Why not Mendiola?
by Krissy Conti
December 8, 2011
Mendiola, at the foot of the seat of political and economic power in the
Philippines, has historically been a protest area. A campout in Mendiola
against the prevailing system of government, like the Occupy movement in
Wall Street against corporate greed, has the “power of place”. We were
there last September, last May and the year before, in December. Why has
President Aquino closed down the area to activists this time, permit or no
Mendiola is named after Enrique Mendiola, a lawyer and textbook author.
When the University of the Philippines was founded, he was appointed to
the first Board of Regents along with Rafael Palma and Trinidad Pardo de
Tavera. The bridge that Mendiola crosses is officially named after Chino
Roces, a journalist and libertarian. Roces was an anti-Marcos activist,
and for his staunch nationalism Cory Aquino gave him the Philippine Legion
of Honor Award, the highest honor the country can bestow to a civilian.
Both men were obviously attuned to their times. Both men made assiduous
effort to record all happenings, with hope that the future can make sense
of their work. Both men know that they have planted the seeds of change.
How fitting thus that Mendiola serves to put character into the politics
of protest in our urban landscape.
Free the Mendiola 5!
They are being charged with sedition, violation of BP 880, and other
offenses. Three of them are PUP students, one a youth cultural worker, and
another, a worker.
We also hold the police accountable for injuries caused by brutal
dispersals. The UP students who needed medical attention were RG Tesa and
Kate Castrence. Scores of others were harrassed and sustained minor
injuries: former Student Regent Jaque Eroles, Absie Eligio, Anton Dulce,
UP Diliman indignation rally at AS steps, 11:30-1pm today. Please wear
Assert our right to campout at Mendiola!
Join the human rights day mobilization in Mendiola on December 9 and 10!
Fight for greater state subsidy to education and social services!
Struggle for genuine change! Change the system!
December 09, 2011
Six reasons why we had to join the camp-out
The basic premise of this occupation lies on these three words: we had
The people had enough of the crisis. We marched to Mendiola and mounted
our tents along Bustillos Street, setting up the People’s Camp. This is
the country’s own version of the Occupy movement across the globe, the
people’s response to the imperialist assaults to the rights of the 99
percent of the population.
There are six reasons why we had to join the camp out:
1. Cuts on the budget for social services. The 2012 budget, despite the
hefty cuts on the allocation for health and education, was approved by
both houses of the Congress. The passage was railroaded amid the strikes,
the noise barrages, the unity marches and other forms of action that
different sectors have staged. The “people’s budget cut” is a matter of
life and death. For instance, the reduction in the budget for health will
have massive consequences on the operations of government hospitals, which
cater to the majority of the people.
The cuts were a form of an imposition of international monetary
institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, the new
face of imperialism. The World Bank has posted a condition for loan:
reduce the budget for social services and increase the budget for debt
The Aquino administration has chosen to honor the debt that was not
incurred for the benefit of the people. There is enough basis for debt
cancellation, especially because the debt was onerous, but the
administration did not follow the examples of countries such as Argentina.
2. Commercialization of education. Education is a right, not a privilege.
It is easy to understand this point, but the Aquino administration could
not grasp the idea of a quality and affordable education. For Noynoy
Aquino, quality education has a price tag, and is exclusive to those who
can pay. Year by year, tuition rate continues to rise and dubious
miscellaneous fees are approved (and in many instances, miscellaneous fees
are higher than the base tuition). Year by year, more and more students
drop out of school because they could no longer afford the cost of
3. Lack of genuine land reform. Only 12 families own all of the
agricultural lands in the country. Farmers in the countryside, despite
decades of back-breaking labor in the fields, remain poor because they do
not own the land they till, while some take home a very small portion of
net income (which is already meager to begin with) after paying debts
incurred for cultivating the land, fertilizer, among others. The
Philippines is an agricultural country, but was forced to import rice from
its neighbors because the government does not invest in national
industrialization, which is the only way that we can eliminate the
backwardness in agriculture.
4. Unjustly low minimum wage and contractualization of labor. The minimum
daily wage is P404, less than half of the almost P1,000 daily cost of
living for a family of five. As a result, many Filipinos leave the country
everyday in search for greener pastures, notwithstanding the risks and the
lack of protection from abuse. Instead of generating stable and decent
jobs in the country, the administration had further emphasized labor
export as a means to uplift the economy, even though the constitution
clearly states that labor export should not be used as a way to fix the
economic woes of the country.
