September 27, 2009 in national
By WENDY ATUBAN
BAGUIO CITY— The University of the Philippines Baguio community rallied against privatization and various forms of repression taking place inside the different constituent universities of the UP system.
Coinciding with the Board of Regents meeting on Friday at the UPB lobby, the movement, which was participated in by the All UP Workers Alliance, student council, student and faculty regent, and students, aimed to confront the issues faced by the different sectors in the university.
The AUPWU opposes the planned privatization of the the Philippine General Hospital. Allegedly, plans are in the offing regarding the opening up of PGH for private companies and pharmacies.
Larry Laurate, president of the AUPWU UPB chapter said his organization support the call against privatization of education and the PGH. He said privatization serves the interests of the rich when in fact the PGH is where the poor run to when sick. He fears “this is an initial move for the privatization of PGH and of everything,” especially education. He asked, “saan na tatakbo ang mga mahihirap?” (Where will the people run to?).
Likewise, the alliance also voiced out support for the call against the proposed oil exploration at Los Banos Laguna. More or less than four hectares of land at the place is being applied for for oil exploration by the Philippine National Oil Corporation. Laurate claimed this is another first move for privatization.
Meanwhile, Judy Taguiwalo, faculty regent, announced triumphs of the collective bargaining of the employees such that the P5,000 incentive they were pushing for and the three cavans of rice for each faculty and employee were approved by the body. She said the next thing they will be asking will be that “mapagkalooban ng bigas pati mga contractual employees.” She also promised and urged everyone to join their effort during the deliberation on budget of state universities in Congress.
Repression and militarization in the campus
The ensuing student confrontation with Student Regent Charise Obanez yielded stories of campus repression in most of the constituent campuses. Obanez confirmed her office is receiving reports from different officials of the university student council showing military presence and black propaganda activities happening at the different campuses.
She said the reports showed that on July 22, the UPLB-USC reported that military men were inside the campus. On the same date and the following days, he USC and student publication building were guarded by heavily armed men. Allegedly, the military presence was due to existence of communist leaning organizations.
She said red-tagging of student leaders of militant organizations including past members of the student council and writers of the student publication is common. She calls this “black propaganda” because she alleged nobody knows about the existence of such organizations. She claimed this might just be deliberately done to red tag studnt leaders as terrorists and members of the CPP-NPA.
Obanez also laments the inaction of the UPLB administration over said events. “Ayaw magbigay ng expression of condemnation ng Administration nung hiningan namin,” she said.
She likewise related that UP Mindanao was also occupied by a battallion although they already left.
Meanwhile, in Diliman, the movie ‘Knowing thy Enemy’ was being shown to students.
Obanez said her office directed all units in the university to be compile reports and continue documenting all such happenings. She advised everyone to be vigilant while she urged continuing struggle for democratic rights and campus freedom. “Patuloy ang paglulunsad natin ng opensiba para sa laban sa pagprotekta sa batayang karapatan,” she said.
President Emerlinda Roman advised all concerned to come up with complete reports so they will talk about this in the next BOR meeting. # nordis.net