UP CMC faces 82% enrollment drop due to K to 12

By Faith Esther Brown and Meryll Phae Red Carao / Infographics: Renee Cuisia

(Published in TNP Editorial Issue 1, Year 38 on Aug. 6, 2016)

A decline in freshman admission in the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Mass Communication (CMC) followed this year’s implementation of the K to 12 program, which compels students to attend additional two years of senior high school.

This semester, CMC welcomed only 24 freshmen, about five times lower than the usual over a hundred CMC freshmen from the past couple of years.

Data from the CMC administration showed that in 2014 and 2015, CMC took in 135 and 133 UP College Admission Test (UPCAT) passers respectively.

However, CMC College Secretary Teresa Congjuico said the drop was unalarming, despite University of Sto. Tomas’s suspension of admission of freshmen for its journalism and legal management programs due to the low turnout of qualified applicants brought about by the K to 12 program.

“In other colleges, they have a problem in intake admissions. In our college, however, [the low number of freshmen] did not affect the population of the college because we always have a lot of shifting and transfer applicants to our college,” Congjuico said.

There is a total of 128 freshmen, shiftees and transferees (FSTs) this semester, 81 percent of which are shiftees and transferees to CMC.

This number, however, is fairly lower than the number of FSTs in the past years. In the first semesters of 2014 and 2015, there were 309 and 189 accepted FSTs respectively.

Although the K to 12 program did not necessarily deprive CMC of incoming students, CMC Student Council Vice Chairperson and FST Committee Head Jesse Doctor still acknowledges the program’s implications on the educational scheme of the Philippines.

The drop in freshman admission is not the only consequence of the K to 12 program, Doctor believes, for the large number of freshmen will not solve the existing dilemmas during the enrollment process.

Doctor also noted the K to 12 program’s role in the neoliberal educational system’s bigger framework.

“These aim to make a profit out of us students which in turn is supported by other policies such as the Socialized Tuition System (STS), other school fees, and the No Late Payment Policy,” he added.

Meanwhile, Congjuico mentioned another possible implication of the low number of FSTs–the subsequent drop in the number of offered classes in the university, which will force some professors to take a leave since they will have “no one to teach.”

However, Congjuico said it is unlikely to happen in CMC, citing the current rate of student intake.

“Perhaps, other colleges with GE courses will be affected but not our college because we offer disciplinal and highly specialized courses,” she added.

The effect of K to 12 on the university, though not explicitly exhibited, is still an underlying issue, Doctor said. One of the college student council’s visions is to junk said program, which the council sees is creating “cheap and docile labor” for foreign countries.

“[It] defeats the purpose of UP being a national university that aims to serve the people whose taxes paid for our education,” he stated. #

CMC bomb scare a hoax, search team says

Police officers confirmed a bomb threat to the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Mass Communication (CMC) was a hoax after finding no explosives at the college’s premises, Friday.

by TNP staff

CMC bomb scare a hoax, search team says Photo by Tessa Barre
Photo by Tessa Barre.

Police officers confirmed a bomb threat to the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Mass Communication (CMC) was a hoax after finding no explosives at the college’s premises, Friday.

At around 11 a.m., Quezon City Police Department (QCPD) Bomb Squad and the UP Diliman Police (UPDP) officers arrived at UP CMC after a local council member called in to inform them of a bomb threat a CMC student received via text message.

“Plaridel. Ylanan. Plaridel. Ylanan. Mayroon na lamang kayong X oras bago sumabog ang bomba,” the text message said. “The die is cast.”

But after searching the college’s immediate premises, the officers found no signs of explosives and declared the college safe at noon.

UP CMC Dean Elena Pernia, meanwhile, advised students to be vigilant with such threat.

“We are responsible for the safety of the students. We will take care that no harm will ever come to all of us,” Pernia said.

Classes were not cancelled and no other security alert was reported for the rest of the day.

Maskom alumna and TV anchor lashes out at org culture

Broadcast journalist and UP College of Mass Communication alumna Karen Davila downplayed the role of student organizations in a college freshmen welcome assembly held Monday.

by Allan Yves Briones

Photo by Allan Yves Briones
Photo by Allan Yves Briones

UPDATED: 08/05/2015 4:17PM

Broadcast journalist and UP College of Mass Communication alumna Karen Davila downplayed the role of student organizations in a college freshmen welcome assembly, Monday.

During her college years in the 80’s, Davila recalled how several of her batchmates were insulted and ridiculed just to join certain organizations, citing the UP Broadcasting Association (BroadAss) and UP Samahan ng Mag-aaral sa Komunikasyon (SAMASKOM).

