Kristel Tejada:
Katarungan para sa Iskolar ng Bayan at Kabataan

■   Part 1     ■  Part 2     ■   Part  3

 

 Posted: March 25, 2013

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Photos by C.J. Chanco, Marilou Morales, NKE-UPC,
UP Aperture, UP Mindanao and UPLB Zoom Out,
           
     
     
     

 

Media Release
19 March 2013

Workers slam Aquino over UP stude’s death

Workers and urban poor led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno marched to Mendiola this morning to condemn Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s education policies as responsible for the death of University of the Philippines student Kristel Tejada.

Carrying an image of the chief executive as the Grim Reaper whose scythe is marked with the words “Budget cuts,” “High prices,” and “Privatization,” the workers said Aquino’s meager allocation for education and permission for tuition fee increases even in state universities laid the conditions for Tejada’s suicide.

“Kristel’s death calls attention to the Aquino government’s anti-youth policies on education. This government has refused to hike government subsidy for state universities and for education and has allowed state universities like UP to hike tuition and other fees,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“As Filipinos who value education, we feel the hurt that Kristel felt when she was forced by the UP admin to go on leave of absence because she was not able to pay her tuition for the semester. Not only did the UP admin deny Kristel of her right to education, it insulted her with the move,” he added.

The labor center also said that Tejada’s death highlights the severe unemployment in the country and the poverty that this brings to ordinary Filipinos.

Despite being a graduate of the Philippine Maritime Institute, Tejada’s father works as a taxi driver who hopes to be employed overseas.

“Kristel lacked money to pay for her tuition fee because her father is a taxi driver whose income is surely insufficient and irregular to be able to send her to UP. The chronic lack of employment in the country causes families like that of Kristel’s to sink deeper into poverty,” Soluta said.

“The combination of chronic unemployment, meager income and soaring prices because of state abandonment is deadly to Filipinos. This combination is becoming worse under the Aquino presidency,” he added.

The labor leader called for greater state subsidy to UP and education, a rollback in tuition and other fees, and the junking of UP’s Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program, which he said merely tries to prettify tuition fee increases in the state university.

He also called on the public to join the “Protestang Bayan vs. Nagtataasang Presyo, Pribatisasyon at Pagtataksil sa Soberanya” on March 20, saying high tuition fees is a problem not only of the country’s youth and students but of all Filipinos.

“Enrollment period is just around the corner and parents are deep in thought as to how they can pay for their children’s tuition fee. It does not help at all that the prices of basic commodities and the rates of basic services are all increasing,” Soluta said.

Reference: Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general, 0928-7215313

 

UP Mindanao 3/19
     
     
UP Los Baños 3/19
Photos by UPLB ZoomOUt
           
     
     
     

 


News Release
March 18, 2013
Reference: Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, 09209035683

CASIÑO CALLS FOR INQUIRY ON SUC TUITION, LOAN POLICIES
Urges government to re-direct funds to benefit students

Makabayan senatorial candidate Teddy Casiño today announced that he filed House Resolution 3044 calling for an inquiry on the various tuition and loan policies of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).

"Government should direct concerned agencies and bodies to immediately review existing policies and rules of state universities and colleges (SUCs) in relation to tuition, loan grants and other payment schemes. While SUCs are granted relative autonomy, government should have a set of minimum guidelines prioritizing the right of students to education over the generation of revenues," the three-term congressman said.

His announcement came after news of the death of a first-year UP student attributed to her family's inability to pay tuition and the university's forced leave of absence policy.
Casiño, the senior vice chairperson of the Congressional Committee on Higher and Technical Education, also urged the re-directing of funds for SUCs.

Last year, the progressive solon lobbied for the reinstatement of the P54 billion budget requested by SUCs as the Department of Budget and Management slashed it to just P37.1 billion.

"The sad part is that of the P37.1 billion budget, at least P27 billion will go to employees’ salaries and benefits alone. This leaves around P6 billion only for operations and a mere P3 billion as capital outlay for new facilities and equipment. This is ridiculously small considering it will be divided among 110 schools servicing more than two million students,” he said at the time.

Casiño has long been advocating for substantial increases in the education budget. He is the primary author of bills regulation tuition fees and protecting the right of students to take their exams even without permit, to choose on whether or not to attend a review center, among others. ###

 

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News Release
March 19, 2013
Reference: Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, 09209035683

CASIÑO ASKS AQUINO TO REINSTATE SLASHED SUC BUDGET
Says UP now a University of the Privileged

Makabayan senatorial bet Teddy Casiño on Tuesday urged the Aquino administration to reinstate the P17 billion slashed last year from the budget proposal of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs). He wants the amount to be incorporated in the 2014 budget.

The amount was slashed by the Department of Budget of Management from the original proposal of SUCs last year.

"The P17 billion must be on top of other additional allotments to cover the needs of the SUCs," Casiño said.

Saddened by the fate of the UP Manila student, Casiño also protested the University of the Philippines - Manila's forced leave of absence policy.

