressed. # nordis.net
By KEIDY TRANSFIGURACION
BAGUIO CITY — Students from St Louis University conducted mock elections last February 16-19.
It was sponsored by White & Blue, the official student publication of SLU and KABATAAN Partylist – SLU Chapter. A Voters Education Forum was also conducted to aid student voters. Administration candidate Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro “won” the elections with 241 votes of 764 votes cast. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino came in second with 231 votes. For Vice President, Sen. Mar Roxas got the biggest vote of 397. Sen. Loren Legarda came in second with 126.
For Senators, Franklin Drilon got 560; Pia Cayetano, 542; Ralph Recto, 503; Miriam Santiago, 502; Juan Ponce Enrile, 460; Bong Revilla, 389; Bongbong Marcos, 387; Jinggoy Estrada, 302; Jose de Venecia, 297; Teofisto Guingona, 277; Risa Hontiveros, 261 and Sonia Roco, 251.
For Partylists, Kabataan Partylist got 250; Bayan Muna, 94; Gabriela, 93; Anakpawis, 35; Abono, 19; Katribu, 18; APO, 12; Buhay, 12; Babae Ka, 9.#nordis.net
By COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES
QUEZON CITY — The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), the oldest and the widest alliance of tertiary student publications in the country, announced that it is willing to host the debate between leading presidential bets Senators Manny Villar and Noynoy Aquino.
“The people, specifically the youth, are waiting for this face-off, waiting for the Top 2 presidentiables’ stands on issues that concern the youth,” said CEGP President Vijae Alquisola.
Alquisola said, “Education and employment, equality and empowerment, environment and national patrimony and an end to corruption and tyranny are just some of the points that should be tackled. Let us see who really has a better platform and position on these basic issues.”
The CEGP said that should any of the two presidential bets take up its offer to host, “Just contact us and we’ll be more than happy to arrange it.”
The CEGP has more than 700 member publications from tertiary schools and universities all over the country. # nordis.net
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — In posts in their websites, the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and Anakpawis partylist said that the claimed study of three wage boards in Luzon and Visayas is an insult to the workers.
The Regional wage boards in Zamboanga and Eastern Visayas said they are studying a possible minimum wage hike of P50 wage increase while P100 in the Western Visayas. This they claimed is to help the workers cope with the rising prices.
KMU National Chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog said that the Filipino workers as well as the people have long been suffering from the economic crisis while the wage boards and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) have ignored the workers’ demand for a P125 wage increase for a long time.
“It is therefore highly suspicious that they are trying to show off only now that Arroyo’s term is about to end,” Labog said.
Years ago, the late Anakpawis representative Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran together with Makabayan senatorial candidates Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna Partylist and Liza Maza of Gabriela Partylist filed House Bill 1722 in the Congress which asks for a legislated P125 wage increase in the country.
Labog said that the regional wage boards were established in 1989 by the administration of the late Corazon Aquino purposedly to prevent wage increases at the national level. These, Labog added, is to give only pegged and minimal increases in worker’s wages in every region and create divisiveness among the Filipino workers.
The labor leader said that the wages in Metro Manila were increased only 16 times since the establishment of the wage boards with only P26 as the highest amount after protests by the workers and the people. He said that after two decades of the wage boards existence, the real minimum wage in Metro Manila is merely P240 while the daily cost of living is P920.
Here in the Cordillera, the minimum wage is P260 while the actual cost of living is P942 for a family with six members.
Meanwhile, Anakpawis representative Joel Maglunsod said that it is obvious that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is trying hard to make her name fragrant before her term ends. Maglunsod said she knows how furious the workers and people have become for her destruction of lives and livelihood.
“For two years, since a P20 increase in Metro Manila was granted in June 2008, we have not received even a slight increase from Arroyo. Since then, the prices of various commodities have steadily climbed, joblessness has worsened, and attacks on regular work have intensified,” Maglunsod stated. The representative added that the prices of oil and sugar have tripled and rice has doubled since Arroyo became president of the country.
Labog said that it still a legislated, national and significant wage increase that workers should unite to fight for.# nordis.net
By OFELIA KAYAT EMPIAN
BAGUIO CITY — The continous rise of the demand for electricity in the province of Benguet pushed Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) to look for alternative sources of energy to meet the province’s supply of electricity through its minihydro project.
Gerardo Versoza, General Manager of BENECO said they are tapping two municipalities of Buguias and Tuba in Benguet for the said minihydro plants.
