Iskolar ng Bayan reaffirms commitment to serve the people

at the UP Centennial launch activities

 

UP Diliman Campus

 

January 8, 2008

 

 

 

While it is important to recognize the academic and professional achievements of the University and its grand roster of graduates, Iskolars ng Bayan and the entire community must never lose sight of the painstaking struggles of generations of UP students, faculty and staff to secure UP’s place in Philippine society as its critical conscience and bastion of enduring calls for genuine democratic reforms.

 

More so, these struggles have decisively forced a shift from the original conception of the UP as a mere training ground for government bureaucrats and technocrats in its early years into a University with an inevitable social role in nation-building and service to the Filipino people through its graduates and academic institutions. It is never enough that UP and its graduates have been successful in their professions and fields, without reaffirming the commitment to serve the Filipino people in whichever way possible.

 

-- from the statement of STAND-UP on the UP Centennial

 

   
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Statement of STAND-UP on the UP Centennial

As the University of the Philippines reaches its centennial, the Students for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND-UP) is united with the entire UP Community in celebrating UP’s one hundred years.

While it is important to recognize the academic and professional achievements of the University and its grand roster of graduates, Iskolars ng Bayan and the entire community must never lose sight of the painstaking struggles of generations of UP students, faculty and staff to secure UP’s place in Philippine society as its critical conscience and bastion of enduring calls for genuine democratic reforms. More so, these struggles have decisively forced a shift from the original conception of the UP as a mere training ground for government bureaucrats and technocrats in its early years into a University with an inevitable social role in nation-building and service to the Filipino people through its graduates and academic institutions. It is never enough that UP and its graduates have been successful in their professions and fields, without reaffirming the commitment to serve the Filipino people in whichever way possible.

No one shall ever forget the nascent struggles of Wenceslao Vinzons and Arturo Tolentino when they organized the Young Philippines Party as a counterpoint to a landlord-dominated Philippine Congress in the years of the Philippine Commonwealth, notwith- standing Vinzons’ heroic stand with Bicolano guerillas during World War II against the Japanese occupation. Also, forthwith came Renato Constantino who opened the eyes of generations of UP students on the necessity of studying Philippine history from the lens of the Filipino people, whilst Jose Maria Sison and his comrades provided UP students a plausible revolutionary alternative in changing the structures of Philippine society. More important than these personalities were the student movements of different historic periods in UP which successfully foisted to the public eye the deepest yearnings of a supposedly democratic Philippines, such as the Diliman Commune and the First Quarter Storm of the 60s and 70s, both of which echoed the nation’s anger and rage over unceasing government corruption and creeping, soon naked, authoritarianism. This tradition of struggle for the people’s rights continued until the end of the Marcos dictatorship in which many UP students of the 80s committed themselves to joining a reinvigorated Marcos ouster campaign from the death of Ninoy Aquino until the EDSA Revolt in 1986.

Post-EDSA, the UP students were still unrelenting in fighting for the rights of the people. During the 1990s, no one shall ever forget the UP student caravans to Subic and Clark which decisively contributed to the success of the people’s movement to expel American troops from Philippine soil, notwithstanding the successive UP student movements against the passage of the General Agreement of Tariff and Trade, the Oil Deregulation Law and the Visiting Forces Agreement in the mid-to-late-90s. Moreover, the unity in struggle of the UP students were also tested and proven during EDSA II, when tens of thousand of UP students marched from their different campuses to join the popular uprising against President Estrada over corruption charges.

Today, the tradition of the UP students in defense of the rights of the Filipino people remains, with the various campaigns in UP campuses holding the present Arroyo government accountable for its countless excesses, including massive corruption, human rights violations, and unabated commercialization of education, even right smack in the University of the Philippines, with its 300% tuition increase, commercialization of prime academic assets for the building of call centers, and its unrepentant push for a pro-commercialization and anti-democratic UP Charter.

In all of these, the enigmatic call of Paglingkuran ang Sambayanan continues to resonate among the present crop of Iskolars ng Bayan even if generations had passed since Vinzons first walked past the outstretched arms of the Oblation. It is not due to nostalgia as to why this remains. It is borne out of a full understanding of the fundamental role of the Iskolar ng Bayan as not only maGaling!, but as the living testament of the hopes and aspirations of the Filipino people to whom the University and the Iskolars ng Bayan owe its very existence.

Paglingkuran ang Sambayanan!
Isulong ang Maka-masa at Makabayang Edukasyon!

 

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VANTAGE POINT
 

A PHILIPPINE UNIVERSITY
By Luis V. Teodoro

DESPITE funding constraints, the University of the Philippines (UP),
which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, has grown from a
small institution on Manila's Padre Faura street into a national
university system of 12 campuses (including the cyber or virtual
campus of its Open University) and seven constituent universities.

