VIGAN CITY (Jan. 25) — Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casiño urged the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) to act fast over the escalating campus press and student repression at the University of Northern Philippines (UNP).
Casiño wrote the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) Commissioner Romulo Neri and UNP President Lauro Tacbas and raised alarm over continuing repression and rights violation the UNP management is committing against editors and staff of Tandem, UNP’s officials school publication.
“The situation since then has rapidly deteriorated as students are facing blatant harassment from military or police agents, an admission that repeatedly came from the UNP president himself,” Casiño noted.
The letter mentioned that UNP students filed a complaint at Ched Regiona1 in August 2007 but to this date, no action has been taken.
“With the objective of upholding the students’ welfare, this Representation seeks the Commission on Higher Education’s intervention for the prompt resolution of the said allegations,” the letter concluded.
Among the violations the students raised were harassment and surveillance against students, prohibition from entering the university during enrollment, confiscation of leaflets and posters/wall news, suspension of collection and withholding of publication fund, and threatened shut down of the student publication.
Meanwhile, Tandem Editor-in-chief Criselda Diocena welcomed the Congress’ intervention but expressed disappointment over UNP’s response.
Diocena said the UNP administration called a meeting to discuss the letter and they ended up discussing on the new editorial policy of Tandem.
The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP)-Ilocos condemned the moves of the UNP administration.
Paola Espiritu, CEGP-Ilocos Coordinator, said that the UNP administration’s claim of upholding and defending press freedom is mere lip service.
“They have just proved that they are enemies of the campus press,” she said. # Rod Tajon for NORDIS