Mr.Versoza said once the minihydro plants are operational that would mean cheaper power costs for the consumers. The Department of Energy (DOE) has given the go signal to BENECO to start the exploration, research and feasibility study in these places where the mini-hydro plants are proposed to be set up. # nordis.net
BAGUIO CITY — The Community Health Education Services and Training in the Cordilllera Region, Inc. (CHESTCORE) asks: When does it become a crime to serve the marginalized and depressed communities in our society?
CHESTCORE, in a statement, added its voice to the clamor to release the 43 health workers being detained by the AFP. It declared that it is outraged over the mental, physical and psychological torture suffered by the 43 colleagues in the health profession who have been illegally detained and forced to admit that they are members of the New Peoplefs Army (NPA).
“The organizers of the training activity, namely the Council for Health and Development (CHD) and the Community Medicine Foundation (COMMED) , affirmed that those abducted were doctors, nurse, midwife and civilian health volunteers affiliated with health NGOs or representatives of people’s organizations who gathered to learn, harness health knowledge and skills that they will use to serve poor communities and underserved sectors in far-flung areas.
“ Even as the Department of Health and international organizations such as the World Health Organization are calling on revisiting Primary Health Care and empowering communities to take care of their own health, those who are responding to this call are sadly being persecuted. As the government lures our nurses to serve in the countryside through its Nurses Assigned to Rural Services or NARS program, those who have genuinely chosen this path are now being vilified by this same government,” the statement further said.
CHESTCORE also remembered a few years back when Dr. Chandu Claver was ambushed by apparently state mercenaries together with his wife Alice who was killed in this incident in Tabuk, Kalinga. Dr. Claver was a dedicated physician who decided to work and provide medical services to his people in the far-flung villages of his province.
Chestcore staff themselves have had their own experiences of harassments and intimidation by government soldiers during health seminars and trainings conducted in the communities, similarly tagging the organization of being a communist front. Just recently, on February 10, a similar incident happened with 2 staff of the Mobile Nursing Clinic (MNC) of the Saint Louis University (SLU) who were with 2 Swedish exchange students of the same school. They were accosted by the PNP when they were coordinating for a presentation of MNC entry plans with the Sangguniang Bayan in one of the towns of Benguet. The lady police Officer told the coordinator of MNC that “her Boss” wanted to get their names and needed to know why they were in the area.
She said further that they were on red alert since the incident in Morong, Rizal happened.
These terrifying incidents send wrong signals to health professionals wanting to serve the people in the countryside. Serving the people is now more than just self sacrifice and giving up comfortable lives, it means giving up so much more because of the dangers that go with it.
Yet despite these, committed health professionals and health workers opted to stay behind to serve the Filipino masses, resisting the bandwagon of overseas migration that would have given them opportunities of earning the much needed cash for their families. They must be regarded instead as the unsung heroes of the country.
CHESTCORE demands the immediate release of the 43 health workers from the military camp where they are being illegally held for mere allegations and suspicions of “subversive” association.
They demand a stop to the harassment of health workers serving in the countryside.
They also urge presidential candidates, themselves all potential, to denounce such violation of human rights and come out and join the collective outrage over the illegal detention of 43 health workers and demand the Supreme Court and Department of Justice to dismiss the false charges against HEALTH 43. # nordis.net
This might be a little late now – what with corn fields drying up and rice farms being abandoned by listless peasants because rice stalks are wilting and rice paddies are cracking up due to the lack of water.
Fishponds, too, are endangered because of the extreme heat. Low water levels in dams which provide household water, irrigates farms and generates electricity compounds the problem. Nobody is actually spared by the adverse impact of the El Nino.
But we cannot just sit and watch as the literal life blood of the country’s economy – water – dries up. This is a national emergency that transcends partisan politics at a time when we as a nation is gearing up for a general election.
The impact of this extreme weather condition will certainly be disastrous to the agriculture sector, especially among the peasantry in the days and months ahead. Just three months ago, most of the farmers lost much of what they have planted because of the ravages of typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng. Now they have to contend with the drought, and summer has not even started yet.
Let us remember that many of our peasant folk usually take out loans to start the planting season, borrowing money for seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides and other agricultural inputs and hoping to pay their debt with a good harvest. But with two planting seasons lost and with debts piling up, it is not difficult to imagine the dire straits they would find themselves in the months, if not years, ahead.
But it is not only the peasantry that will suffer as a result of this on-going disaster. Since a majority of our citizenry still relies on agriculture and its related industries, trade and commerce would certainly feel the losses suffered in the agricultural sector. Even farm related industries like those in fertilizer and pesticide would certainly feel the impact of the decline in agricultural production.
