By Franz Jonathan G. de la Fuente
University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) students today burned copies of their registration forms in protest over the impending P1.39 billion cut from the UP budget.
Katherine Molina, convenor of the multi-sectoral alliance MASSCommunity, said the registration forms, also known as Form 5s, represented laboratory fees, the socialized tuition fee bracketing system and the 2007 tuition fee increase.
“Tinututulan natin ang mga pagbayad nito kaya sinunog namin ang photocopy ng Form 5 namin,” Molina said.
Students and organization representatives gathered in front of the CMC main lobby entrance to deliver statements of protest against the budget cut, forming a human barricade at the CMC veranda at 10 a.m. today.
Former journalism representative Absolom Eligio, who hosted the brief program, mentioned the recently-commemorated Ampatuan Massacre, the worst election-related violence in recent history where 58 civilians were murdered, including 32 media workers.
Eligio equated its gravity to the burden of incoming UP students. “Minamasaker ang mga pangarap ng mga gustong pumasok ng UP dahil sa budget cut na ito,” he said.
The protest action was also supported by other sectors of the UP CMC community, College Secretary Danilo Arao confirmed. “Hindi lang ito laban ng mga estudyante,” he said.
Denouncing the potential commercialization in UP, Arao said the University Council Executive Committee, composed of all college deans and members of the UP administration, may issue a statement on the budget cut at the National College of Public Administration and Governance tomorrow.
CMC orgs came out in protest of the UP budget cut as well. “The UP Mass Communicators Organization (UP MCO) definitely supports the movement opposing the budget cut,” said UP MCO vice chairperson Virjinia Alexis Villafuerte. “Hindi dapat hayaang maging pabaya ang gobyerno, lalo na (at) education ang isa sa mga priorities nito.”
Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral sa Komunikasyon (SAMASKOM) are similarly well aware of the budget cut issue, said SAMASKOM President Maria Agnes Mampusti. “Ang SAMASKOM ay naninwala na ang edukasyon ay karapatan at para sa lahat.”
“SAMASKOM is one with the call to oppose the budget cut and making free education a top priority,” she added.