5. Violation of human rights. The number of extrajudicial killings and
enforced disappearances is steadily rising under the Aquino
administration. No case of extrajudicial killings has been resolved, no
perpetrator has been held accountable. Even the persecution of Gloria
Arroyo was a product of the efforts of progressive organizations, not
6. Rising prices of commodities. The prices of oil, electricity and
transportation have been increasing at unprecedented levels. History has
shown that unhampered increases were due to policies of privatization,
liberalization and deregulation. Public utilities are being sold to the
private sector, although by experience, we can tell that this
privatization of government assets will lead to higher prices of public
services. Likewise, by removing government regulation of oil prices, the
big three oil companies have all the freedom to dictate oil prices for
These are the objective conditions. Indeed, the country, and the rest of
the world, has been a site of injustice and exploitation. This is now the
time to register the people’s dissent against the inequities in economic
status and foreign domination. This is a way to register the people’s
dissent against the rotten system. This is a duty of every citizen who
wants to fight for his rights and the rights of his children.
Join the camp out. Join the People’s march for human rights on December
Vanessa Faye Bolibol, Camp-out PH media officer, 0926-1703655
December 08, 2011
Various groups condemn violence vs campout
protesters; "campout" protests reach regions
Various groups, institutions, and sympathizers condemned yesterday's
violent dispersal of Day 2 of 'Occupy Mendiola' which left three seriously
injured, five arrested. Dozens of students, teachers, employees, and
workers were also wounded at the hands of the police.
At the University of the Philippines and the Polytechnic University of the
Philippines, students, faculty members, and employees held indignation
rallies to protest the police brutality. while four students and one
worker was arrested. Many also wore black as a symbol of mourning the
'death of democracy' in the country. No less than UP President Alfredo
Pascual issued an official condemnation of the police violence which was
read at the press conference in UP today.
"Why is the Aquino government so paranoid that it is afraid of the simple
and peaceful act of camping? When has the call for social change become an
act of 'inciting to sedition' and 'rebellion'" said Vencer Crisostomo,
national chairperson of the youth group Anakbayan.
He added "If calling for real change in the country as an act against the
government, then clearly, they are admitting that no such change is
possible under their rule".
Meanwhile, the 'Occupy Mendiola' movement has begun to spread as similar
camp-outs in Iloilo, the Southern Tagalog Region, and the entire
University of the Philippines were established today. Back in Manila, OFWs'
families and members of Migrante International joined the campers in front
of Bustillos Church as they called on the Aquino government to save the
life of a Filipino who facing execution in China today.
Last night, students from the province of Bulacan joined the occupation.
They will also be joined by progressive lawmakers from the partylist
groups Bayan Muna, Kabataan, Anakpawis, Gabriela Women's Party, and ACT
Teachers' Party. In the following days, they are expected to be joined by
thousands of farmers from Hacienda Luisita and the Southern Tagalog region
who are calling for genuine land reform.
"This is the essence of 'Occupy Mendiola': the 99% of the Filipino people
resisting the poverty and oppression which the ruling 1% has imposed on
us. Landless farmers, workers who are forced to go abroad, students facing
budget cuts and tuition hikes: all of them are victims of the system in
which the 1% holds all the wealth and the power" said Crisosotomo.###
Vanessa aye Bolibol, Campout PH media officer, 09261703655
UP Community Condemns State Violence! Supports the
Assertion of the People’s Right to Hold Protest in Mendiola! Restates
Statement of UP KILOS NA on the Brutal
Dispersal of Demonstrators Marching to Mendiola
December 8, 2011
The planned three-day protest, Kampuhan sa Mendiola Kontra Kaltas, Krisis
at Kahirapan (Camp out in Mendiola against Cuts, Crisis and Poverty) from
December 6 to 8 led by youth and student organizations was not a secret.
Timed several days before December 10, International Human Rights Day, the
protest is intended to highlight the people’s impatience and exasperation
(sawang-sawa na!) over the Aquino’s government’s continuing attack against
education and health as reflected in the cuts to SUCs and public hospitals
in the 2012 budget and link this with the pervasive poverty in the country
and the social injustice against farmers such as the Hda. Luisita farm
workers whose right to the land continues to be violated and Filipino
workers whose demand for P125 wage increase remains unheeded. These social
issues have underlying historical and structural roots –a country which
remains a neo-colony, where high government officials and crucial policies
are subservient to foreign masters and dictates; a country where
feudalism, of almost a similar type exposed by Jose Rizal over 100 years
ago, enslaves majority of our rural population.
What better place to hold the camp-out than historic Mendiola—witness to
the unstoppable protests of the people through successive regimes.
Mendiola where four students were killed on January 30, 1970 in the Battle
of Mendiola which was part of the First Quarter Storm. Mendiola, witness
to the anti-dictatorship movement participated in by Chino Roces whose
monument is in the center of Mendiola. Mendiola, witness to the massacre
of peasants in the 1987 Mendiola massacre during the time of Corazon
Aquino. Mendiola, witness to the determination of the anti-Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo movement to challenge and resist the prohibition of
holding rallies in Mendiola in 2006!
But the violent dispersal by police forces of the demonstrators on
December 6 and more so on December 7 has shown that protests in Mendiola
under the regime of Benigno Aquino III will be treated no differently from
his immediate predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. A phalanx of policemen
and several fire trucks were used to prevent the protestors from
proceeding to Mendiola.