And all this would be taking place at a time when our exports are in doldrums because of the on-going recession in our traditional export markets – the more advanced economies of the West. So, this leaves us with very little room for manuever in terms of economic growth.
Perhaps, it would be the remittances of our overseas foreign workers (OFWs) that will keep many Filipino households afloat. With the farms unproductive, expect also more able-bodied Filipinos, men and women alike, seeking their economic salvation abroad.
All in all, the economic prospects do not look good for the months ahead. Let us just hope that some immediate measures will be undertaken by the outgoing administration to save our farms and alleviate the plight of the peasantry especially. Let this be the number one priority of the incoming administration.
Let us also hope and do whatever we can to ensure that we will have a fair and credible automated elections come May 10. Otherwise, we will have a deadly mix of economic and political crises in our midst come summer time. That would spell disaster for all of us.
So, let’s start saving the farms to save this nation.# nordis.net
By ARTHUR ALLAD-IW
(The Advocate’s Overview gives way to Mike Umaming. The author is a government employee. He welcomes feedback at email@example.com)
We were barely out of our teens. Years of activism earned us the monicker “tibak,” a term usually attributed to committed student activists. We were the red-waving kabataan. We chanted “ibagsak” a hundred times even before Ninoy Aquino was shot dead at the Tarmac. Six of our colleagues were in Camp Dangwa after having painted the town red.
During the EDSA revolution, we assumed various tasks – coordinators for our particular organizations, rally speakers, rally marshals, taga-sulat ng statement, taga-distribute ng statement, runners/messengers, water fetchers, taga-bili ng fried rice sa Cathy’s Restaurant.
We could quote Mao Tse Tung. “Revolution is not a picnic!”
“Oh yea,” whipped one, “it’s a f_____ dance party!”
We would sneak away from our group to watch the “tisay” girls of the yellow crowd who were very good at stomping the latest dance craze at the Cathedral ground. The girls among us would swoon at the sight of the seminarians from Maryhurst – okey, they look so cute and handsome in their white sutanas.
But we were more attentive of people’s changing attitude and views brought about by the volatile event that was engulfing the country.
An emerging Igorot student fraternity caught our fancy. It revised a popular chant into “Marcos!, Hitler! Diktador!, Uken!” – the revised word chanted with deep derision. We were thinking then of the tasks ahead especially with the people we helped mobilize.
Events from Manila were big news. During the peak of the EDSA phenomenon, tension between the red and yellow crowds was very strong. The more politically matured were trying to control this tension knowing very well that the real enemies will be the beneficiary of the escalation of this division.
The red crowd was on the defensive having made the decision to boycott the snap election that pitted Cory against Marcos. Conscious efforts to marginalize the red crowds were evident. It was ironic and emotionally rending to hear Johny-come-lately yellows call battle-hardened reds “mang-aagaw ng eksena.”
Napahagulgol daw si Lean Alejandro dahil sinusubukan tayong alisan ng papel ng mga liderato ng dilawan. Nagkasigawan daw sina June Keithley at Lino Brocka nang magkaroon ng people’s takeover sa PTV 4.
These were stories we received from our colleagues. Most news then in the latter part of those historic days leaned towards the biases of the yellow crowd.
Its all over, FM flees!
This was the headline of the day. We could sense the extreme emotions from the cheering, and the crying. Everybody knows even before the headline hit the street. Our NMYS (National Minority Youth and Student – IP was not a popular acronym then) group learned about it from the radio.
We were having a quick meeting in one of the student boarding houses. There was silence with bated breaths. I remember “alla” as among the first words uttered. It was an expression of anxiety – Alla, baka kuna ti masa awanen rason nga entay agrebolusyon.
Its now 26 years after EDSA. The Cordillera people’s movement is looking for James Balao who was there long before EDSA, during EDSA, and remained up to the time he was snapped away.
Those bated breaths proved prophetic. # nordis.net
By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
This time it is from under this pangdjet (the Ibaloi turban), because I, as a descendant of two Ibaloi chiefs who once settled a boundary dispute by wrestling somewhere in the once vast plateau now called Baguio City, would like to invite all my Ka-et to a potlock commemoration of the first IBALOY DAY in the middle of Baguio City.
Through the one hundred years that my people (on my maternal and paternal side of my genealogy) have disconcertingly or otherwise, struggled for the recognition and respect of their history as a people; of their territories and ancestral land rights as individuals, families, clans or tribesmen; of their culture and traditions as Ibaloys and as part of the wider Filipino population. I believe we should come together on this City government recognized Ibaloy Day as a first (tiny or large) step to unite our ranks for the wholesome development of our communities as against the imposed systemic marginalization, subdued and shiay mango corner we have been.