"Kahit pa sabihin nilang binaliktad na nila ang policy, huli na ang lahat. Tapos na ang deadline ng LOA filing at nawala na sa atin ang isang iskolar ng bayan. I never thought my beloved UP would become a University of the Privileged. Pero mukhang ganoon na nga ang nangyayari," he said.
University of the Poor or Privileged?

"Noon, kilala ang UP sa pagtulong sa 'poor but deserving' students. Ngayon, sa UP Diliman pa lang, less than 10% lang o around 400 students and libre ang tuition. Historical low daw ito," he said.

According to the Philippine Collegian, only 2% or 74 students were granted free tuition and stipend, categorized under bracket E2. Meanwhile, only 8% or 323 students were under bracket E1 with free tuition.
During the first semester, 1,700 students applied for student loans in UP.
More budget for SUCs

The three-term congressman reiterated his call during the budget deliberations last year to reinstate the P54 billion requested by the 110 state universities and colleges (SUCs) for 2013.

Casiño said his campaign for higher education budget is something that he will continue in the Senate.
"Of the P37.1 billion allocated to SUCs, only P6 billion will go to operations and P3 billion to facilities and equipment. This is ridiculously small considering that it will be divided among 110 schools servicing more than two million students," Casiño said.

The progressive solon also cited data from the Congressional Planning and Budget Research Department showing that the SUC share in the GDP of the country has declined from 0.41% in 1991 to 0.29% in 2013 amid an increase from 81 to 110 SUCs.

"Our spending per student has also been halved in real terms from P32,620 in 1997 to P16,416 in 2009," Casiño cited the study.###

 

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Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Quezon City

FIFTEENTH CONGRESS
Third Regular Session

HOUSE RESOLUTION No.3044
Introduced by Rep. TEDDY A. CASIÑO

RESOLUTION
DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON HIGHER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION TO CONDUCT AN INQUIRY, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, ON THE VARIOUS TUITION, LOAN AND PAYMENT POLICIES OF STATE UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES TO ENSURE THE PRIORITIZATION STUDENTS RIGHTS TO EDUCATION OVER REVENUE GENERATION AND TO DETERMINE THE LEVEL OF STATE SUBSIDY NEEDED TO MAKE SUCs MORE ACCESSIBLE TO POOR STUDENTS

WHEREAS, on March 15, 2013, media reported the death of a first year student from the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila, with the victim’s family attributing the suicide to financial constraints resulting in her inability to enroll for the second semester and forced leave of absence;

WHEREAS, student organizations revealed that the 16-year old student was a victim of the newly-enforced “no late payment” scheme of the university which in turn forces students to file a leave of absence upon failure of paying their tuition on a given date. The memorandum issued by UP Manila Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Josephine de Luna states that “students who do not pay on the deadline of registration will, by default, not be allowed to enter their classes despite having already acquired subjects;”

WHEREAS, reports from the student’s professors revealed that the student had already sought a student loan during the first semester. However, she was not able to pay the loan and was therefore no longer accommodated during the second semester. Her parents reportedly tried to reason with the administration to no avail. Because the student was not able to pay her tuition and was not granted an extension, she could no longer attend her classes and was forced to file a leave of absence;

WHEREAS, in addition to not being able to pay tuition on time, the student had been petitioning that the university change her Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP) bracket. Amid her father being a taxi driver and her mother a housewife, she was categorized under Bracket D and was required to pay P300 per unit which is equivalent to the standard tuition rate before the 300% tuition increase in 2007. However, her appeal for re-bracketing, if granted, will only apply for the next year;

WHEREAS, the faulty admission and socialized tuition fee policies being implemented had made the University of the Philippines more of an elite school catering to well-to-do and rich students. These policies must be reviewed and changed to allow greater number of poor students access to the premier states university;


WHEREAS, Government should direct concerned agencies and bodies to immediately review existing policies and rules of state universities and colleges (SUCs) in relation to tuition, loan grants and other payment schemes. While SUCs are granted relative autonomy, government should strictly implement a set of minimum guidelines prioritizing the right of students to education over the generation of revenues;

WHEREAS, Government should also immediately redirect funds for SUCs to address their dire need for additional budget. Instead of forcing SUCs to resort to increasing tuition and implementing unreasonable payment schemes or granting token scholarships that will only benefit a few, the national government should ensure that tertiary education remains accessible to the majority of Filipinos;

WHEREAS, Government should ensure that the principles of the state and the rights of the people are protected. SUCs were established to support government scholars who will in turn contribute to national development;

WHEREAS, the Philippine Congress must determine and earmark the level of subsidy needed to make college education free and affordable to students coming from poor families;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Committee on Higher and Technical Education conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the various tuition, loan and payment policies of State Universities and Colleges to ensure the prioritization of students' rights to education over revenue generation and to determine the level of state subsidy needed to make SUCs more accessible to poor students.

Adopted,

TEDDY A. CASIÑO
Bayan Muna Party-list
 

     
     
     
     
     
     
UPLB chancellor
     
     
     
           
     
 
     
     

 


KABATAAN PARTYLIST - U.P. Los Baños
March 19, 2013 Reference Person: Kikay Madeja (09178329667)

Kristel’s death reaffirms a profit-oriented state of education

The university and the country have been shaken with news that exposes the current system and may very well fuel the youth’s rage for a better tomorrow.
The recent death of a UP Manila student after experiencing the pressures of a forced Leave of Absence over unpaid tuition fees and skyrocketing loans is too much; a proof of a life troubled by the quagmire of an unjust Philippine education. We are again reminded of type of education hounded with a commercialized, colonial and fascist system; a system creating divisions among its constituents, pitting the rich against the poor, as if state policies have been used as telenovelas.


