Serve the People UP alliance on iskolar ng bayan
They were called “iskolar ng bayan” because a substantial part of their schooling was paid for by the people’s taxes. In gratitude, they were supposed to be “iskolar para sa bayan” and were to use their knowledge and skills to benefit the people.
The math is straightforward: 4/5 of the cost of educating each student was paid for by the people’s taxes, 1/5 by the parents. When the UP administration tripled the tuition fees, only 2/5 of the tuition is shouldered by the people, with 3/5 paid for by the student’s parents.
With the tuition and other fees still going up, the student is effectively no longer a “iskolar ng bayan”; and, with the UP administration, — under pressure from a government whose policy is to reduce, and eventually remove, the subsidy to state universities — determined to raise money for its operations through the usual commercial ventures the student, as iskolar ng bayan, fades out. He will no longer be under the psychological impact of being a “iskolar ng bayan”, therefore obligated to be a “iskolar para sa bayan.”
But not to despair. There will always be iskolar para sa bayan. A just cause always creates a iskolar para sa bayan in each of us; in fact, one does not need to be a iskolar ng bayan to be so transformed.
For photos, click here.
— On Sun, 6/15/08, Terry Ridon <email@example.com> wrote:
Serve the People UP!
A multisectoral alliance campaigning for a celebration of the true essence of the University of the Philippines and for the stoppage of the UP Administration’s widespread commercialization efforts
Vinzons Hall, University of the Philippines, Diliman Quezon City
June 15, 2008
SERVE THE PEOPLE UP ALLIANCE (STEP-UP) DECLARES SEVEN DAYS OF MOURNING FOR DEATH OF ISKOLAR NG BAYAN AMIDST A COMMERCIALIZED UP ON ITS CENTENNIAL
“With President Arroyo’s signing of the new UP Charter into law a month ago, the Iskolar ng Bayan is dead, and UP’s institutions that have made these students the pride of the Filipino people have all been burnt to the ground. There is no reason to rejoice in this week’s UP Centennial as UP has already lost its soul.” This was the statement of Dr. Judy Taguiwalo, National President of the All UP Academic Workers Union and Lead Convenor of SERVE THE PEOPLE UP, an alliance of different university-based, multi-sectoral organizations campaigning for a stoppage of the UP Administration’s widespread efforts to commercialize UP lands, raise tuition and other fees, especially during the current celebration of UP’s centennial.
On the other hand, Jacqueline Eroles, Councilor of the UP Diliman Student Council says, “While pro-commercialization student groups have been hailing the new Charter as bringing the University of the Philippines into the new century, the Ugnayan ng Mag-Aaral Laban sa Komersyalisasyon (UMAKSYON) and the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND-UP) cannot help but declare the demise of the University of the Philippines, as the new Charter legally sealed the coffin of widening democratic access to UP education and preventing unwarranted commercialization schemes.”
Sarah Raymundo of CONTEND-UP, an organization of progressive university professors in UP adds, “All of these are viewed as anathema to the former standing of the University as a prestigious yet democratic academic institution. With the new UP charter, majority of UP lands shall now be open for commercial and industrial expansion through joint ventures and long-term leases, instead of utilizing these idle assets for the building of more academic units, specialized institutions and extension programs in pursuit of national development goals.”
Meanwhile, Clodualdo Cabrera, National President of the All-UP Workers Union laments, “Unfortunately, UP lands shall be fair game for the building of call centers, condominium, supermarkets, as can clearly be seen now with UP’s disposition of hectares of land in the UP Arboretum for multinational call centers in th guise of building a state-of-the-art Science and Technology Park. They are doing this whilst failing to provide the rank-and-file staff their due legal benefits this Centennial year.”
Also ,UP Student Regent Shahana Abdulwahid raises her misgivings on the supposed tuition consultations,”The new Charter gives the nominally reconfigured Board of Regents absolute authority in the raising of tuition and other fees, despite token provisions on the need for comprehensive consultations. One only needs to review the track record of the UP Administration during tuition consultations of the 2006 tuition increase in which student consultations were railroaded a few weeks prior to the approval of the increase, notwithstanding forcing its approval despite widespead student opposition across the UP System.
She adds, “The UP President herself declared that the UP Administration shall stick with its policy to consult only the “students concerned”, effectively rendering toothless the representative authority and prerogative of leading student institutions such as the student councils and the Office of the Student Regent.”
Terry Ridon, spokesperson of YouthRevolt-UP Diliman, a broad alliance of student organizations campaigning for the ouster of President Gloria Arroyo declares, “All these problems are precisely because of President Arroyo’s failed policies in higher education, most of which have been pilot-tested in UP, such as forcing UP to internally generate its own income while her government restricts its annual subsidies. This has caused UP’s tuition to skyrocket by 300%, from PhP300/unit, to PhP1000/unit, effectively depriving many poor but deserving students from entering UP in the last two years of its implementation.”
Ridon finally adds, “As such, the campaign of STEP-UP against UP’s commercialization shall not end in its barrage of protests during this week’s UP Centennial celebrations, but shall continue forth until Mrs. Arroyo is forced out of office through people power as we fully know that only until a reversal of Mrs. Arroyo’s failed policies in higher education can the dismal situation of the University be best addressed.”
Reference: Terry Ridon, 0918513904