Besides your company and morale support, do carry some food or something you can share with your clansmen and other Ibaloys to this gathering on Tuesday, February 23, 2010, at the area between the Orchidarium and Children’s playground in Burnham Park. The Iblaoy day will open with the Owek in the opening ritual at 6am. The program starts at 9am with an ecumenical prayer led by the reverend Bishop Carlito Cenzon. And, a few speeches, as many cultural performances and workshops we can share to fill the day long observance. We also may take a corner to discuss how we shall celebrate this day annually and for what purpose every year.
It is also expected for the clans and everyone to contribute compositions, stories of old, skill demonstrations or workshops to liven-up our gathering, something or anything to warm up the re-union, friendships, to pass-on to the young, and relations. Kaledjo, mangdot kito. The only thing is, we carry cooked food to share in this potluck, picnic gathering. There will be a parachut set up for shade and some chairs and in the ritual we shall butcher some pigs to offer and cook there.
Also, there is a proposal to plant a time capsule for this Ibaloy day, the clans are invited to contribute small items into the time capsule for posterity. Call or see Ruby Giron or Leo Camilo for this.
Ayshi mkapiyan eh pan uuwapjo
Though I had to beg-off an invitation to the recent celebration at the WW Coral because I had an earlier arranged commitment that day; I am, most of all, one with the issues raised by my Carino cousins that has very recently hit the press against the NCIP commission en-banc.
That to me spells-out 329 protests or one issue raised for each day of the year against those who processed the CALT. I am so ashamed that even the bond of friendship and blood relations can not already endure the culture of impunity launched by the present dispensation against ordinary constituents like the original settlers of Baguio, the Ibaloys.
As a descendant of Mateo Carino of Kafagway, Bayosa Ortega of Chuyo and Balakbak, of Karyas in Duakan, I am so personally offended, very hurt and angry at the series of manglings done on the history and memory of my ancestors that was used to justify the titles issued to Happy Hallow and in Chuyo.
It must be an unfathonable shame for the ancestors of the title recipients have to suffer for those who wronged the Ibaloy’s honored memory of these communities or ancestral domains. # nordis.net
By MARICOLE SANCHEZ
“Farmer pala parents mo, kaya niyo bang bayaran ‘to?” (So your parents are farmers. Are you sure you can pay this?)
This was only one of the degrading statements from the office of the VP for Finance of the University of the Cordilleras (UC) during interviews of students who had delinquent accounts.
Irregardless of the approval of the House Bill 6700 that prompted the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to set-up an “anti no permit, no exam policy”, there are still universities here in the Cordillera that are prohibiting students to take their exam with out their permits. One of these universities is the University of the Cordilleras.
Aside from the “no permit, no exam policy”, campus repression was also felt by students who do not have the capacity to pay their accounts fully on time. The VP for Finance implemented a new procedure in securing permits that had caused students to skip their classes in order to line up in the queuing line for several hours or even two days at the maximum.
In the old procedure, these are the following steps; 1. Pay at the cashier, 2. Have your receipts signed at the office of the VP for Finance, 3.Then you can now get your permits at the designated places.
But with the new procedure, these are the following steps; 1. Pay at the cashier, 2. Get a promissory note at the Students Affairs Office (SAO), 3. Line up in the queuing line for an interview at the SAO, 4. If the interview went well, have your promissory note be signed at the VP for Finance, 5. Lastly, get your permit at the accounting office.
This situation has prompted the Political Science Society (PSS) to make a statement regarding this new, circuitous procedure from the administrators. In their statement, I would want to quote a statement “Nag-aral pa kayo, hindi niyo naman kaya” from the Students Affairs Office in an interview with a student.
Those that should take care of the welfare of the students are the ones demoralizing them from attaining their dreams. These students are in the university to study hoping this could give them a better life in the future but unfortunately, they are being degraded by the above statements. It is like adding salt to injuries.
UC is being greedy here considering it is a foundation. This is manifested even through the Land Infrastructure Maintenance, Acquisition and Development (LIMAD) fee which is questionable ever since it was implemented in the late 1990’s. This was opposed by the students since then but it is still being collected adding more financial burden on the students. In the CHED memo 13, universities should not collect Maintenance and Development fee separately from the tuition because 20% of the tuition goes to Maintenance and Development fees.