How did one spark ignite the fire we see today blazing through the youth, intensifying the call for genuine change? The death of the UP Manila student has proved that the system is unmanageable – basically because it kills what it ought to protect and develop as future leaders. The issue has reverberated beyond social media and into the various and numerous shouts of millions of students calling for a nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented education. Kristel has instilled in us that we should strengthen our hold in the principle that education is a right and not a privilege, whether you are enrolled in UP or not. This issue is not only an issue of UP students; it is an issue of society as a whole, for we believe that the individual should never be isolated from the macrocosm that it belongs to.
 

Kabataan Partylist has always been firm that to place a constitutionally guaranteed right in the pitfalls of a private enterprise will never be just for the youth. CHED continues to justify policies that are anti-student in nature – such as the STFAP and the continued tuition fee increases in public and private schools. As witnesses to schemes like changing curricula, creating degree programs to satisfy the global and capitalist market like the United States, we say that the current state of education is commercialized, colonial and fascist. .
The fangs of a repressive state do not exempt the youth. Students have been running for their lives; some remain missing, like Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, or dead such as Ambo Guran and Cris Hugo due to red-tagging incidents, considering progressive mass organizations and movements like KABATAAN Partylist to instill fear in expressing critical opinion to the administration. Under the chokehold of the government, slowly and painfully, we are dying.
 

We are deeply saddened by the loss of a scholar who once aspired to attain a degree to uphold her family, to prove that she is also a beacon of hope to her nation. But despite this grief, we do not hold our tongues to simple speech – we rather raise our voices and fists in protest and in rage against existing policies!
 

The current system does not care about its constituents – it does not care about its students, it does not care about you; it only cares about its advantages that it can get from you. If left alone, this system of education in our country can devour the youth and the nation in the future. The question remains: Shall we allow this to continue? Shall we allow another one to succumb to the repression brought upon by the merciless state perpetuated by Aquino?
We call for the immediate scrapping of the STFAP and other anti-student policies which bar the right of the youth to education. We call for the tuition rollback in U.P. which is a great disservice to the youth by the very institution that flaunts itself as the “premiere state university”. In line with this, we further our push to change the educational system: from a commercialized, colonial and fascist set-up to a nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented type of education.
 

Light has sparked; it is time for us, the youth, to spread the fire of our principles!
 

Let us seize the initiative and unite!

SCRAP STFAP! ROLL-BACK UP’S TUITION! JUNK TOFI!
OPPOSE REPRESSIVE, ANTI-STUDENT EDUCATIONAL POLICIES!
END STATE REPRESSION! FOR A NATIONALIST, SCIENTIFIC, AND MASS-ORIENTED EDUCATION!

UPLB in solidarity with U.P. System's Black Protest Week against commercialization of education (Wear black):
March 19 – 4pm Carabao Park, Indignation Rally
March 20 – 4pm Ecumenical Mass with other sectors, Carabao Park
March 21 – Walk-out against commercialization of education starting 10AM Humanities Steps
March 22 – Mendiola Protest with other U.P. units


Katarungan para kay Kristel Tejada! Katarungan sa lahat ng Iskolar ng Bayan!

 

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Katarungan para sa Iskolar ng Bayan! A call to strike for JUSTICE!
by Anakbayan Phils
(Notes) on Monday, March 18, 2013 at 12:56am
(photo c/o Aiess Alonso)

Today, we are united in grieving the senseless death of an Iskolar ng Bayan. Starting tomorrow, let us remain united in ending decades of injustice against generations of Filipino youths. Students, parents, teachers, and employees, let us STRIKE for the Right to Education.

For 24 years, the Socialized Tuition Fee Assistance Program (STFAP) has been allowed the University of the Philippines Administration to charge more and more students with higher and higher tuition rates. From P14 per unit before 1989, most UP students now pay P1,500 per unit. From half of the student body enjoying free tuition, less than one in every ten are now the recipients of such benefits.

For 24 years, we have been warned that STFAP is merely another name for 'Tuition Hike', that it is a way for the State to implement its policy of removing any and all public funding for college education. Such a direction was admitted by no less than President Noynoy Aquino himself back in 2010 when he said "(We are) gradually reducing the subsidy to SUCs (State Universities and Colleges) to push them toward becoming self-sufficient and financially independent”.

Not content with burdening poor but deserving students, the UP Administration went as far as to penalize them with a Forced Leave of Absence (FLOA) policy in which students are essentially prevented from studying simply because they do not have enough money.

But sadly, it took the untimely end of a young and promising Filipina for us to take notice, to emphatize with the millions whose dreams have been broken by a Government that views education as a luxury, and not a right.