UP has the most extensive undergraduate and graduate degree
programs of any university in the country, and the largest, most
competent corps of faculty from creative writing to law,
communication to nuclear physics.

Because a UP diploma is by general consent the key to
successful careers, annually it attracts the brightest and best
students from the country's secondary schools, tens of thousands of
whom take the dreaded UP College Admissions Tests (UPCAT).

UP programs are the benchmarks for other institutions-the
private and (non-chartered) government colleges and universities
under the supervision of the Commission on Higher Education. UP
graduates are not only leaders in the professions, the arts, and the
sciences in the Philippines. They have also excelled in foreign
climes. And despite talk about its "decline," it is still the only
Philippine university that always makes it to any list of the
world's best.

It sounds like a success story, and in many ways it is. But
neither growth nor reputation should be the measure of an institution
of higher learning's success, at least not in a country like the
Philippines. Of even more crucial moment is whether the University
of the Philippines can now truly be said to be a university for the
Philippines and for Filipinos.

This is at the heart of a statement issued last Tuesday by
the All- UP Workers Alliance, and the Congress of Teachers and
Educators for National Democracy, an organization of UP faculty
members across the entire UP System.

After describing what both organizations claim is a
commercialization and privatization policy in place in UP today, the
statement declares the urgency of transforming UP into an authentic
"University of the People" able to address the basic problems of the
Filipino nation it serves.

The complaint against commercialization refers to the policy
various UP administrations have adopted, to a greater or lesser
degree, of utilizing the university's assets to augment its finances.
It's a response to dwindling budgetary support from every Philippine
government that's come to power in recent times, from that of
Ferdinand Marcos to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's.

A major expression of this policy were the increases in UP
tuition and other fees, which many UP faculty and students fear will
erode a major UP advantage as well as mandate: its capacity to
attract and educate the most gifted students from all over the
country.

The fear is not without basis. Several UP colleges have
reported declining enrolments after fees were raised, as would-be UP
students discovered that they would be paying almost as much for a UP
education as they would in certain Catholic schools with better
facilities, newer buildings and prettier campuses.

It's futile to argue that the value of the education it
offers can't be measured in terms of how many computers a school has
and how well maintained are its flower beds, and that the worth of an
educational institution lies in its human resources. For years,
however, high school graduates have flocked to UP despite its rundown
facilities because at least the fees it used to charge seemed
reasonable.

As shallow as that may seem, it worked out well in the end.
UP had the pick of the best and deserving, and the latter received
the education the best minds of the country could provide. The fee
increases seem to be changing all that, and in this sense the future
may yet prove the decision to raise fees misplaced, though prodded by
the need to augment inadequate funds from the state.

Its doors' being open to as many Filipinos as possible is a
major factor in its lead as an educational institution. But there's
also the fact that as a state university, UP's educating the poor
would seem to be a considerable part of its mandate.

It's in this sense that the demand that it be a university of
the people is being made, and you can't do that if your fees are
beyond even middle-class reach. At another level, however, being a
university of the people also means offering a kind of education
that's devoted to both nation and country rather than to self. It's
always been implicit in UP culture-the assumption that, having been
educated by the people whose taxes support UP, graduates will give
back something in terms of using their skills and knowledge to help
the people realize their aspirations for a better, more just, more
equitable society. It's summed up in the admonition, known to every
UP student, to "serve the people."

In a university ironically established under colonial
auspices, but now immersed among a people struggling still for the
same goals-social justice, freedom, progress-that over a hundred
years ago the first Republican revolution in Asia had raised, it's a
commitment that should occupy a special place in every UP student's
and alumnus' heart.--###

Comments and other columns: www. luisteodoro.com

 

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UP SA IKALAWANG DANTAON, UP NG SAMBAYANAN

Pahayag ng mga Makabayang Guro, REPS at Kawani ng UP
Enero 8, 2008


Ano ang kasalukuyang mga larawan ng UP na makikita ngayong ipinagdiriwang ang sentenaryo nito?

Ø Kailangan nang magsuot ng ID para makapasok sa maraming gusali sa kampus.

Ø Hindi na kailangang mag- aral ng kasaysayan ng Pilipinas ang mga mag- aaral.

Ø Pakaunti nang pakaunti ang mga lugar na libre at malayang magagamit ng mga guro, mag-aaral at kawani para sa pagtitipon, pagtatalakayan, pagpupulong at pagpapahayag ng pagtingin sa mga isyu.

Ø Pataas nang pataas ang matrikula ng mga mag- aaral at binabalak na ngang singilin ang mga mag-aaral ng buong halaga ng kanilang edukasyon.