If the school did not abide with the memo, it is also possible that they will just ignore the “anti no permit, no exam policy”. Today, this university is proposing 10% tuition and other fee increases for the next school year. The consultation will be on the 26th of February but there is not enough information dissemination regarding this. Yes, there are posters but they are not visible. They are placed in bulletin boards that are not strategic. The venue is in the Nursing Auditorium which is too small to accommodate the thousands of students in the University. Classes will not be suspended. This is an issue concerning all the students thus the consultation must serve its real purpose not only for the sake of saying UC has conducted consultation.
There is a need for the students to unite and act against the repression of their democratic rights and against the proposed tuition and other fee increases. It is now time to break the silence. I am inviting everyone to attend the consultation next week with or without classes.# nordis.net
By REV. LUNA DINGAYAN
Peter and John were still speaking to the people when some priests, the officer in charge of the Temple guards and Sadducees arrived…they arrested them and put them in prison until the next day, since it was already late. — Acts 4:1-3
In the early morning of February 6, 2010, Dr. Alex Montes together with other 42 health workers, was arrested and detained by the 202nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and the Rizal Philippine National Police. The Community Medical Foundation Incorporated, where Dr. Montes was currently employed, co-sponsored a First Responders Training for health workers in Morong, Rizal beginning February 1, 2010. And Dr. Montes was assigned to conduct the training. These health workers had been very much involved in responding to the needs of the victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.
Initial reports say that more than 300 military and police raided the retreat center at gunpoint. They arrested the 43 participants before even searching the premises. They later showed a shoddy search warrant for a certain Mario Condes as supposed basis for their raid. Dr. Montes and the 42 health workers were blindfolded and taken away in a military truck. It is suspected that they are being held at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal, but access has been denied to lawyers, family, colleagues and pastors who have tried to visit them.
The military allege that the training was actually on bomb-making. They claim to have found C4 explosives, a pistol, a revolver, three grenades, three Claymor mines and an improvised landmine. However, Dr. Melecia Velmonte who owns the retreat center where the training was conducted asserted that the military had no witness to their search operations and would have easily planted those evidences they claimed to be found in the rooms. Dr. Velmonte also gave a lecture on infectious diseases at the training, but was not arrested with the other participants.
Dr. Montes has been a long-time staff of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP). From 1988-2003, he served as the Health Ministries Coordinator of the Christian Witness and Service program of the UCCP. He also served as Executive Secretary of Bishop Elmer Bolocon from 2001-2002.
Dr. Montes has been instrumental in the development of UCCP hospitals, but his passion has always been providing health services for the poor. He has helped develop the community-based health programs of many health institutions. Immediately prior to his service with the Community Medical Foundation, Dr. Montes was developing community-based programs of the UCCP Visayas Community Medical Center in Cebu City.
Peter and John
Oftentimes the cost of serving the poor is very high. The Apostles in the Early Church realized this. Peter and John were arrested by the authorities because of healing a lame beggar in front of the Beautiful Gate of the Temple in Jerusalem (Acts 3). The people were amazed of what happened. Then, Peter preached about Jesus of Nazareth who was put to death by the powers-that-be in Jerusalem, but was raised from the dead. About three thousand people believed, and so the authorities were threatened.
The Scripture says that “Peter and John were still speaking to the people when some priests, the officer in charge of the Temple guards and Sadducees arrived…they arrested them and put them in prison until the next day, since it was already late.( Acts 4:1-3).
Serving the Poor as Rebellion
Like Peter and John, the health workers in the countryside have been doing a good job, a divine task I would say, of bringing health services to the poor people of our land something the government is not doing. And so, the military authorities suspected them of being rebels for doing something that the government is supposed to do but not doing it due to its misplaced priorities.
Apparently, to genuinely serve the poor is considered a form of rebellion by the Arroyo Administration and its military arm.
By arresting the 43 health workers who were equipping themselves to be of better service to the poor people in the countryside, the Arroyo Government and its military arm had exposed its true character as anti-poor and as a regime of undeclared Martial Law. By torturing them, the Arroyo Government and its military arm also had shown its inhuman character.
To serve the poor is to serve God. “What you have done to the least of my brethren you have done it unto me,” says the Lord (Mt. 25:40). Those serving the poor may be arrested and put into prison, or put to death by the Arroyo Government, but such cannot put a stop to God’s call for men and women to genuinely serve the poor. The 43 health workers may be viewed as rebels in the eyes of the Arroyo Government, but in the eyes of God, the Arroyo Government and its military arm is actually the real rebel. # nordis.net
By PEDRO AGYAMAN
If helping the poor is a crime, and fighting for freedom is rebellion, then I plead guilty as charged.
