Archive for November, 2011

Youth Critic on DBM chief’s statements on education: Education should serve the interest of Filipinos, not foreigners, a chosen few

Press Statement

November 24, 2011

In an article published in the Baguio Midland Courier last November 20 headlined as “DBM chief tells SUCs to spend their funds wisely,”  ( it was reported that Abad “urged officials of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in Region 1 and the Cordillera region to institute reforms that would boost government tertiary education and to ensure that money on SUCs are spent on priorities and for the government (sic) invest more with SUCs.” Moreover, Abad “highlighted the need to have good linkage with the industries, such as the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, which is gaining ground in the country, and the electronic industry like Texas Instruments in Baguio City and Clark, Pampanga.

Members of progressive youth organizations in the Cordillera see these statements by Abad as a clear manifestation of the government’s initiative to further commercialize the sector of education in the country.  Abad’s remark that pushes SUCs to establish ties with industries like BPOs clearly manifests the kind of prioritizations the government is strongly recommending for these SUCs to take. The government is encouraging SUCs to design their education program so that it builds “global competitiveness” which is just serving foreign interests in disguise. It is also short of saying that funding will be more abundant for SUCs who abide by this recommendation of the government.  We assert that these partnerships with private industries open the SUCs to compromise the education they give to students in favor of the industries’ and other profit-seekers’ interests.

This statement by Abad only manifests the way the government treats the education sector. Instead of seeing this as a basic service that must be given to its citizens as part of their rights and as a means to equip them with knowledge and skills necessary for the development of a nation, the government merely sees education as a business where they can invest on. They invest on students by training them in selected fields which they deem can contribute in boosting the country’s economy. Sadly, the government’s idea of boosting the economy is through OFW remittances obtained from Filipinos working abroad. Education is not geared towards what the country really needs and what kind of skills its citizens must have in order for them to help in building the nation. In the end, this only reflects the dilemma of the education system in the country. More than the issue about the budget it receives, it is a question of what is the content of this education and what are the ends projected for it to respond to. Now, the government is becoming more vocal in the kind of education it seeks to sustain. It is a kind of education that trains students to be “globally competitive” and work abroad instead of contributing in boosting the country’s economy by working here, support its own industries and give services to its fellowmen.

We, members of different youth organizations in the Cordillera sees the current education system as one that does not attend to the needs of the entire Filipino people and is utilized to maintain the status quo where the rich and those in power benefit from the labors and by exploiting the impoverished majority. Only by overhauling this education system and the larger social set-up where this is included can we more easily achieve genuine, and not tokenistic progress for this nation.  We call for the institution of an education system that caters to the interests and needs of the Filipino people which will replace the current system that is geared towards the interests of foreigners and a few local elite.






No thanks, Hillary, USA, we are not that interested: On USA’s support on the Philippines’ Spratlys struggle and why we should rather be by ourselves

Press Statement

November 18, 2011

Let us forget about the Spratlys first, if it is part of the Philippine territory, let it be settled in another arena.

There are around five countries struggling for the legitimating of ownership of the disputed Spratlys territory. The Philippines is one of them. In the thick of the battle for the oil-rich area in South China Sea, confrontations have been made both on the table between high officials and on the seas between vessels and navy forces. At the entire course of this tussle among several Asian countries, the Philippines has had the support of its “long-time ally” – the USA.

And during her visit in the country last Wednesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “assured Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin during talks in Manila on Wednesday that Washington would give its longtime ally a second Coast Guard cutter virtually for free some time next year.”

In the light of Clinton’s pronouncement last Wednesday, we are seeing yet again another deceptive gesture from the USA. Not to be taken as a kindred act of generosity or helpfulness, we see this act as subsumed under the USA’s general intention of helping the Philippines win the Spratly’s battle in order for them to have an easier access to the abundant oil deposits in the disputed territory. With its close ties to the Philippines (which is just “control,” or “dominion” sugarcoated), the USA can freely acquire the oil reserves in Spratlys once the Philippines gets legitimate ownership of the area.

To extend this further, this is still implicated in the larger set-up where the USA maintains its close relation with the Philippines to take advantage of the resources it can get from the country (think of cheap Filipino labor, our vast mineral, water and land resources, additional marked for their surplus products). This act is not out of goodwill or sincere cooperation. This is exploitation at its subtlest, and hence, evilest. We are not giving thumbs up to Clinton’s and the USA’s second warship offer to the Philippines. We are casting suspicion and calling for vigilance and a critical stance. The long, “friendly” history between USA and the Philippines has proven to be one leaning more towards the interest of the former, and usually at our expense. For all we know, this second warship is its latest manifestation.






Putting the axe on the perpetrators and the system of injustice

Press Statement

November 17, 2011


It has been two years and just like most of the other cases filed in this country, the Maguindanao Massacre has yet to prosecute a mastermind and give even a tinge of relief, or sense of justice to the families of the victims.

