November 27, 2011 in Ilocos
SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union — More than 101 strikers from Save Union Christian College Movement (SUCCM) held an alternative celebration of the 101st founding anniversary of Union Christian College (UCC) while the school administration conducted its own version of the foundation day inside the school grounds here.Conducted in front of UCC main building was a prayer vigil, a protest rally, a variety show and boodle lunch along Widdoes Street on November 17-18, 2011, the SUCCM celebrated with church members, friends and advocates.
This is the sixth of the series of protest activities staged by the SUCCM since August against the chairman of the board and president of the school, and to bringing back the school into its original path of being a prime educational arm of the United Church of Christ Philippines (UCCP), their press statement read.
SUCCM believes that the school programs implemented under the board of trustees chairperson and former school president ran counter to the principles and Christian practice of the UCCP that legally “owned” the Union Christian College (UCC).
Bishop Sambat clarified in an interview, “Aside from issues of corruption, mismanagement, dictatorial leadership, union busting, unjust and inhuman policies and actions, the LAGON-TURGANO tandem administration is very critical and disrespectful of the church leadership over the UCC”.
He said, the attempt to move UCC away from UCCP is very clear through their actions that they are bent to copy what has been done to Northern Christian College and Bethany Hospital. The SUCCM as well as the leadership of the church is taking legal action to address these critical issues at UCC.”
Beleagered chairman Benjamin Turgano, and Pres. Filemon Lagon expressed the opinion that the UCC is not owned by UCCP, to which SUCCM vehemently disagreed and mounted more protests to demanded both officers to vacate their positions.
“If not UCCP, who owns UCC, Lagon and Turgano?” Pastor Tejada retorted in the rally,
“The UCC administration through the instigation of Chairman Turgano will appoint today an OIC President who had a fishy and corrupt administration as that of Dr. Lagon. She once had been the UCC president before Lagon’s time and her administration is described by many allegations of mismanagement and corruption. Tejada said.
Again, the school is getting bankrupt while suffering from a great dropinenrollment. We have a school leadership full of trash and recycled trash.” he said.
SUCCM is demanding for the ouster of BOT Chairman Benjamin Turgano and the resignation not retirement (as requested by Lagon from the BOT apparently to keep incentives or gratuity) of UCC President Filemon Lagon.
It is also pushing for the non-acceptance of Dr. Pilar Buenaventura (UCC Corporation Member) as the OIC President, a position vacated by Dr. Lagon.
According to Rev. Sunggay (member of the UCC Board of Trustees), the procedure of Dr. Buenaventura’s appointment is questionable as it did not pass through a legitimate process .
Sunggay said that she was appointed as OIC President in a BOT meeting without a quorum presided over by Turgano, and from the corporation code of the Philippines, a President of an institution can only be chosen from the BOT members and not from corporate members.
Ptr. Edilberto Andade said, “As long as Benjamin Turgano is still here, no matter how the BOT chooses its president, if the president elected is pro-Turgano, the interest of Chairman Turgano will still prevail in the school and the BOT will not work for the interest of the church because in essence, Benjamin Turgano is the de facto president of the school. We condemn this kind of unchristian leadership”.
John Paul de Castro, son of one of the illegally dismissed union officers (an action that sparked the beginnings of the protest movement), expressed a solidarity message to the movement saying that the struggle of his father is also his struggle because his father’s struggle for work is directly connected to his struggle for his right to education.
In the labor case resolved by the court between the UCC Administration and the UCC Faculty and Staff Union (UCCFSU), there already is a court order released by NLRC that the school shall re-instate 11 illegally dismissed employees and pay their corresponding salaries from the month they were dismissed, as well as all the legal financial expenses incurred by them. Until now, there is no compliance to the order.
Bishop Elorde M. Sambat, UCC BOT member and once a member of the UCC Management Committee, (mancom) said, “We should know why we are now here brothers and sisters, that first we love UCC and second we love UCCP, and we are saddened by the reasons why our school is getting bankrupt, and we take actions to save UCC and exorcise it from this present unchristian leadership within the BOT.”
When the assembly formally dispersed the emcees closed it with a promise, “We have successfully registered into the mind of the people our demands and the reasons and we will continue this actions until Turgano is ousted.”# nordis.net