— Crispin Beltran
Last February 2006, 300 fully armed elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines stormed the house of Dr. Melecia Velmonte in Morong, Rizal and arrested 43 community health workers who were conducting a seminar. And what was the justification of the military? That the 43 health workers were actually members of the New People’s Army, and were caught on the spot making bombs. And after sensing that the general public slammed that declaration, and after different community health organizations affirmed that they were indeed community health workers, they suddenly said that they were a “superbody” within the CPP, claiming that they were the “health bureau” of the CPP-NPA. In addition, the military said that there where actually bomb making materials, guns, a hand grenade, and a claymore mine found under the beds of the participants.
All the community health workers wanted was to serve the poor and the marginalized that the government has forgotten to look at. And in whatever angle you may look, this arrest doesn’t have any justification.
First, the arrest was actually illegal. The soldiers did not have a legitimate search warrant contrary to earlier claimed, for a legitimate search warrant must specifically point out the location of the arrest and what places are to be searched. Their search warrant did not particularly refer to the house of Dr. Velmonte. Second, the search warrant must be made in the presence of a witness, and in the presence of the owners of the place. However, the participants in the seminar were actually blindfolded and arrested first before the search was done. The supposed “evidence” therefore could be planted.
Second, the case must not be handled by the military, but instead must be brought to the civil courts, due to the fact that the persons involved were not combatants. Obviously, the 43 arrested were clearly not combatants. It is up to the civil court to hold the case.
Third, the Anti-Subversion Law has been revoked, wherein being a “communist” is already decriminalized.
Lastly, the military even violated the court order by not surfacing the Morong 43 as originally scheduled by the Supreme Court. The military even earlier denied access to the Commission on Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross to inspect the condition of the 43 detainees.
Also, there has been a recent spate of black propaganda allegedly being done by the government, with streamers and graffiti linking progressive partylists, as well as the Makabayan Coalition’s senatorial bets Liza Masa and Satur Ocampo, to the CPP-NPA-NDF.
As to the case of Liza Maza, Satur Ocampo, and the progressive partylists under the MAKABAYAN coalition, it is broad knowledge that these organizations are recognized by the Comelec as candidates. Liza Maza and Satur Ocampo have served the country as Representatives in the Lower House of Congress for nine long years.
In any case, these actions of the military are clearly in violation of the laws of the government whom they themselves are claiming to serve and protect.
Seeing a battalion of soldiers arresting health workers who are giving medical services to the poor and the marginalized which should be the government’s responsibility in the first place, and tagging legitimate and progressive organizations as communist fronts are clearly acts of desperation. And what has driven the military to resort to Red tagging? The overall failure of their counterinsurgency operations. The Arroyo administration has called for the end of the CPP-NPA insurgency by the end of her term in June 2010 — and this has clearly failed.
As for the progressive politicians who are forwarding the politics of change, they have continually enjoyed popular support. Despite state repression, the progressive political parties have grown and widened their influence. Despite repression, the progressive political parties are here to stay. # nordis.net
By HEIRS OF MATEO CARIÑO
Open letter to Eugenio A. Insigne
Chairman, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
This is in response to the lead story in the People’s Journal Tonight, February 15, 2010, NCIP to Nat’l Heroes Heirs End Trial by Media! written by Tess Lapuz-Lardizabal.
Mr. Insigne, who are you to say that “nobody was authorized to come out with such a press release in the name of the family?”
We are the proud descendants of Mateo and Bayosa Cariño, grandchildren of his fourth child Dr. Jose Ma. Cariño. We have the right to say anything we please and nobody can say otherwise, especially since we speak the truth.
The truth is that the NCIP has perpetrated a landgrab by awarding the Baguio Dairy Farm to fraudulent claimants, the Heirs of Ikang Paus, and this can be ascertained by any independent investigation of the case.
The truth is that the fraudulent Paus claim was already denied in Land Registration Case No. N-29 in 1976, was revoked by the NCIP chaired by Reuben Dasay Lingating in 2003, but was resurrected and hastily approved by the NCIP under the chairmanship of Eugenio Insigne.
The truth is that this landgrab was approved by the committee en banc, and facilitated by the NCIP Baguio Office and Cordillera regional office without due process to the much earlier and legitimate claim of the Mateo and Bayosa Cariño Foundation. Insigne’s claim that he was out of the country at the time this was approved is irrelevant, as he is the chair of the Commission, and the commissioner from the Cordillera, and this would not have happened without his initiative and full backing.
