Militant vs. alternative: local CMC candidates argue on activism

Political parties clashed as they defended their respective brands of activism and student service in the miting de avance of the College of Mass Communication (CMC) on Thursday.

By Alexandra Gabrielle Francisco

ISA (L-R): B-an Catubay, Claire Labadlabad, Jake Rivera, Alisa Baleva, and Marji Manlunas.

Political parties clashed as they defended their respective brands of activism and student service in the miting de avance of the College of Mass Communication (CMC) on Thursday.

Candidates from the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP-CMC (STAND UP-CMC) championed militant activism, where rallying and other forms of mass demonstration is the “highest form of activism.”

“Isa lang po ang aktibismo at iyan ay militante. At sa ilalim ng aktibismong yan ay iba’t ibang uri ng protesta,” said Denise Yalung, the party’s candidate for vice chairperson.

Meanwhile, Interdependent Student-centered Activism (ISA) candidates believed in “alternative activism,” which says that other forms of dissent through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are forms just as valid as rallies.

“What we are contesting is that your side believes that militant activism is the highest form of activism,” said Farah Ghodsinia, ISA’s bet for Broadcast Communication representative. “Do not underestimate other forms of activism.”

Mubarak, Facebook

ISA chairperson candidate Ruby Ann Catubay said if everyone engaged in their own form of activism, the movement would effect change.

Alisa Baleva, who is running under ISA as secretary said the recent ouster of Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak began with campaigns on social networking sites.

STAND UP-CMC acknowledges the power of this kind of activism, since some of their members joined the “Join the Budget Cut campaign” on Facebook, said Baleva.

The campaign, initiated by ISA, had students changing their profile pictures to black and white shots with the black strip saying “I oppose the budget cut” across the photo.

In rebuttal, her STAND UP-CMC counterpart Maye Cristobal said they did engage in online campaigns, emphasizing that protests did not end on Facebook and Twitter, but continued in the streets.

The party also called for students to express their dissent by wearing red or black shirts in protest, said Cristobal.

Cristobal said their party also held educational discussions (EDs) to explain issues to students.

“Ang pinupunterya ay ang aming pagrarally, pero marami pa naman kaming mga porma tulad ng mga ED, baka gusto niyong umattend,” said Cristobal.

ISA attendance at rallies questioned, STAND-UP imposes belief on others?

Ghodsinia said the party would join rallies if it were “the only way to attack an issue,” but would continue to use alternative means if they were possible.

Catubay said their party joined the November rallies calling for higher budget for the university and the November 23 march commemorating the massacre of the 58 civilians in Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

ISA Journalism representative candidate Loj Guinmapang said their party’s presence in the event was “not a matter of number but of representation.” She added that although she was not yet a member of the party, she saw members of ISA in the protest action.

Baleva said, “Bakit nirerequire umattend ang USC ng mga rally, e pano kung hindi naman ito ang paraan ng pagpapakita nila ng stand nila?”

One audience member recalled being required by former CMCSC chairperson Rupert Mangilit, who ran under STAND UP-CMC in 2009, to attend rallies and EDs when she was in the Freshie Council.

ISA vice chairperson bet Claire Labadlabad, who was the 2009 Freshie Council secretary, said they were “misled” into joining an ED when they were initially informed that it was only a regular meeting.

Many ISA candidates claimed that their party was open-minded, as opposed to STAND UP-CMC members who forced their beliefs on others, such as attending rallies.

In defense, Yalung said following one framework was justifiable, as long as it was a pro-human rights framework.

“Pinaglalaban lang naman namin yung karapatan. Kung alam mo na yung mga journalist ay pinapatay, bakit di mo ipaglaban yung mga mamamahayag? Hindi ko nakikita kung anong mali doon,” she added.

Cristobal quoted one audience member in saying that few ISA members were seen in CMC’s rally against the Ampatuan massacre.

Cristobal reiterated that they do not coerce anyone to join mobs or educational discussions, but it is the students who decide whether they should follow them or not.

“Kami po ay hindi namimilit. Kami po ay nagmumulat,” said Cristobal.

STAND-UP (L-R): Norman Riego and Den Yalung

Local vs. national issues

ISA’s “student-centric” perspective also clashed with STAND UP-CMC’s views.

ISA candidates said the CMCSC’s main focus should be on providing student services like printing services and free drinking water.

Jake Rivera, CMC representative the USC candidate, said that if STAND UP-CMC is to criticize the national government, it should be able to provide basic services for its constituency.

STAND UP-CMC chairperson bet Norman Riego said the root of the college’s problems is the UP’s low budget, adding that the council is mandated to forward this student issue.

“Kung basic services ay ang tubig, printing, ano pong pinagkaiba natin sa isang high school student council?” said Riego.

Vice chairperson candidate Yalung added that ISA was not able to maintain printing services throughout the year.

Angel Britanico (Independent)

The independent nominee

Meanwhile, Angel Britanico, independent candidate for journalism representative said she represented students who sided with neither party.

“I refuse to believe that ideology is a source of division. Hindi ako naniniwalang dahil iba-iba ang ating mga prinsipyo ay hindi na tayo magkakasundo sa ating mga pinaglalaban,” said Britanico.

Sarah Torres, journalism candidate running under STAND UP-CMC, said Britanico was too individualistic, noting that her party also aimed to represent all students.

In response, Britanico said “individual initiative should not be underestimated.”

With reporting by Marisse Gabrielle Panaligan. Photos by Rae Anne Ducut.

