Still, education is a right

February 23, 2006. One of the difficulties running under and campaigning for STAND-UP is that numerous students, including many in my circle of friends and orgmates, apparently have this conception that STAND-UP is all about mobilizations and rallies and its members all activists who complain but do nothing. Once they see these candidates in red, they immediately roll their eyes and shut their ears. This aversion of people, especially of my friends and orgmates, depress me somewhat, and I personally wish this stigma would be corrected. They are unfair judgments based on false generalizations. They are biases produced by a long-entrenched media and government propaganda against militant movements.

Some people say that STAND-UP is too immersed with national-level issues, na masyado raw concerned ang STAND-UP-lead council sa mga isyung labas ng UP. Why shouldn’t we be concerned with national issues? Hindi p’wedeng ihiwalay natin ang academic life natin sa national situations kasi UP tayo. We are, in the first place, a state university, and whatever happens on the national level, whatever the policies our lawmakers and administrators implement, affect us as UP students and as ordinary citizens of this country.

Example, ang appropriation ng national budget ay isang national issue, pero apektado ang UP d’yan. Sa 2006 proposed national budget, PhP 65 million ang budget cut ng UP from last year’s allocation. And it has been a trend in Gloria Arroyo’s administration, to cut the budget for tertiary education. Diyan naman nag-uugat ang halos lahat ng problemang idinadaing ng ordinaryong mag-aaral sa UP. Poor facilities, kakulangan sa tambayan, papataas na papataas na lab fees at tuition, at iba pa. Sa College of Mass Communication, ni walang nakalaang budget for capital outlay. Kaya hindi matapos-tapos ang Media Center. Kaya pinipilit ng admin manglimos sa alumni. Patuloy ring lumiliit ang budget ng CMC for personal services and operating expenses. Kaya papataas naman nang papataas ang lab fees natin. We should not be contented with what other candidates say, na dapat iba’t ibang fund raising activities ang dapat gawin. There is something bothersome with that line of thought. We should never allow the government to slowly abandon its duty to subsidize our UP education! Kailangan talaga na tutulan ang budget cut, at kung kailangang mag-rally ang mga estudyante, gagawin at gagawin natin ‘yan. Napatunayan na nating epektibo ang mass actions noong 2001 nang mag-rally ang mahigit 5,000 na UP students at napigilan, bagkus nadagdagan pa nga ng halos 800 million ang UP budget. If you hate rallies so much, what other effective ways do you suggest?

Isa pa, bilang iskolar ng bayan (as opposed to iskolar para sa bayan), meron tayong responsibilidad sa bayang kinabibilangan nating at bayang nagbabayad para sa ating pag-aaral. Our indebtedness lie with the people. Nakikinig rin dapat tayo sa daing ng ordinaryong tao.

Hm, so there. Let us support the candidates na may tunay na paninindigan at makikibaka talaga para sa interes nating mga estudyante. There’s much more left to be said but this is all for now.

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