The truth is that the survey which was made by Engineer Victor Bumatnong of the Baguio Office for the Cariño Foundation was instead used in the Paus application, and the Baguio NCIP Office through Gladys Lasdacan accomplished all requirements for Paus in a record two weeks time, while sitting on the Cariño application for years.
The truth is that the NCIP has violated its own rules and procedures, with the NCIP en banc arrogating unto itself the mandated functions of the Regional Hearing Officer after the Cariño Foundation filed its protest, thereby subverting due process.
The truth is that after the NCIP had awarded 68 hectares of the Baguio Dairy Farm to Paus, they made an offer to the Cariño Foundation to accept the remaining 25 hectares. While the Cariños were arguing over whether to accept the leavings or to expose the landgrab, the NCIP awarded an additional three lots to the Paus, thereby leaving only the crumbs for the Cariños. And crumbs stick in the throat and cannot be swallowed.
The truth is that the Certificates of Ancestral Land Title which have been awarded to Ibaloi families in Baguio by the NCIP have all come at a price. This is common knowledge, whether these families will admit to it publicly or not. While we fully support the legitimate claims of the Ibaloi claimants, we assert that the NCIP should not make the Ibaloi families feel that they are beholden since this is their birthright.
The truth is that the price which Ibaloi claimants have to pay in exchange for their CALTs is not only the percentage of their land which they have to give up for “administrative costs,” but perhaps even more so the infighting, dis-unity and further loss of dignity among the Ibaloi clans which the NCIP system engenders.
The truth is that the very institution that has been set up to protect the rights of indigenous peoples is the very mechanism for their further oppression.
Now, the NCIP wants to throw a cañao in Baguio City, and expects those who have been awarded CALTs to contribute for the occasion and endorse Chairman Insigne’s bid for congress through the partylist. Enough of this shame!
We call on all Ibalois in Baguio to unify and stand up for our dignity. Let us not allow ourselves to be treated so shabbily. Isimphet tan itakshel e shayaw tayo.
(Sgd) GREAT GRANDCHILDREN OF MATEO & BAYOSA CARIÑO, GRANDCHILDREN OF DR. JOSE MA. CARIÑO
Joanna K. Cariño, Jose K. Cariño III, Jocelyn Cariño, Jessica K. Cariño, Jack Cariño,Jill Cariño, Judith Cariño, Linda Grace T. Cariño, Leandro Mateo Cariño, Helena Cariño-Tolentino, Daniel Martin Cariño, Juanita Cariño-Espinosa
Roberto C. Pagano, Alfonso C. Pagano, Reynaldo C. Pagano# nordis.net
By CORDILLERA PEOPLES ALLIANCE-MT. PROVINCE
February 17, 2010
We are alarmed by the upsurge in black propaganda being spread against us by our detractors this election season.
This is seen in make-shift streamers and graffiti painted along Mt. Polis-Bontoc Road, Naguilian Road and Marcos Highway linking partylists of the Makabayan Coalition and its senatorial bets to the CPP-NPA.
We have also received reports from our chapters in the municipalities in the province that progressive partlists and peoples organizations are being branded as fronts of the CPP-NPA or are being linked to the armed rebels.
Much earlier, elements of the military had been reported showing videos branding partylists of the Makabayan coalition and peoples organization as “enemies of the state”. In fact, on February 5, PNP along with personnel from the LGU in a symposium in Belwang National High School, called on the audiences not to vote for partylists. In MPSPC, speakers from the AFP 501stbrigade and 54thIB were Lts. De Vera, Sta. Maria, Bulosan and from Sadanga LGU . They equated CPA and student organizations as CPP members even if they are “Legal” organizations. Many other symposia similar to the above mentioned have been conducted in the province.
This is not something new as they have already done this in the past. What concerns us now is that this may precede another wave of human rights violations because by making and even repeating these unproven allegations about our status, our detractors put the lives of our members in harms way.
We would not have taken all this trouble if our members have not become targets of armed and unarmed attack after this black propaganda being spread by our detractors like what happened in the past.
We would like to remind them that we are legitimate organizations duly recognized by the COMELEC or registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
If they have anything against us, they can go to court instead of spreading lies and innuendos. This kind of behavior does not help in making a healthy atmosphere for democratic debate and contestation during this election.
They –the AFP and PNP— undermine democracy.