Yesterday, December 7, harsher and more brutal state violence was once
more was used to suppress legitimate dissent. Not content with hosing down
demonstrators, police forces beat up many of them, targeting the heads of
the youth, leading to injuries that required hospital treatment. Two UP
students, Rg Tesa, STAND UP Secretary General and Kate Castrence, CAL
student, were among those brought to PGH for treatment. Five demonstrators
were arrested and remain in jail incuding student journalists and
But the history of Mendiola and the history of the occupants of that
palace close to Mendiola bring home the lesson that tyranny has a short
shelf-life in the face of a united and determined people. The text on the
T-shirt of one of the protestors in the rally sums it very well: “We will
not bow down to repression. We will not bow down to injustice. We will not
bow down to exploitation. We’re gonna stand up!”
Now standing up means joining our youth and our people in the camp-out in
Mendiola against repression, against injustice, against exploitation!
Assert our right to camp out in Mendiola!
Condemn the violence inflicted by state forces
on demonstrators asserting their right to assemble in Mendiola!
Persist in our demands for:
A pro-people budget that prioritizes education
and health over debt servicing and military spending! Assert higher budget
for UP, state universities and public hospitals!
Genuine land reform for farmers and the
immediate distribution without compensation of the Hda. Luisita to the
Wage increase for private workers of P125
nationwide, across the board. P6,000 salary increase on base pay of
government employees !
End contractualization of workers in the
private and public sectors!
Stop the demolition of urban poor communities!
Demand for on-site accessible housing for the poor!
Free all political prisoners! Justice for all
victims of human rights violations!
KUNG AKALA MO NA
NAKIKIUSO LANG KAMI SA BUONG MUNDO
ni Rustum Casia
Hindi ito parang
dahil wala tayong magawa kaya tara punta tayong Mogwai, nomnomnomtambay.
Hindi ito parang
dahil walang internet sa bahay kaya tara check-in tayo sa Sogo Pasay.
Hindi ito parang
dahil ang ganda ng buhok ng isang Occupy wallstreet Protester kaya tara
punta tayong Recto maki-occupy Mendiola din tayo, wag mo kalimutan ang
camera para may maipost tayong twitter photo.
Hindi ito parang
dahil ayaw lang natin sa taas ng kilay ni Abigail Valte at
binabalisawsaw tayo sa statement ni Edwin Lacierda kaya tara, imbes na
kanta sa commercial ng Selecta ang gawin nating trending topic; yung
report sa lumaking yaman ni Noynoy ang irepost natin.
Hindi ito parang
dahil nangangating sumapak ang ating mga kamay kaya tara harapin natin
ang maximum tolerance na inilatag sa daan papuntang Mendiola.
Hindi ito dahil wala tayong matulugan kaya tara maki-camp-out na lang tayo.
Hindi ito dahil gusto lang natin makita sa personal si Blkd at Axel Pinpin.
Hindi ito dahil gusto lang nating ng libreng tugtugan.
Hindi ito dahil mga camwhore tayong gustong makita ang mga sarili sa
website ng The Washington Post at The Guardian habang pinapalo ng batuta
ng maximum tolerance ng PNP.
Hindi ito trip.
Hindi ito hobby.
Lamang kung ang
Mendiola ay makakapagprotesta.
ni Pia Montalban
para to sayo, Zen
Lamang kung ang Mendiola ay makakapagprotesta.
Lamang kung ang Mendiola
Sa pagkakabasag ng kanyang pandinig
sa di magkamayaw
at walang pahingang pagsigaw
ng talumpati, islogan, at protesta
Sa pagkakababoy ng kanyang bihis
dinikitan ng mga tulagalag
at nananawagang plakard
at pinturahan man ng maningning na dilaw
upang pagtakpan ang nanggigitata't
di mahugasang matingkad na mantsang pula
Sa pagsangsang ng kanyang bakuran
sa pinagsamang pawis, laway, at ihi
ng binasurang masa, mga basurang
nagmartsa pabalik sa bumasura sa kanya.
Lamang kung ang Mendiola
Binaklas na nito ang barikada
Hinawi ang pulutong hukbo
ng militar at kapulisan
Pinitik sa 'sang tabi ang trak
ng basurang bibitbit
sa binasurang mamamayan
Pinahayo ang mga pulang
brigadang pumapatay ng sunog
At dinestrongka ang di-nakakandado
ngunit bantay-saradong Palasyo.
Lamang kung ang Mendiola
Alam natin kung saan ito papanig.
Bunga ng 'lang siglong pagkatuto:
na ang kalsada ay di dapat na binabarikada;
ang hukbong sandatahan ay dapat para sa Bayan;
ang tunay na basura ay ang kasula-sulasok na pagsasamantala;
at ang dapat na apulahing sunog,
ay ang kapitalismong nakatutupok sa dignidad ng tao;
na ang Palasyo,
at ang nakaupo rito,
ay empleyado lamang
ng nagbubuwis na mamamayan.