“If you are joining a group and they want you there—you feel that you can make friends there, you’ll grow there. Then join them. Don’t join to the point na parang “I need to belong,” Davila said.

However, BroadAss President Dominic Nacorda said Davila is entitled to her own opinion.

“[I stand] by the fact that all student formations have their own culture [and] traditions that outsiders won’t understand,” he said.

Davila mentioned being an applicant for an organization, from where she eventually backed out.

“I went through a phase. It was the first phase… They make you cry, they insult you; you’re blindfolded and whatever,” she said, disclaiming she does not know whether the same holds true today.

SAMASKOM President April Katherine Damo, meanwhile, said their application process has a purpose.

“The goal is always for students to hone their skills and surpass their capabilities,” Damo said in an online interview. “It is always easier to be clouded by judgment when things get tough but what you take from your experiences will teach you to look beyond and see the bigger picture.”

The anchor added that she made it in the profession without being a part of any college-based organization. She was, however, a member of AIESEC UP Diliman, a university-wide organization.

“When you apply for a job, they’re not going to ask you what is your college [organization]. It’s not a factor,” she said. “I’m the living proof that it’s not a factor. If you are intelligent and diligent, you will get a job,” she added.

But Nacorda said there are opportunities when the organization’s alumni helped out resident [members].

The ABS-CBN anchor currently hosts news programs such as Headstart with Karen Davila and Bandila.

For CMCSC chairperson Ria Bernadette Tagle, what Davila has experienced before may not be true to current members now.
“Whatever you get from organizations, it’s a case-to-case basis,” Tagle, also a member of BroadAss, said. “We are not saying that joining organizations is a necessity but the point is, I hope they will see how organizations can help you put forward advocacies and hone your skills and talents,” she added.

Freshies, shiftees, and transferees to the college filled up the auditorium during the welcoming assembly.

 

More than a hundred freshmen and shiftees attended the carnival-themed welcome assembly organized by the local council.

“Chubibo: The Ferris Wheelcoming Assembly” was the kick-off event for the month-long freshmen, shiftees and transferees (FSTs) celebration in the college. FST Welcoming Assembly co-head Allison Laxamana urged the FSTs to look forward to similar events, including a media tour on August 10 and educational discussions, among others.

Writing in the middle of a storm

One startling and remarkable thing to come out of those three months of violence was a series of on-the-spot reports, coming from a young but brave journalist who was himself a part of the movement. In fact, he had been present that first long night, and was even injured on the chest by loose shrapnel after troopers fired their guns at the cement.
This young, uncompromising and courageous journalist was Jose Maria Flores Lacaba, Jr.

Pete Lacaba: 2013 Gawad Plaridel Awardee

By Matthew Reysio-Cruz

The night of January 30, 1970 was a long and dark one. It was a night punctuated by brutal force from the military—molotov cocktails and pillbox bombs, tear gas and rifle butts, and rocks set skyward that put out the lights of street lamps—which plunged the great mass of students gathered at the gates of Malacañang into pitch black.

It was the taste of violence, chaos and hostility that had come to characterize Martial Law, two years before it was even proclaimed.

That night of protest, the evenings leading up to it and the series of protests that followed over the next two months came to be known as the First Quarter Storm.

One startling and remarkable thing to come out of those three months of violence was a series of on-the-spot reports, coming from a young but brave journalist who was himself a part of the movement. In fact, he had been present that first long night, and was even injured on the chest by loose shrapnel after troopers fired their guns at the cement.

He, along with another injured student who had fallen into his arms, found someone willing to take them to the UE Memorial Hospital. After his injury had been treated, the young man, undeterred, returned to the battlefield where he had been hurt just hours earlier.

This young, uncompromising and courageous journalist was Jose Maria Flores Lacaba, Jr.

Pete Lacaba is this year’s recipient of the Gawad Plaridel, an annual award given by the UP College of Mass Communication (CMC) to media practitioners who have excelled in their respective fields.

Walang takot siya na magsiwalat ng mga nakikita niya. Matapang [siya]. At hindi lang siya nakakulong sa isang kategorya, hindi lang siya nag-eexcel sa isang form of media (He has no fear in exposing what he sees. Also, he does not limit himself to just one category and form of media),” said Regina Mendes of CMC’s Office of Extension and External Relations, tasked with organizing this year’s Gawad Plaridel.

When asked about her experience working with Lacaba on the preparations for the July 24 awarding ceremony, Mendes recalled being struck by the fact that despite being an accomplished journalist, Lacaba remained humble.

“Very approachable siya and very down to earth. Madali siyang kausap,” she said.