Ø Ginigiba ang mga komunidad ng maralitang naninirahan sa loob ng kampus para magbigaydaan sa mga highway at negosyo at napapaligiran na ang kampus sa Diliman ng mga gusali at proyekto ng Ayala Corp.

Ø Sinasara ang maraming serbisyo ng Unibersidad tulad ng UP Printery at University Food Service.

Ø Inaresto ng UP Police sa loob mismo ng kampus ang tagapangulo ng University Student Council sanhi ng pagsuporta niya sa mga hinaing na nalay-off na manggagawang kontraktwal ng Unibersidad.

Ø Kinansela ang Lantern Parade 2006 dahil sa takot ng administrasyon sa rali ng mga mag-aaral laban sa pagtaas ng matrikula.

Ø Hindi nakapaglathala ng pinakamahabang panahon pagkatapos ng martial law ang Philippine Collegian dahil sa panggigipit ng administrasyon.

Ø Palakas nang palakas ang tinig ng teknokrasya habang pinatatahimik ang malaya at demokratikong deliberasyon sa lahat ng antas ng pangangasiwa sa Unibersidad.

Maraming nangyayari ngayong sentenaryo ng ating mahal na Unibersidad na hindi pa nangyari dati. At hindi man ideyal ang nakaraang mga dekada ng UP ay may ilang batayan din ang bahagyang damdaming nostalgia para sa UP ng kahapon. Masasabi ito sapagkat ang kasalukuyang ipinapatupad ng administrasyong Roman na mga palisi ng pribatisasyon at komersyalisasyon ay mga prosesong patindi nang patindi at palalim nang palalim ang epekto sa isang pampublikong institusyon tulad ng UP. Habang tumatagal ay lalong nagiging malalim ang bisa nito at lalong nagiging litaw ang mga panlabas na manipestasyon.

Daig pa ang lahat ng nakaraang administrasyon ay tinutulak ng kasalukuyang administrasyon Roman ang mga prosesong ito ng pagbabaklas ng UP bilang pampublikong institusyon hanggang sa pinakarurok. Kitang-kita ang labis na pangangayupapa at lubusang pagyakap ng kasalukuyang administrasyon sa «market fundamentalism» na nagpapalagay na ang lahat-lahat ay kailangang iayon sa takbo at pangangailangan ng pamilihan. Bilang ideolohiya at bilang doktrinang neoliberal ay bulag itong tinatanggap at sinusulong ng mga teknokratang negosyante ng pamantasan.

Sinusukat ng ganitong kaisipan ang lahat ng pag-unlad at pagsulong ng kaalaman ayon sa makikitid na pamantayan ng tubo at pagtubo. Nahuhubog ang buong proyektong pang-akademiko tungo sa pagsunod sa mga kahilingan ng salapi at inilalayo ito sa mga direksyon ng tuwirang pagtugon sa humihiyaw na mga pangangailangan ng sambayanan at isinasantabi ang mga bagay na maaaring mahalaga ngunit walang tuwirang kinalaman sa komersyo. Taliwas sa ibinabandilang “kalayaang pamilihan”, ang panunuot ng lohika ng pamilihan sa pangkabuuang pamamalakad ng unibersidad (kasama ang represyon at terorismong pang-estado sa mas malawak na lipunan) ang isa mga pinakamalaking banta sa kalayaang pangakademiko sa pamantasan. Sanhi ng komersyalisasyon at pagsasapribado ng pamantasan ay natatabunan ng kultura ng karerismo at konsumerismo ang matayog na ideyal ng paglilingkod sa bayan habang ganap na pinapalitan ang kamalayang bukas at mapagpalaya ng kamalayang makitid at makasarili.

Kaharap nito’y kailan pa magiging tunay na unibersidad ng sambayanan ang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas? Kailangan pa magiging realidad ang mithiin at panaginip ng mga iskolar ng bayan na sinisimbolo ng Oblation? Tulad ng nahapag sa Unibersidad noong panahon ng batas militar, ang sagot sa mga tanong na ito ay isa ring tanong: «Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?» Habang patuloy na naliligalig ang lipunang Pilipino ng kawalang hustisya sosyal ; habang buhay pa ang diwa ng pag-aalay ng talino at husay sa ikauunlad ng bansa at ikagagaling ng naghihikahos na nakararami ay makakaasa tayo na hindi komersyalismo at pribatisasyon ang magiging kinabukasan ng pamantasan. Habang handa pa tayong ipaglaban ang mas malawak na interes ng masang Pilipino ay maaasahan nating makakamit na sa ikalawang dantaon ng UP ang tunay na katuparan ng edukasyong naglilingkod sa sambayanan.

UP Pamantasan ng bayan, Paglingkuran ang sambayanan!
Labanan ang tumitinding komersyalisasyon at pribatisasyon ng UP!


All UP Workers Alliance
Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and
Democracy (CONTEND)

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