Charges were filed against suspected masterminds such as Andal Ampatuan Jr. but all that happens to them are stay as charges and not translate into a conviction. Again, we are seeing right in the eye the saddening culture of impunity that gives justice to every injustice being done in this country. Evidences have been laid out against Ampatuan and his cohorts yet the legions of families and kins of the 58 murdered in the savage massacre remain unsure of who was primarily behind the cruel incident that took away a loved one or two from them. As if knowing who was behind it was any consolation, even this is being deprived from those left behind.

We return to the culture of impunity and how it gives no discouragement, and even arguably gives the opposite, to those who are brazen in breaking the law and stepping on the rights of others for their own interests. And we can move forward to our crooked justice system that needs years, more tediously, decades just to put someone behind the bars, and make him suffer at the very least for what he has done.

This is a justice system that is only a reflection of the kind of society we have now. This is a justice system that is implicated in the overall system existing in our society now. This is a justice system controlled by the powers-that-be; again, for the sake of their interests.

In the current set-up of the society where there are those who are more privileged than others, has more money and power than others, it is not surprising that the power relations create systems that favor only those who are rich and powerful. The judiciary system is only one of these poor systems that speak only for those who are privileged and powerful. What this system breeds are killings tolerated for months and years, killings that happen at the first place because of intense political greed, and many other injustices committed by those powers-that-be at the expense of the poor, the voiceless and the ones at the margins.

For the nth time, we call for justice for the victims of Maguindanao massacre. We want a society where those who tell the truth are not silenced or killed, where there is no longer a division between those who have power that covers up their evil and those who are exploited in return. This farce of injustice has to stop. More importantly, the farce of a system where this injustice comes from should also be axed.  




Support Statement for Holy Angel University’s The Angelite


In theory, every student publication must be able to practice its right to freedom of expression. As the main vehicle of the views and concerns of the students, the biggest population inside the campus, the publication must be guarded not just by its staff members but the entire students against possible violations of this freedom.

However, it is common knowledge that what is written in paper or what is stated in everything-that-ought-to-happen usually does not translate into practice. Recently for instance, the administration of the Holy Angel University (HAU) illegally implements the non-mandatory collection of funds of the publication and files charges of libel against the staff of The Angelite. These questionable actions of the HAU Administration do not have a sound basis and only manifest the repressive character of most school administrations in the country.

Given the potential of every student publication in contributing to the existing discourses in the university, from every news article, investigative report or wall statement it releases, it is always prone to repressive mechanisms especially once it does or writes something that does not favor the interests of the powers-that-be.

In the end, we condemn the move of the HAU administration that led to the non-mandatory collection of publication funds and the filing of libel case against the publication. We see this as part of the larger set-up where conflicts between those who protect the status quo and those who seek to change it naturally exist and those who are at the side of the status quo resorting to all means possible, even unjustified ones, just to quell the forces of those who seek to bring in change. While the Administration aims to sustain the existence of a corrupted system marked by conservatism and repression and where the constituents are kept meek and unquestioning, there are those who are at the forefront of promoting critical thinking and progressive actions. Clearly, the student publication has the potential to be at the forefront of every struggle for exposing and ending the unjust set-up where it exists. And only through the collective effort of everyone who aspires to change the current, corrupted set-up, from the publication staff to the entire studentry, can the struggle to end the existing order be won.





CEGP Baguio-Benguet

CEGP Baguio-Benguet elects Execomm members in Lunduyan 2011

Press Release

November 09, 2011

Editors and staff members from BSU Mountain Collegian, KASC Earthline, KCP Loquitor, SLU White and Blue, UC Alternative and UPB Outcrop participated in Lunduyan 2011 held at Dioko Resort, Butterfly Farm, San Pablo City, Laguna last October 22-26. Out of the 187 total delegates in the annual Luzon-wide event of the College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines, 26 delegates from six publications came from CEGP Cordillera. The latest Lunduyan has former CEGP National Chairperson VIjae Alquisola, UP Diliman Professor Michael Andrada, Alex Padilla, Palanca Awardees Mark Angeles and Jun Cruz Reyes topping its list of speakers. Journalism skills trainings and socio-political discussion were conducted in the five-day gathering. Twenty-three months after it shocked the nation, the Maguindanao Massacre was also commemorated in the event. The daughter of slain environmental activist and mediaman Gerry Ortega also came to speak about the death of her father and the continued campaign for justice and the stopping of the culture of impunity in the country.

For CEGP Baguio-Benguet, the only provincial chapter in Cordillera, the election for the vacated positions in the Executive Committee was also held. Elected Internal Vice Chairperson was Juman Kevin Tindo of Mountain Collegian and for External Vice Chairperson was Jesusa Paquibot of UPB Outcrop. Meanwhile, appointed by the Chair as Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General were Jordan Mappang and Lois Bellingon respectively, both from UC Alternative.

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