(photo c/o NKE UP Cebu)

Study Now, Pay Later

This is not a moment for silence. Should we choose to study now and remain apathetic, other students will pay the price later. And as we have tragically discovered, some pay with their lives.

Nothing we can do can bring her back to life. But preventing another tragic loss is well within our power: the power of collective action which has played a central part in just about every right we enjoy as students today.

In the province of Quebec in Canada, students enjoy the lowest tuition fees in their continent because of massive campus strikes during the 90s. Last year, the Quebec government again froze tuition rates after a three-month strike.

Back in 2001, we ended the decades-old pointless Mandatory ROTC program after several months of walkouts, culminating in a ten thousand-strong march by students to then-president Gloria Arroyo’s first-ever SONA. Just three years ago, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines stopped a whopping 2000% tuition hike after a week-long protest culminating in the burning of dilapidated chairs.

Unexcused Absences

Starting this Monday, we call on everyone from UP Baguio to UP Mindanao, and all public and private schools in between to STAND UP and STRIKE DOWN the monstrous inequity of the Aquino administration’s education policies. Let us ‘black out’ our campuses and hold candle-lightings, dormitory discussions, and other large assemblies to unite everyone.

Then on Wednesday, we declare a Nationwide Campus Shutdown where we close the gates of our schools to protest how President Aquino has closed them to the poor.


And finally, on Friday, let us join the loved ones of Kristel as they bring her to her final resting place. Let us offer not just our sympathies, but also our solidarity and the promise that our grief will be the fuel in our struggle for a truly just and humane future for the youth. Because one death is one too many.

Our Calls:

JUSTICE FOR KRISTEL! JUSTICE FOR THE ISKOLAR NG BAYAN!
JUNK THE FLOA POLICY! JUNK STFAP! ROLLBACK THE TUITION!
OPPOSE THE AQUINO ADMINISTRATION'S TUITION HIKE POLICY!
FIGHT FOR A NATIONALIST, SCIENTIFIC, AND MASS-ORIENTED EDUCATION!

(Statement originally found at: http://www.anakbayan.org/katarungan-para-sa-iskolar-ng-bayan-a-call-to-strike-for-justice/)
 


UPLB Black Week Protest vs Tuition Increases
UPLB joins other UP campuses in Black Week Protest to denounce state abandonment of education resulting to tuition hikes, repressive student policies, and denial of the youth's right to a free and quality education. The indignation rally also called for justice for UP Manila student Kristel Tejada and Marry Grace Esguerra, the Grade 3 pupil who was killed despite the “heightened security” bragged by the local government. Representatives of organizations, sororities, and fraternities gave their statements of support in reclaiming UP as ‘Pamantasan ng Bayan’. 19 March 2013

END THE COMMERCIALIZATION OF EDUCATION! EDUCATION FOR ALL! JUSTICE TO ALL FILIPINO YOUTH!

Read more here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/anakbayan-phils/katarungan-para-sa-iskolar-ng-bayan-

 

     
     
UP Visayas Tacloban3/19
Photos by Marilou Morales
     
Candle Lighting Activity- JUSTICE FOR KRISTEL!
March 19 · · Taken at UPV Tacloban College
EDUCATION IS A RIGHT! NOT A PRIVILEGE!!
FIGHT FOR GREATER STATE SUBSIDY! SCRAP FLOA! SCRAP STFAP!
(c) Marilou Morales
KIM OMOS Facebook album
 
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
22 March 2013
 

Youth and students pay last respects to Kristel, vow to intensify fight against repressive tuition policies

Reference:
Atty. Terry Ridon, Kabataan Partylist President (09155310725)
Marjohara Tucay, Kabataan Partylist National Media Officer (09273268776)

In a final act of tribute and commiseration, youth groups and students from various universities and colleges march with UP Manila student Kristel Tejada’s funeral cortege early Friday morning.

Kristel’s funeral march was a sight to behold – a sea of students, teachers, and various sectors wearing the bold red color that was the late Behavioral Sciences major’s favorite.

“In the past days, we paid tribute to Kristel and even welcomed her back to the university that she loved deeply. Now, we march together and accompany her back home, forever remembering her as an icon of our fight for affordable and accessible education in the country,” said Kabataan Partylist President Terry Ridon.

The march began in UP Manila and ended in Mehan Garden, at which point Kristel’s family separated from the crowd and solemnly returned her remains to Sanctuary Funeral Chapel near Blumentritt, where she will lie in state for one more night. She will be interred in the Manila North Cemetery on Saturday.

Meanwhile, from Mehan Garden, youth and students will turn and march towards historic Mendiola to slam the Aquino administration’s “noynoying” on the issue of tuition hikes, despite the growing public outrage sparked by Kristel’s death.

Due to the ‘no late payment policy’ in UP Manila, Kristel was not able to pay her tuition during enrolment last November, eventually forcing her to file a leave of absence last March 13. In the morning of March 15, she was found dead after committing suicide over her unpaid tuition.

Condemning tuition policies that led to Kristel’s untimely demise, protests have snowballed in the past days in various universities and colleges. In UP units nationwide, daily candle-lighting protests were conducted since Monday, and statues of the Oblation throughout several UP units were veiled in black to symbolize the “death of affordable and accessible education in the country.”

