June 8, 2008. More than a week ago, I was present at a meeting of sorts with UP President Emerlinda Roman. Apparently, she wasn’t aware than I am a member of the incoming University Student Council and is presently the secretary general of the leading militant student alliance in the university. Because she thought she was speaking with like-minded students, students who thought like the administration, she went on talking very casually about her feelings towards militants and activists. I was thinking if I should’ve courteously disclosed my affiliations, but didn’t end up bothering to, because I sort of wanted her to just go on saying things she might have not in my presence. She did admit a few things, among which her recognizing how difficult it is to defeat the militants in the student council elections. Because she thought we were all non-activists, she urged us students present to consolidate better in order to win against the activists in the elections. I was wiling to pass those, among other things, off, as I had expected such thoughts to come from her.
However, when we were about to leave, she left us with an interesting remark. She said she was pleased President Arroyo’s moratorium on tuition increases in state universities won’t affect the University of the Philippines. She said, “Buti na lang di tayo apektado noon ‘no?” Hindi na lang ako nag-react. That just capped and reinforced my disappointment at the UP President, pleasantries and sweet tarts aside. It also reinforced the fact that President Arroyo’s moratorium on tuition increase is all for show to water down youth dissent, as it is meaningless because tuition and laboratory fees in state colleges and universities have already increased incessantly the past years.