Trapo spins, huh?

The controversial Tuition and Other Fee Increases proposal in the University of the Philippines is to be tackled by the Board of Regents on December 15, Friday–right after the annual Oblation Run and a little before the annual Lantern Parade, probably in a bid to distract students from participating in such an important meeting.

Some UP tuition increase supporters love heralding Winnie Monsod and her pro-ToFI (Tuition & Other Fee Increases) columns in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Today I came across the UP Diliman University Student Council (USC) Chairperson’s reaction to her latest column where she ridiculed the anti-ToFI rally last week. Part of it read:

Monsod then champions the concept of the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP), which supposedly groups students as to how much they should pay depending on their income. But Monsod (purposefully) failed to mention that under the current STFAP, three out of the nine income groupings are given full subsidy for tuition; and with the current proposal, only the first of the five new income groupings will be fully free from paying tuition. This group will constitute no more than 10 percent of the students. [Juan Paolo Alfonso. Philippine Daily Inquirer] [emphasis mine]

A little while ago, Mong Palatino, a former USC chairperson, also posted a rebuttal to Ms. Winnie Monsod in his blog. In his entry titled, “Mareng Trapo,” he turns the table around and questions Winnie Monsod’s own trapo-like spins and behavior.

During the “˜Estrada Resign’ campaign, before the Chavit expose and when it was not yet popular to chant “˜Erap resign’ in the campus, we were only mobilizing about 100-200 students in front of Oblation. But Monsod never doubted whether UP was really against Estrada. Monsod was even heard on TV and radio talking about how UP really detests the former President.

In the same column, Monsod describes the waving of banners as a waste of time. Yet Monsod was part of the UP contingent which supported a multisectoral rally against suppression of the free press in Ayala in August 1999. She was always present during the anti-Estrada rallies in Mendiola. She even donated food and money in support for the UP delegation. Now she claims rallies contribute to the negative perception of UP. Perhaps she is really against students participating in street demonstrations. But her political ambition (she is a former senator-wannabe) led her once to show support for mass rallies. Isn’t this a trapo-like quality? Monsod equated a trapo with intellectual dishonesty and incompetence. She accused the chair of the student council of citing inaccurate information about the UP tuition hike which misleads the public. This coming from an economist (and free market fundamentalist) who indoctrinated generations of leaders that free trade and neoliberal economics are the only solutions to eradicate poverty in the country. And where are we now?

It is she, along with her minions who are intellectually dishonest and incompetent. It is Monsod who misleads the public by portraying the UP scholarship program as effective and benign. (It is she who dupes the masa by lending her reputation as scholar in endorsing detergent products.) [Mong Palatino] [emphasis mine]

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