“The student movement has a lot to learn from Kristel’s life and death. She is one of the victims of an educational system that has denied many from our ranks the constitutional right to education and social services,” Ridon said.

“The fight does not end with Kristel’s funeral. In the coming days, let us intensify our fight for genuine change in our educational system. In the coming days, let us demand accountability not just from the UP administration but from the Aquino regime that has condoned and continually perpetuated the system that took Kristel from us,” Ridon added.###

 

     
     
           
     
     
     
           

 

Iskolar ng Bayan and other misunderstood terms

by Lisa Ito
 (Notes) on Monday, March 18, 2013 at 12:27am

The system:

It steals with one hand what it lends with the other.

Its victims:

The more they pay, the more they owe.

The more they get, the less they have.

The more they sell, the less they earn.

 

-        Eduardo Galeano, The Book of Embraces (1989)

  

I. Suicide and death

 

Each demise, however and whenever it happens, diminishes us in different degrees. That is why we strive to distill sense from loss, try to create change from closure. It is a way of moving forward when the world has come to a standstill, of picking up what has fallen apart.

 

I remember my first encounter with death willed. It was in 1998 or 1999. A young man jumped off Quezon Hall, the administration building. I can no longer recall the details of the incident; only the sight of blood spilled on its granite steps at dusk, only silence after the word why.

 

Fourteen years later, on an evening just as dark, a 16-year old student from the University of the Philippines in Manila took her own life. This time, the circumstances surrounding her passing are clearer and more precise. Reports revealed that she was depressed, forced to take a leave of absence from school after being unable to keep up with rising tuition and loan payments; despondent, after her appeals were thumbed down by officials enforcing the policy of delisting and forced LOAs.  

 

She left a note—a “happy” letter, her mother said, full of love for the people left behind: it was something she had to do because she was already tired, a gesture of finality and hope of being reunited in another, hopefully better, world.

 

The clamor for reforms grows. But some still dismiss her suicide as an isolated and extreme case, a strictly personal act that has nothing to do with policies, “politics” and “externalities.” They question the chain of causality to the point of denying the truth that is staring us all in the face by now.

 

They imply that the real world is too complex for “simplistic” notions. But is it not precisely because of that complexity of reality why we should weigh and reflect on how the system is likewise accountable? Was it not in UP’s very classrooms where we studied suicide and other phenomena as acts also influenced by factors that are structural in nature?  Where we are made to realize, in so many ways and instances, that the personal is also political, that the self is also social?

 

One does not have to look too far. Every day, there are many invisible deaths piling up in the sidelines, in schools around the country. Departures abound, unaccounted perhaps because they occur outside one’s own limited circles of comfort. There are learners disappearing one by one, dropping out without a trace; students selling their bodies to the highest bidder; educators being eaten up by the system; thousands of children giving up on dreams before these can grow.

 

Everyday, the massacre progresses; this procession of quiet yet tragic exits equally diminishes us all.

 

II. Cowardice and choice

 

I am shaking in anger as I write this now. When news of the student’s death first arrived, I scanned the internet—news sites and social network sites alike—for more information on what happened.

 

In the course of seeking answers, I have come across many loose comments in cyberspace that are appallingly callous, stupid and cruel. If I summarize, in plain and simple language, the sum of what I understood from these words, it would perhaps boil down to these ideas:  

 

§  It was a selfish, cowardly way out. 

§  She should not have aspired for something she could not afford, explored other schooling options.

§  Her parents should be responsible for being incapable of supporting their five children. 

§  Activists are just using her death for their own political agenda. There is no basis to demand reforms and change in the system in response to her death.

 

I do not care if these were originally phrased in pa-cool, elegant, official or discursive phrases: they all boil down to plain arrogance, glorified apathy, disregard for human dignity and the sacrifices of the people’s movement for social justice.  Has it really come to this, when one can actually take pride in flaunting intelligence without discernment? Excellence without honor? Sympathy without sincerity?

 

 

 

 

I find these sentiments out of touch with reality. For her story is, somehow, also the story of every student who aspired to complete an education, who saved up and worked, who pawned belongings and took out loans, who appealed to the administration, who dropped out of the rolls due to poverty, who stood up to protect the right to education. Should one fault her and her family for putting their hopes on the dream of being an Iskolar ng Bayan—the nation’s brightest who are, if not of the toiling masses, among those who can help change their lives and that of the people? Should one discredit and dismiss the efforts of activists who have long been opposing tuition hikes, the sham “socialized” tuition scheme, and the commercialization of education from the very start, long before this student was born and swallowed by the system?

 

Others called on the public to honor her memory by not tainting it with all these “political” calls for reform and justice. How can one honestly believe that when all that she and her family have been appealing for in the past months was urgent action and answers--not rejection and certainly not silence? What is opportunistic in this case –trying to right the wrongs that contributed to her passing, or trying to stop these very reforms from being pursued, on the pretext of respect for the deceased?