Author: TNP

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

  • I recall 3 debate highlights missing in this article.

    ISA Chairperson Catubay knew nothing about Oplan Bayanihan when her opinion on it was solicited. Considering that Oplan Bayanihan is a continuation of Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya that killed more than a thousand activists and journalists, Ms. Catubay should know about it. After all, human life and media security are basic issues and she is running to become a leader of future media practitioners in the college and she claims to be an activist, espousing ISA’s “alternative activism.”

    ISA Vice Chair Labadlabad’s knowledge of the Student Code was obviously lacking as well. The Student Code of Conduct isn’t really all about tambayans, it has a lot to do with repression of students’ right to organize (i.e. stringent recognition processes, prohibition on freshmen, among others). I was really disappointed with the discussion she gave on the Student Code, it made me question her capability to convene organizations in CORE when she knows very little about one of the most pressing threats confronting student organizations.

    ISA’s treasurer (correct me if I’m wrong, I remember her face but I’m not quite sure about the position she’s running for) was also asked about her views on the (LTHEDP) Long Term Higher Education Development Plan. She said something like…”If ever mapapatupad yan…” Some audience members knew better when they chorused, “Pinapatupad na yan ngayon!” For a party who claims they oppose the budget cut and they call for greater state subsidy while agreeing to utilization of idle assets, how come they don’t know the core policy behind the budget cut on education as well as the utilization of idle assets? How can we expect them to defend student rights and lead us in the crucial budget fight when they know very little about the issue?

    It’s urgent that students make an informed and critical choice during the elections. I hope the entire Hot Off the Grill video documentation would surface online like this USC debate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIhLaPmTxtk, . There’s a lot that can be filtered in written articles.

  • Edma Remillano

    As an alumna of UP CMC and the Journalism department, I have to say that I am deeply disappointed by this article.

    For the most part, it is so biased. The way the article was written shows that either the writer/editors is/are heavily leaning towards a party and that is ISA.

    The space given to ISA in terms of quotes and elaboration were substantially greater as compared to STAND UP’s. Pls look at your quotes and the space for elaboration you gave to both parties so as to clarify this point. Contextualizing some of your quotes is also problematic. Quotes should always be given context so as not to be misconstrued.

    The choice of photos is also problematic. You posted a photo of ISA with their entire slate in it. You placed it on top. On the other hand, you posted a photo of STAND UP with only their Chair and VChair candidates. You even placed them in the middle. Balance pls.

    More importantly, as Roselyn Correa said in her comment, you missed out on a number of crucial points and highlights in the debate.

    The mere fact that Ms. Catubay who was running for chairperson was playing Pinoy Henyo in front of the students trying to guess a crucial policy by the Aquino administration was definitely news worthy. It was controversial. It can even go high up the article considering Ms. Catubay’s position–incumbent council person and aspiring chairperson.

    Ms. Manlunas’ ignorance of the LTHEDP is also newsworthy especially considering that they repeatedly say that they are against the budget cut but it turns out that they do not know its roots.

    All in all, while STAND UP was taken out of context and given less space, ISA’s major flops remained unwritten and their quotes played up and given considerable greater space.

    Yes I do understand that we have our own beliefs and political affiliations. But as we in Journalism say, objectivity lies in the process. We should take and report both sides as fairly as possible. The way we pick out quotes and where place them in our articles should equally represent both parties. Even the photos we place have bearing. And in this case, the space we give to each party is of great bearing. Pls make use of the pool of editors you have. That is why publication is not a one-man team. You have an entire staff to check and balance each other. Again, as Journalism students, you should have mastered this by now. We have the best professors who teach this year in year out.

    If you ask what qualifications I have to say all this, I graduated Cum Laude and am currently employed in the country’s biggest broadcasting company.

    I hope you revise this article accordingly as soon as possible. As the official student publication of UP CMC, you have the obligation to provide quality articles to help the students make informed choices so as not to compromise the services they will get from their future council. There is no room for heavily and unduly biased articles especially in times like this.

    Please do not think that UP CMC students are not discerning enough to let heavily and unduly biased articles like this pass.

    Thanks 🙂

  • Thank you very much for your comments. We welcome constructive criticism on these articles.

    Firstly, we would like to defend the placement of the photographs in this article. While this article has the ISA slate in upper part of the article, and the STAND-UP candidates for chairperson and vice chairperson in the middle, the other article on the same event (http://www.tinigngplaridel.net/special-coverage/cmc-elections/2011/02/14/cmc-parties-clash-in-annual-miting-de-avance/) has the entire STAND-UP slate in the upper part of the article. We believe we have achieved balance this way by making sure both parties’ slates have been represented in the two articles.

    Article length was one important consideration the Editorial Board took to heart in writing these two articles, one article focusing solely on the candidates’ GPOAs and SPOAs, and the other on the very issues brought upon the candidates during Hot Off The Grill. Despite this, we concede that there has been an unintended omission of the Oplan Bayanihan and LTHEDP issues. We apologize for this lack of foresight, but no malice has been intended in this omission.

    We would highly appreciate it if you could point out the specific quotations and points that you believe were taken out of context and we would be glad to discuss these.

    Finally, we would like to dispel any notion that Tinig ng Plaridel is biased in any form or manner. The Editorial Board conducts a rigorous check and balance process in order to balance out any perceived political bias coming from its staff or even among the Editorial Board. Any possible conflicts of interest have been disclosed at the beginning of the election campaign and proper action has been taken to address these, i.e. leave of absence.

    Thank you very much.