By Frances Josephine Espeso
Outgoing Student Regent (SR) of the University of the Philippines (UP) Miguel Enrico Pangalangan emphasized the power of the student movement in championing students’ democratic rights during the 42nd General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC).
“The strength of student representation does not lie in the institution of the Office of the Student Regent (OSR) but in the student movement,” Pangalangan told the assembly of 50 out of 53 student councils during his end-of-term report at UP Los Baños College of Forestry and Natural Resources auditorium held July 16 to 17.
Pangalangan discussed genuine student representation in major issues such as the system-wide P2.2B budget cut, the dorm crisis in several UP campuses, campus militarization in UP, the commercialization of UP education, as well as the repressive organization recognition process and the Code of Student Conduct.
Additionally, the SR outlined the OSR’s coordination with the UP community on matters such as the increased Shopping Center rate in UP Diliman and the transfer of the UP Tacloban Santa Elena campus to make place for commercial use.
Pangalangan also mentioned the OSR’s involvement in national issues such as the Manilakbayan, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Kidapawan Massacre, among others.
Near the end of his report, Pangalangan brought up the shift in administrations by both the country and the university and challenged the students to continue to fight for multisectoral rights through the student movement.
“What use is your perfect attendance if you are absent in times of action? Why raise your hand for recitation if you do not raise a clenched fist in times of protest? What use is the Iskolar ng Bayan if we do not persevere to serve the people?” Pangalangan said, concluding his final report as SR.
Meanwhile, newly-selected SR Raoul Danniel Manuel approved seven resolutions to be forwarded during his term.
Among the resolutions Manuel and the GASC adopted include an investigation on outgoing UP President Alfredo Pascual’s e-UP Project, which was said to have cost P752 million.
The body also approved proposed resolutions to demand the next UP President to support the Student Agenda, to intensify the campaign against neoliberal attacks on education, to support of the ongoing peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, to include member councils of the GASC as part of the campus movement for change, to call for participation of the GASC in the upcoming People’s State of the Nation Address and to end campus militarization and abolish the ROTC program in all UP units. #