 

But then there are spaces for strength, sobriety, and speaking up against such symbolic violence. Some have implored: suicide is not the solution, don’t give up, there is hope. I agree. The solution is to fight for one’s rights, and to see the struggle through to the end. I will never say that she failed in valor, because—whatever the reason for arriving at the point she did—her sacrifice and her family’s loss has compelled us all to finally confront the painful truth: that there is no other recourse but to act on the situation now.  

 

Time to log out from cyberspace semantics. Starting tomorrow, there will be walk-outs, dialogues, teach-ins and rallies inside the University in response to the tragedy. One can choose to be afraid of action, of the possible academic repercussions of taking a stand, of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles towards reform. Or we can all unite to demand what is possible: change.

 

III.  Education and rights

 

Often, the visual image can compellingly capture what a litany of words cannot.

 

In this case, it is the screenshot of footage taken shortly after the 15th of March 2013. A woman lingers in front of the UP Manila building tightly clutching a pair of white plastic sandals, embellished with dainty florets. The woman is the mother of the student Kristel Tejada, who has for the remaining months of her life trudged to school in these shoes, hoping for respite and deliverance.

 

Kristel Tejada. At the start, questions of media ethics were raised over the identification of the deceased in earlier news reports. But the extent of public outrage has now made any attempt at anonymity futile, as well as untenable.

 

Kristel Tejada. I write this name, repeatedly and precisely because it has raged against its very disappearance, deletion and absence: from the official classlist, from the rolls of enrolled and subsidized students. It is a name that has made its way to many lists of names to be remembered: on the honor rolls, in the list of UPCAT passers, in the teacher’s class records, and now in the struggle against the commercialization of education.

 

In their official statements, the UP President and the UP Manila administration say they have attempted to address the situation with new rulings—efforts which the group BAYAN rightly sums up as too little and too late.  In a press conference, the Palace spokesperson says that the national government has no control over the tuition policies in schools. Meanwhile, the President is photographed on the same day inaugurating a mega-casino, in the country’s bid to join the ranks of elite gambling destinations; a stray article about his thinning hair and eyebags pops out of the news stream.

 

Someone posted this earlier on Facebook: dapat kinakalinga ang ating kabataan.  I agree—any nation’s youth must be nurtured if we are to prepare future generations for the crisis of sustainability up ahead. But the current framework of generally reducing education (as well as other basic social services) into a privilege and a purchasable commodity must be reversed. Anti-student policies, such as the FLOA, must be immediately revoked.

 

Some may dismiss these sentiments as old news, outdated calls, in the same way that Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love of All has become a classic cliché back in the 1980s. Some groups in the past believed that conceding to schemes such as tuition and fee hikes and STFAP re-bracketing could address the university’s crisis, and look where that has gotten us all. If the current government can not address the needs of the UP’s students with outmost accountability and urgency, then what hope is there for the rest of the nation’s youth to which we (still) all belong?

 

The shot of Kristel’s mother clutching her daughter’s shoes continually flashes back in my mind, up to now. I find it hard to shake it off: this image of her holding on to the last material evidence of Kristel's presence. Perhaps this is because it reminds me of countless other hands encountered in the queues, classrooms, waiting sheds, rallies and terminals—all holding on to memory and hope in this university of contradictions.

 

           
     
=  


 
==          
     
March 20, 2013
     
           

 

UP Diliman, Palma Hall 3/20
Photos by UP Aperture
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luksang Pamantasan-Edukha
Wednesday · · Taken at AS Steps
Poems of grievance and solidarity resound through UP Diliman over the death of UP Manila student Kristel Tejada. Students, professors, and workers take part in the teach-in program “Edukha” to express support for Tejada’s family, utter dissent over the “flawed” system of the UP administration that implemented the ”Forced” Leave of Absence and “No Late Payment” policy, and discuss the ongoing commercialization of education in the country in relation to a global framework. A candle lighting program was held at the end of the program in mourning over the death of Kristel, and in protest of killing the Filipino youth’s right to education.
March 20 UP Aperture
 

     
     
     
     
           
Philcoa 3/20
 

Philcoa, Q.C - Various sectors and groups under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) express their support for the on-going campus protests, and seeks to draw attention to the many other Aquino policies which causes suffering for millions of Filipinos.

 
           
     
     
     

 


     
     
           
UP Manila/Protestang Bayan 3/20
Photos by C. J. Chanco
           
     
     
     

 



 

 

 

     
     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

† Elehiya kay Kristel Tejada, Iskolar ng bayan

ni Glenn Ford B. Tolentino

 

i. Prologo

 

At dahil, marahil ninais mong palayain

ang mga anino at yabag ng kahirapan

 

sa loob o saloobin ng mga nakabayubay 

na pangarap sa tarangkahan ng akademya. 

 

O, napakabigat ng iyong dagling paglisan.

 

Ngayon, yumayanig ang iniwan mong himig

at pahiwatig sa mga pahina ng aklat at pag-ibig.

 

Nakareseta sa iyong huling liham ang pag-iral.

 

 

ii. Leave of Absence

 

Pa

 

       a

              l

                    a

                           m

 

U.P. NAMING MAHAL. . .

