February 28, 2012
Recently, the College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines Baguio-Benguet has received reports from the CEGP National Office about an incident of surveillance in Catarman, Samar during the Samar-wide CEGP Convention at the University of Eastern Philippines last February 23-26.
Pauline Gidget Estella (CEGP National Deputy Secretary General), Angelo Karl Doceo (chairperson of CEGP Samar Island), Micah Susana Rubenecia (secretary-general of CEGP Samar Island Chapter and editor of The Pillar, official student publication of University of Eastern Philippines) and Darrel Tibre (staff writer of The Pillar) were followed and interrogated by suspected intelligence agents of the military on February 26, the last day of the convention. This prompted them to pass time in the house of one Guilder in Brgy. JP Rizal. While the CEGP Samar Convention had already concluded, suspected military intelligence agents conducted a “house-to-house” inquiry/inspection in the housed in the said barangay. They claimed to be looking for three campus journalists who have been under surveillance since February 26.
Just today, the local chapter received yet another report of harassment being experienced by n editor of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa’s The Warden. According to the report, recurring cases of surveillance in the said editor’s house have been recorded.
CEGP Baguio-Benguet is extremely alarmed by these reports it has been receiving in the past days. These cases are not new to us and only appear to manifest the systemic tactic of harassment against campus journalists, particularly members of the Guild which is known for its patriotic and democratic orientation. With its long, unflinching tradition of making a critical stance against the government and its anti-people policies, the Guild and its members have become targets of state fascism. Exploiting the military institution at their advantage, the administration resorts to tactics like this in order to quell the potentials of the campus press to tackle issues rarely delved into by the mainstream media, propagate alternative perspectives on these issues and eventually, instigate the formation of an alternative consciousness among its readers.
In the increasing call of our times to get outside and express our discontent and clamor for meaningful change in the face of growing poverty, unemployment, incessant violation of human rights and political malaise, we have seen how the youth has courageously rose to the occasion. As shown by the recent Occupy and Strike movements, the youth has actively registered its voice along with the other sectors of the country. With CEGP at the forefront, the campus journalist has also participated in these storms of protest, dismissing the old notion that the writer must stay at the middle, merely documenting the events around her.
If we get something positive out of these recent cases of harassment, it is that it shows the status quo is being shaken vigorously and those elite few who benefit from it at the expense of the majority are more threatened than ever at the people’s rage and call for meaningful change. Still, we are not forgiving. These cases shall only be condemned and stopped. While we remain in this system where those in power exploit the majority, we shall continue writing the most critical of articles to expose the deceit and the evils of this system and those who wish to maintain it. We shall continue forging a liberating consciousness that can eventually prod our readers into decisive actions. Not even cases like these can dampen our spirits. With the unity among the ranks of campus journalists, we shall continue writing and working for the change this country deserves.