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Biyernes, Pebrero 15, 2013


"it's about time to make a stand"

In Defense of Student Activism

“Do not go gentle into that good night… Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.” –Dylan Thomas We thought we were dying. We thought student activism had gone down the slope, and had become irreconcilably “uncool” for this generation. Truth be told, for the past four years that we’ve been in UP, walkouts have barely reached a competitive number compared to the number of attendees from the last corporate-sponsored shindig. We thought that, nowadays, it was impossible for the students of the University to mobilize for something other than the Oblation Run or the Lantern Parade. But we were wrong. At least, for a day. Last November 25, an estimated number of three thousand students from UP Diliman walked out in protest of the 1.39 Billion-peso budget cut that the Aquino administration was slashing off from State Universities and Colleges (SUC’s). True, there remains a strong opposition from our Senators, namely Sen. Drilon and Sen. Sotto, on the reality of the budget cut, but even Malacanang admits to committing the reduction. More credible than Malacanang itself are the thousands of University-educated young individuals—not just from UP Diliman, not just from the UP System—who took it to the streets and made themselves visible and vulnerable to the state’s most gentle police force. Any UP student knows what it’s like to come to a classroom with chipped linoleum tiles, dilapitated plywood ceilings, while at the same time, trying to complete their thesis in the Main Library which has not had electricity for three months now. We needed, and still need, that additional budget. Thousands of us tried to take a stand. It was high-time for student activism. Nevertheless, last Wednesday, the Senators, our Senators, turned deaf ears to the protests held right in front of their gates, voting against the re-alignment of the country’s budget; voting for bombs, not books, a militarized budget with an overblown increase for the purchase of arms. The Aquino administration, undeniably overflowing with wisdom, has insightfully advised for SUC’s to find other ways to generate income to replace the lost budget. They suggested that UP utilize its land grants, by selling or renting these lands to corporations to earn money, citing Ayala TechnoHub as such a project; as if the University, or worse, the SUC’s, could earn as much as 1.39 Billion with such projects. True, the UP Charter allows such dealings to be made. However, it does not allow these deals to replace the budget allotted for the University. And if the government continues to encourage corporations to take hold of the University, the graduates of UP will not feel morally obliged to serve the country any more. On the other hand, they, we, would be adopted sons and daughters of corporations—and education would simply be a matter of money, a commercial asset. There, I have said the necessary lines to justify protesting against the budget cut. It’s quite well-known among us who were there in the mobilizations. Now, let me get on your nerves. During the first day of the walkout, we defaced the white pillars of Palma Hall with spray paint stencils of a hangman tied to a yellow noose. The noose was shaped like Noynoy’s yellow ribbon. Quite artful, in fact. Witty. Far from mere vandalism. With our less than legible penmanship, we wrote our messages of protest on the walls with red paint. On the streets, we painted caricatures of the President which showed a more realistic image of the President for us—twisted and unmerciful. We cut our classes for those days and missed out on lessons students were obliged to learn in order to “truly become students.” We know these “activist habits” usually turn off those who are not in to the rallying scene. Trust us, though, these turn us off, too. I mean, wala na ngang budget, sisirain pa ‘yung gamit, or, wala na ngang budget, di pa papasok sa klase, right? Believe us, if it didn’t turn us off as well, we would not have wanted to do it in the first place. Why do we protest against the budget cut, when we spend so much for spray paint to deface school property? Twisted logic, we know. However, that’s exactly our point. We are happy we turn you off. True, Palma Hall is indeed much more beautiful without the hangman. I’ve had a dozen group pictures of myself taken there with friends when it was much cleaner during my earlier years in UP. True, it would have been neat to jog around the Acad Oval without the gangsta graffiti on the road. True, I would have had a clean attendance record for my classes had I not rallied. I know these for myself. However, we would not have been able to show our aghast at the filthy misdeeds of the Aquino administration had we done none of those. We would have been complacent, conforming to the “alternative” offered by the government. Anyway, we know we are brilliant Iskolars ng Bayan, we can get the grade even if we miss a few meetings, but we can never fight for the future Iskolars ng Bayan if the budget is slashed now. Had we not vandalized, had we not disrupted the everyday routine of coming to class, then it would have been submission to the blatant neglect done by the government. We have to ask ourselves, what conditions would make us rage? We don’t rage when we comfortably watch the sensationalized news of a reporter too excited to get the scoop. We don’t rage against the news of the budget cut when it’s sandwiched between commercials of our favorite celebrities. We don’t rage against the violence committed against our farmers when it’s shown to us in class and we need to write an essay on it to get a grade. We rage only when we, ourselves, are held tight, suffocating. We rage when we see disorder, when we are in disorder. Thus, our cry is to heighten this disorder. The atrocities done cannot be countered by silence. Philippine society has become too comfortable with this supposed “order” of things. What we agitated students want to do is to rouse you, rattle you, to rage against this comfort we all know so well. True, that sumptuous feast of bacon and eggs you’re having is not an illusion, but the comfort is a farce. What society has successfully trained us to do is to shut off our critical minds to the violence we, ourselves, are unconsciously dealing by simply being thankful for the simple things in life, when nothing ever is that simple. We must be active against active decay. We are not pushing for anarchy, though. That’s why we’re extending our invitation to everyone who can and are willing. That is why we’re here. We’re right beside you. We’re not just faces on the boob tube, not just Facebook status messages, not just signatures on a piece of paper those Senators would never see, not just students confined in the classroom, but we’re students who stand by our choice and its consequences. And we choose to fight for a decent answer, even if it means standing under the heat, being accosted by the police, and missing out on our classes which, really, we value. A lot. Perhaps, too much. We’ve tried lobbying in Congress, we’ve tried talking to those in power, we’ve pulled out all the stops, but we still get no decent answer. So, how else do you accommodate thousands of raging students? Definitely by keeping them out of GSIS Complex. A day is good enough for a restart. We are losing time. Soon enough, the Iskolar ng Bayan might take on the face of only those who are financially-fortunate if this injustice continues. We can serve the country now, even if we have yet to join the workforce. Represent the student sector. Let it be that for once, the students of the University feel what it’s like to fight for a greater cause, to fight a losing game, and in the end, lose it. Just as Rizal’s character, Simoun, fueled Basilio’s anger against the system by subjecting him to defeat, let the administration’s stupidity fuel the anger of the youth, the young, to lead them to an inspired war against the status quo. In a way, we are thankful for losing that battle. More and more, we are seeing how this Administration is trying to kill us. Yes, we are dying. But we are not dying without a fight. Dino Pineda is a student of UP Diliman and an active member of UP Asterisk. By DLS Pineda.

We uphold Accountability,Responsibility,and TRUE Integrated Governance.

We STAND for every rights of the students.

We value the essence of STUDENT EMPOWERMENT.

We STAND up for the revival of college based STUDENT PUBLICATIONS.

We STAND up for EQUALITY and RESPECT and SOLIDARITY with our muslim, lumad and christian brothers and sisters.


We STAND up for the struggle of every organizations to be recognized in the Institute so that they can conduct activities and strengthen their organizations.

We just don't TALK, or just think of our personal IDEOLOGIES.

Vote this coming elections.. STAND IIT.