 

16 Marso, 2013

10:00 Ng gabi 

 

 iii. Behebyural Sayans 101

 

"But now the whole tree of my jubilation

is breaking, in the storm it is breaking, my slow

tree of joy."  LAMENT, —Rainer Maria Rilke

 

Masinsing inaaral ni Oble ang sikolohiya ng iyong pamamaalam—

Binabalangkas ang ekwesyon o solusyon ng buhay at kamatayan,

 

Binivista ang panginurin—upang kalkulahin ang grabedad ng utang

at katarungan, O ng obligasyon at karapatan sa edukasyon. Heto't

 

dumestansiya ang Malakanyang, hugas kamay na ang Pamantasan

at pilit nilang inililigaw ang iyong sinapit sa salimuot o mitolohiya

 

nang pagpapatiwakal ng isang bida sa telenobela: Ihahaka nila

ang anggulo ng relasyon at ipapanukalang ninakaw ang katinuan

 

mo ng depresyon—At ilalantad ito ng de-kahong medya sa publiko

upang pulutanin o dapat at marahil ay siyasatin ng mga miron. . .

 

Dadami ang mag-aakalang sikolohista. Habang pampalubag ng Burukrata

Kapitalista ang NO LATE PAYMENT POLICY sa loob ng sistemang bulok.

 

Ngayon pang binabaybay mo na ang misteryo ng sensiya't pilosopiya.

 

18 Marso, 2013

3:00 Ng madaling araw

   

iv.     STFAP

 

s                         P

 

 

T                         a

 

 

f                          F

 

 

A                         t

 

 

p                         S

 

(Nakamamatay)

 

 

v. Tagulaylay ni Oblation

 

Kristel mahal kong anak,

Ramdam kong may poder o pader

Itong U.P. na tiwalag sa aking budhi at mithi—

Sumasagka sa maralita na dapat ay hinuhubog-pantas.

Taliwas sila sa aral ng pagkakapantay-pantay ng sakbat sa balikat.

Edukador Kapitalista na mga gahaman sa kamanyang, laurel at gintong lente,

Lahat silang nagpapakasasa sa aking balabal na malaon nang isinugal at ikinakalakal.

 

Tinitingala ko ngayon ang panganorin habang hinihatid ka ng iyong pamilya, ng mga guro't ka-eskwela at

Engkomyo ng namumulang rosas, plakard, bandera, ng mga kasama at samutsaring amoy o ingay ng kalye.

Juventas*, tanggapin at pag-aralin nawa ninyo ang batang ipinagpakasakit at pinagkaitan ng edukasyon....

Alagaan at ituro ninyo sa kanya ang sensiya't politika, pilosopiya ng inyong kaligiran, ang mga ba[n]tas na 

Dapat niyang maunawaan. Kristel, iha salamat sa rosas, sa paglilinis ng mantsang ipinahid sa aking likod.

Ang pagkamatay mo'y pagkabuhay ng diwa ng kabataang nagsusulong ng siyentipiko't tunay na  pakikibaka.

 

23 Marso, 2013

1:00 Tanghaling tapat

 

 v. Epilogo

 

"...To explode the vile system

         of terror and greed.

Such is the chemistry of tears

         catalyzed by iniquity."

CHEMISTRY OF TEARS,

—Jose Ma. Sison (14 April, 1978)

 

 † 

Mga kapuwa ko kabataan, lumuha kayo nang lumuha. Tumangis nang higit sa pagtaas ng twesyon at langis. Subalit, nililinaw ko po; hindi ako namatay o nagpakamatay noong a-kinse ng Marso. Hindi. Hinablot ako ng muerto imperyalismo—kaya ngayo'y walang puwersa't dagitab ang aking pagal na katawan. Dinukot ako upang isakdal o iharap sa mga walang konsensiyang kaluluwa ng burukrata kapitalista sa dambana ng namamanginoon sa loob ng akademya. Ay, napakadilim. Hinubaran nila ako ng mukha't pangalan.... Sadyang ubod ng dilim. Sa loob ng maraming araw o mga buwan, paulit-ulit nilang pinaramdam sa akin na bastardong anak ako ni Oble. Paulit-ulit. Pero, nagsisikap akong pumasok sa mga BehSci class ko, aminado kaming mag-anak na anak ako ng mahirap. Hindi gaya ni Devine at Grace na mga anak ng negosyanteng kongresman at senador, hinahatid at sinusundo sila  ng dilaw o bughaw na jaguar na may plakang 888/777[...] Nilalakad ko lang ang nanlilimahid na metro-kilometrong kalsadang pagsubok sa maghaponupang maisuot ko ang alampay na marun ng tagumpay sa aking hinagap o hinaharap. Habang kilo-kilometro o daang-kilometro o marahil, milya-milyang peligro ang tinatahak o iniikot ni tatay biyente kuwatro oras—para lang mapunan ang aking pangmatrikula sa susunod na semestre. Oo, may utang kaming higit sa 10,000 sa admin, taas noo ko itong inaamin at hindi ko itatanggi. Pero, babayaran at babayaran naman namin 'to. O, Dili't dilim. Maging nanay ko na nakiusap at nagmakaawa ay hinubaran din nila ng pagkatao sa harap mismo ni Oble at ng ahente nilang si Memorandum; Taas kilay at tutsang na talak nang talak: THEIR NAME SHALL BE REMOVED FROM THE CLASSLIST AND THEY SHALL BE ADVISED TO APPLY FOR A LEAVE OF ABSENCE (LOA). Paulit-ulit at uulit-ulitin. Nanay at tatay, mahihimbing lang po muna ako't pagninilayan ang hiwaga ng matematika para tuklasin at isiwalat ang inhustisya ng STFAP, ng TFI atbapang anti-estudyanteng polisiya sa loob ng U.P. naming mahal. Ma'm, kayang-kaya ko po ito. Kakayaning unawain at aralin ang pag-uugali o sikolohiya ng mga nagtakwil at nagtulak sa akin palabas ng unibersidad.... Kakayanin ko po!                                                                                                                                    

