UP students march against budget cut

Students boycotted their classes in protest of President Benigno Aquino III’s proposed P5.5-billion budget cut for the university, less than a third of the P18.5 billion UP demands.

Crowd at AS steps reaches 3,000

By Alexandra Gabrielle Francisco

The crowd grows from a few hundreds to 3,000 in the afternoon of today's strike against the P1.39 billion budget cut in the University of the Philippines Diliman. Protesters shook Palma Hall and Melchor Hall with loud shouts of protest, calling on other students to join them. Photo by Elizabeth Cabiling

At least 1,500 students, faculty and staff joined the Diliman-wide strike today against the P1.39 billion budget cut in the University of the Philippines (UP).

Students boycotted their classes in protest of President Benigno Aquino III’s proposed P5.5-billion budget cut for the university, less than a third of the P18.5 billion UP demands.

Protesters from the Palma Hall, Plaridel Hall and College of Arts and Letters merged as they neared the UP Oblation.

At least 500 protesters marched along the hallways of Palma Hall and the Academic Oval, stopping over at Melchor Hall as they urged more students to join the strike.

At the College of Mass Communication, students burned photocopies of their registration forms to symbolize their dissent (Link: http://www.tinigngplaridel.net/sections/news/2010/11/25/cmc-on-strike-form-5-copies-lit-as-students-protest-up-budget-cut/).

Upon reaching Quezon Hall, protesters, numbering at least 1,500, barricaded both lanes of the University Avenue, carrying banners which included an 18-meter banner spanning the length of the road’s right lane.

After a 30-second noise barrage, the mob proceeded back to the Palma Hall steps (AS steps) for the formal program.

University Student Council (USC) chairperson Rainier Sindayen said he received reports that the crowd at the AS steps from 12 noon to 2:30 p.m. reached a maximum of 3,000.

Local councils oppose cut

Student councils throughout the UP system supported the strike, Sindayen said.

A human barricade blocks motorists from entering UP Diliman through the University Avenue. The demonstrators' 18-meter banner, produced by Fine Arts students, explains for itself.

Fourteen Diliman colleges joined the protest: College of Science (CS), College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP), College of Home Economics (CHE), College of Engineering, National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG), College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD), College of Mass Communication (CMC), College of Education (Educ), College of Arts and Letters (CAL), College of Fine Arts (CFA), School of Statistics, College of Architecture, Asian Institute of Tourism (AIT), and the College of Law.

Sindayen questioned President Aquino’s budget policy of allowing state colleges and universities (SUCs) to find income-generating activities to fill in for their deficits. He called it a continuation of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s policy of commercializing and privatizing education.

“Sa totoo lang, mahirap lumiban sa klase, lalo na sa panahong ang iminumulat sa atin na kultura ay investment ang edukasyon. Ang laki ng matrikula, and therefore dapat pagkakitaan mo ang edukasyon mo. It’s beyond that. It’s beyond your individual interest. It’s for the collective interest of your fellow students,” said Sindayen.

Cultural presentations were held at the AS steps and representatives from various student organizations, college administrations and Kabataan party list Rep. Raymond Palatino called for higher state subsidy.

Student groups also held educational discussions in front of the AS steps to enlighten students about the state of the UP budget.

Spray-painting

Meanwhile, officials caught a 17-year-old male vandalizing Palma Hall walls during the heat of the protest.

Several people spray painted Palma Hall’s walls and the road fronting it as part of the protest activities.

The teenager, who is a non-UP member of artists’ group Alay Sining, was brought to the UP Police station, but was released since he is a minor.

According to police records, the teenager shall be helping in the repainting of the walls, which should be completed by 12:30 tomorrow.

USC vice-chairperson Fermina Agudo said the Fine Arts Student Council shall be providing the paint, while the USC will help in providing manpower.

Neil Martial Santillan, CSSP Associate Dean for Administration and External Affairs, said the college’s administration is willing to help the students repaint the walls.

As of press time, protestors will continue to occupy Palma Hall overnight in preparation for the protest actions in the morning, which shall be discussed at the All Leaders’ Conference of student organizations and student councils.

Sindayen says that they are encouraging the students to join the demonstrations at the University Council meeting at the NCPAG tomorrow.

Current plans are that the mob will head to Mendiola afterwards.

With reporting by Dean Lozarie.

Author: TNP

The Official Student Publication of the UP College of Mass Communication.

  • What time will the University Council meeting at the NCPAG be?

  • 11:30 a.m. 🙂

  • Kung wala na talagang pera ang UP, eh di umalis na kayo sa UAAP. Sayang lang ang binabayad/binigay na allowance sa mga players! Sa buwis pa rin yung galing, ‘di ba?

  • Mr. Relojo, I strongly beg to differ with your comment. Firstly, the assumption herewith is that membership in UAAP is inherently a profit-oriented endeavor, and that is a serious blow to UP’s funding problem.

    I invite you to please pay attention to the College of Human Kinetics’ rather decrepit facilities and equipment and please tell me that the UAAP athletes who use them do not need funding whatsoever. Tell me their very existence as athletes are simply a waste of time and taxes.

    I don’t know about where you come from, but in UP, academic excellence is understood as excellence both in curricular and extra-curricular activities. Sports being one of them, UAAP membership simply means that UP has a high regard for the abilities of its student athletes. And it’s not as if their efforts are in vain despite the obstacles in terms of funding.

    Withdrawal from an athletic organization that UP is a founding member of is rather stupid. Moreover, it is an insult to the university’s fine, hardworking athletes who have to deal with the worst in equipment and facilities. Offended by UAAP player allowances? Are you pulling my leg? There is hardly any “allowance” to speak of! At best, the amount is a meager pittance compared to those being received by other institutions. And believe me, I know this. I am from UP. You are not.

    Clearly you are misinformed about the true nature and context of the budget cut facing the country’s premier state university. And it is a simply a pity you had to implicate UP athletes with your amusing, if not creative ways to augment UP’s budget woes.