Lacaba’s reports on the protest actions during the ‘60s and ‘70s, which would later be compiled in his book Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage, were widely celebrated and brought him national recognition. His literary style of journalism was both compelling and ground-breaking.

“It was well-written and it did bring out the disquiet and the rage,” said Oscar Evangelista, a former Chairperson of the UP Department of History who did a review on Lacaba’s best-selling compilation.

“He was in the middle of it, and that made it even more personalized because he saw what happened. He saw the brutalities of the police and how the students responded. He had the bird’s eye view of the events. That in itself was already quite different from the ordinary news reporting during that time,” said Evangelista.

Born in 1945 in Cagayan de Oro, Jose Lacaba was given the nickname Pepito, the nickname Pepe already being taken by his father. Pepito was shortened to Pito in college, then even further to Pit.

The decision to respell Pit to Pete, giving rise to the name he is now popularly and affectionately called by, was driven by the inevitable armpit jokes that the name ‘Pit’ inspired.

It was apparent early in his life, however, that Pete Lacaba was someone to be taken seriously. Lacaba proved that he, with the sharpness of his pen, was a force to be reckoned with.

The Marcoses had him arrested in April 1974 and detained for almost two years.

In those two years, he was brutally and routinely interrogated and tortured for hours on end. This included being kicked in the chest and stomach and hit in the face and nape repeatedly, as well as being made to lie down with the back of his head on the edge of one bed and his feet on the edge of another, his body left suspended in between.

Lacaba was forced to wash cars and clean dirty communal toilets. He had to be confined at the Quezon Institute for almost a month, where he was heavily guarded, after a recurrence of the pulmonary tuberculosis that had already gone away prior to his imprisonment.

Lacaba would prove, as he did time and time again, that no amount of suffering would kill his desire to expose and put to end the suffering of others. He chose to be one with the struggles of the Filipino people.

In addition to his news reports, Lacaba also expressed anti-Marcos sentiments through poetry, such as in Prometheus Unbound, a poem he had published in Focus Magazine under the pen name Ruben Cuevas. He exposed social unrest in his screenplays as well, such as in Sister Stella L. and Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim, which were movies that came out under Marcos’ rule.

Due to financial constraints, Lacaba had dropped out of Ateneo de Manila University, where he was taking up a degree in English, in his third year. He used this as an opportunity to develop his illustrious writing career, where he amassed an illustrious body of work – news articles, poems, screenplays and essays.

He has also taught both in the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila University. Currently, he is the executive editor of Summit Media’s YES! Magazine, where he writes a column entitled Showbiz Lengua, which tackles language in show business.

Lacaba is a strong advocate of the Filipino language, having translated many poems and songs from English to the native tongue. In addition, he prides his generation of writers in being the ones to make language in Filipino poems more conversational.

He has been recognized several times for his work, including winning the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cinemanila International Film Festival and the CCP Centennial Honors of the Arts. He has also won the Gawad Urian for Best Screenplay four times.

Like Marcelo H. del Pilar, Lacaba used his great skill and passion for writing to promote a free and progressive media. He proved that a writer’s pen can be as hard as steel that refuses to break or bend.

UP CMC warns Aquino administration vs inaction on media killings

Only by arresting the perpetrators and punishing the guilty can the Aquino administration unequivocally send the message that it is putting an end to the “culture of impunity” which has led to the murder of many journalists and other victims of human rights.

Press statement of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication on the Jan. 24 killing of journalist Gerardo Ortega.

We, the undersigned faculty members, students and staff of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC), express our outrage over the killing of still another journalist – Gerardo Ortega, a radio broadcast journalist – last January 24 in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Ortega is the second to be killed during the seven month-old term of the Aquino administration. He was reportedly shot in the head and body inside a store.

We are alarmed by the administration’s failure to stop the killings of journalists and other forms of harassment against members of the media.

We view this failure to take swift and decisive action as an indication of the administration’s indifference or lack of appreciation of the media’s role as the social institution tasked with truth-telling toward enabling the people to make sense of social problems and to participate in their solution.

Only by arresting the perpetrators and punishing the guilty can the Aquino administration unequivocally send the message that it is putting an end to the “culture of impunity” which has led to the murder of many journalists and other victims of human rights.

We demand an immediate and thorough investigation that will lead to the arrest, prosecution and conviction of those responsible for this latest act of violence against media.

This press statement is signed by 26 faculty members, 7 administrative staff and 252 students from the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication led by Dean Roland B. Tolentino.

For verification, please call the UP CMC Department of Journalism at 920-6852.

Source: UP CMC College Secretary Danilo Arao