Pakiusap, kayong mga ligaw na kaluluwang  namamanginoon sa Panginoong may Lupa, Huwag—: Huwag ninyong patakan ng luha ang aking salaming-durungawan.  O, anong karimlan. 

 

 

 ________

*Juventas,

Maawaing Dios sa langit, ng mga kabataang Griyego at Hudyo.

 

23 Marso, 2013

4:30 Ng dapithapon

 

 

 

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
           
UP Cebu 3/20
Photos by NKE-UPC
           
     
     
     

 

magsihimagsik sa umagang ito
by Emil Yap
(Notes) on Friday, March 15, 2013 at 1:36pm

magsihimagsik sa umagang ito

i thought i could imagine how much this would hurt but i was wrong-
haruki murakami, south of the border, west of the sun

ilang daan taon na tayo na pinamumunuan
ilang dekada na ang kanilang pamamahala
ilang eleksyon na ang nagdaan upang mangako
ng kaginhawahan at kasaganahan
karamihan ay nagsitakas na
sa magulo at nakakabaliw na lipunang ito
kapangyarihan sa pagkagahaman
pag aagawan sa katungkulan
pag aagawan sa kayamanan
karukhaan at kagutuman
nananatili sa kasakiman
magsilakad duon sa labanan
magsilakad kasama ng pag ibig
at sinu ang nakikinabang
sa pag ibig sa iyong puso
kundi ang mga nagpupumilit
na magsihimagsik
tatahan nga ba ang bukas
sa iyong paglisan
tatahimik ba ang karaingan
sa iyong pagkawala
magbabago ba ang lipunan
sa iyong pagtahimik
nasaan ang init
na inilaan mong pagmamahal
dadamhin nga ito
ng mga punla
na tinangay ng kanayunan
sila na duo'y
nagsisihimagsik


(para kay kristel tejada isang freshman Behavioral Science student sa UP Manila)

emil yap
march 15, 2013
imus cavite

 

     
     
           
     
     


Kristel: Iskolar at Rosas
ni Faye Sagun
(Notes) on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:58pm
 

Iskolar ng Bayan:
Gumapang ka, lumuha at naghirap
tungo sa pangarap mong alapaap;
Ngunit ang tamis ay naging pait,
ang kasiyahan ay naging pasakit,
nang ang tahanang pamantasan
ay naging malamig na libingan.

Kristel Tejada,
wag kang mabahala
sa kanilang pandudusta.
Laging alalahaning---
pagkatao mo'y di kayang timbangin
moralidad mo'y di kayang sukatin,
Pagkat---
ang mabuhay ng walang karapatan
ay habambuhay na kamatayan.

Rosas ng Digmaan:
Munti at malambing mong tinig
ang gumising sa mga diwang nahihimbing
hindi tuldok ang iyong kamatayan,
ningas itong nagpasimula ng himagsikan!


-Para kay Kristel, at sa lahat ng nagsasabing
malaking karuwagan ang kanyang ginawa.

Faye Sagun
23032013
Imus, Cavite

 

 

Hindi ka pala maglilinis ng pilak
ni Mac Ramirez

 

Hindi ka pala maglilinis ng pilak,
mamamaalam ka na pala
sa binubuo mong mga pangarap
Sa mura mong edad
‘pinamukha sa’yo ang kasuka-sukang reyalidad
na kahit ang karapatan ng mga kabataang
mag-aral, matuto, ay may bayad…
Mahal.
Hindi ka pala maglilinis ng pilak, Kristel,
gigisingin mo pala ang buong bayan
sa karumaldumal na katotohanang
ipinagkakait ng lipunan
sa mga kabataang tulad mo
ang kanilang kinabukasan
Pag-iisahin mo pala ang damdamin
ng mga mamamayang magpuyos
sa edukasyong walang kahihiyang
ginagawang negosyo ng iilan
Yuyugyugin mo pala ang pundasyon
ng pinakamamahal mong Pamantasan,
kakatukin mo sa bumbunan ng mga nasa poder ng kapangyarihan,
para matauhan sila sa kabulukan ng kanilang mga patakaran
Hindi ka pala maglilinis ng pilak,
mag-aambag ka pala sa ultimong pagkintab
ng kinabukasan ng mga kabataang
iyong naiwan
 

           
           
           
           

 


ComScore

 

/p

  
 

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