Having mentioned the above, should anything untoward happen to our members, we will hold the Arroyo administration and the head of its security agencies in the province and at the national level, responsible. # nordis.net
Letters and Statements: An open letter to students, stakeholders, school admin of higher educ’n intstitutions, and the future leaders of our country
By KABATAAN PARTYLIST
We are the voice of the youth. As a catalytic part of this nation, we are again reaffirming our vital role in nation building and asserting our rights especially that of our right to quality and accessible education. In these turbulent times we ask you, public servants and educational leaders to do the same thing and adhere to our calls.
During Kabataan Partylist’s nine month work in the House of Representatives, we had put forth bills for the youth that have not even attempted by the many who came before us. We lobbied for the approval of House Bill 6799 that prompted the Commission on Higher Education to set up an anti-”no permit, no exam” policy among schools. Truly, another gain for the students but has been denied by universities and colleges locally.
Baguio has taken its role as a university town wherein education sure comes with a high price. Now more than ever, we need the culture of caring and concern that the city drumbeat as we face difficult challenges to come. Surprisingly, there was no development in the so called “education capital of the north” in terms of its services to its student constituency.
This coming academic year, we brace ourselves for increases 5% and up on our tuition and miscellaneous fees. At Saint Louis University, a 5% increase in tuition will strike freshmen who have nothing but high hopes for their education. Not only that, but all other students shall have miscellaneous fees subject to a 6% increase. The University of the Cordilleras likewise increase 10% in tuition for all of their students together with the University of Baguio with 15%. Disappointingly, this year’s round of increases has even reached 556% on a miscellaneous fee.
Today we support our colleagues in the student councils as they lobby and face administrators in local table battles in the universities and colleges where the fight is at the toughest. We support freedom loving students who continue to conduct information drives and activities to raise awareness on the issue. Also, we give recognize the academic and non-academic personnel, who like us, do not receive what is due to them and continue to seek it along with us. Lastly, we give gratitude to our parents and families who will be receiving most of the weight of the coming increases that are supporting us.
We believe that as educators and leaders, it is your imperative to nurture the youth’s minds and to provide them a venue for growth. This cannot happen when education costs a limb to acquire. This cannot happen when profit becomes the primary objective.
To the administrators of higher educational institutions who propose a new round of increases we urge you then, in the name of Filipino education, to bring an end to tuition increase and exorbitant fees. We call for true and democratic consultations to be implemented in schools.
We challenge the Baguio city council and concerned local government units to go out and let us experience a bit of the city’s culture of caring and concern. We urge the council to show and their support for House Bill 2440 or the Tuition Moratorium Bill by intervening and convincing school administrators to withdraw their proposals. Also, we appeal to the Baguio city police officers to protect the rights of students to peacefully organize and assemble. We also urge the local media to propagate issues of youth and students and support us in facing these challenges.
We call for the active concern of our leaders, both present and future, as stakeholders for the youth’s prospects. We compel you to make the necessary improvements to the educational system and allow students from all walks of life to realize their dreams and to serve the country and the people. Leadership cannot be exercised from high places. We, the youth, call for transparency and compassion. We call for an accessible and quality education.# nordis.net
By KIMBERLIE OLMAYA NGABIT QUITASOL
when you feel
like the world
is spinning round
And walls are closing in
you could not
when you feel
like throwing up
and your guts
are spilling out
you could not even cry
even if you are tired
though it is hard
and it shall all
come to pass
you’ll see. # nordis.net
By ALMA SINUMLAG
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — The Supreme Student Government of Benguet State University (BSU) conducted a Fun Run for Love on February 13, 2010 in commemoration of the Valentines Day.
“The main objective of this event is to promote healthy relationship to lovers, friends, and other relationships. It is not necessary for lovers only.” Claver Pil-o, SSG senator and the coordinator of the event stated. He also added that this event will also encourage women in the university to involve themselves in sports especially in track and field. It had been noted that the number of female athletes in the university is declining.
The organizers of the event made it mandatory for the participants to be male-female pairs. According to Pil-o, this activity is very helpful in balancing male and female runners and promoting camaraderie among athletes.
The event was also participated by youth outside the university like the Katribu Youth from various universities namely, University of the Cordilleras (UC), University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB) and from the hosting university.
In the duration of the Fun Run, partners maintained holding each others’ hands until the finish line. There were also marshals who are checking on the participants along the way in case of emergency but fortunately, the Fun Run went smoothly.
After the run, there was a short program to announce the 1st to the 10th finisher pairs. There were also awards given to the youngest and oldest participants. The youngest participant was a student from BSU. On the other hand, one of the Katribu Youths received the Oldest Finisher award. # nordis.net