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Increased campus militarization feared after UP Cebu alumna arrest JUAN GREGORIO LINA IN THE WAKE OF THE ARREST OF UP Cebu Mass Communication graduate Myles Albasin and five others during a military operation in Mabinay, Negros Occidental, various groups have raised concerns regarding ramped up military surveillance in university campuses across the country. A joint statement released on March 6 by several professors based in Cebu condemned the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command’s purported intentions to closely monitor students in the province to “prevent them from being recruited by communist armed groups.” “In no way should the military nor the police make monitoring of students a part of their job description lest we accept that, similar to the days during Marcos’ Martial rule, we and our students are likewise subjected to the same military measures,” the statement reads. Aside from UP Cebu, professors and administrators from the University of San Carlos, Talisay City College, and Southwestern University were signatories to the statement. Meanwhile, the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) expressed concerns that the arrest may serve as an “all-access pass” for the military to shore up its student intelligence networks in universities. The student group also cited reported instances of militarization emerging across school campuses in the country, such as in UP Mindanao, Cagayan State University, and Ateneo de Naga University. “As if their existing student intelligence network (SIN) in school campuses isn’t

enough, they want their uniformed personnel to personally harass and intimidate student leaders from airing out legitimate concerns,” said Raoul Manuel, Deputy Secretary-General of NUSP. Dubbed as the “Negros 6,” Myles Albasin and her five companions were captured after an alleged “firefight” with members of the Philippine Army’s 62nd Infantry Batallion. The six were then charged with the illegal possession of firearms and explosives—the most common crime alleged of political prisoners, according to human rights watchdog Karapatan. Aside from the indictment, the military has in addition accused Albasin’s group of being members of the New People’s Army (NPA). The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)-Negros, however, clarified in a statement that neither Albasin nor the others under detention are members of the NPA. Residents in the area, moreover, also disputed the military’s claim of a firefight taking place, with a witness who requested for anonymity claiming to have heard no more than three gunshots during the time of the arrests. Albasin, on the contrary, has denied ownership of the seized weapons, stating that they belonged to an “organization” but refrained from revealing any specific name, according to reports. In response to the arrests, UP Cebu Chancellor Atty. Liza Corro emphasized the need for due process and that Albasin is “innocent until proven guilty”, while UP Cebu’s University Student

Fire hits shopping center

Council echoed the NUSP’s calls against campus militarization. As of press time, Albasin and her companions are detained at the Negros Oriental Provincial Jail pending the results of a preliminary investigation on the incident after they refused inquest proceedings. Myles’ sister Marley Albasin, meanwhile, came to her sibling’s defense on social media amid assertions of Myles being an NPA member. “My sister will always stand up for what is right and she will always choose to serve the people,” Marley said. Albasin and her companions join the other victims of the government’s crackdown against perceived members of the NPA, which President Rodrigo Duterte declared as a terrorist organization along with the Communist Party of the Philippines after the formal termination of peace talks on November 23. Recently, Josephine Lapira was another UP student to come out as a victim of government harassment after a clash between suspected NPA forces and the military ended with her death on November 28 last year. Marley maintains, however, that her sister is no terrorist and remains hopeful that her sister will be proven innocent. “Terrorist? Nah. [Myles] is my sister and a comrade to many. Is it terrorism to make [the] decision to dedicate one’s full time to serving the farmers who are being robbed of their right to till their land?” said Marley.


UNION ORGANIZER ILLEGALLY ARRESTED IN RIZAL BEATRICE P. PUENTE THE SPATE OF HUMAN RIGHTS violations continues to take its toll against the progressives, leaving legal activists at a vulnerable position in the ongoing crackdown. In one of the most recent cases, a labor union organizer was illegally arrested in San Mateo, Rizal on February 22 even without any warrant from the authorities. Maojo Maga, a union organizer from workers’ group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), was arrested for illegal possession of a caliber .45 gun by at least eight policemen in civilian clothing, according to a KMU report. An alleged murder case in Agusan del Sur was also filed against Maga, who is currently detained at the Criminal Investigation and Detention Group in Camp Crame. “Malinaw na ang pag-aresto kay Maojo ay isang atake para takutin kaming mga lider ng progresibong grupo na pinakamalaki niyang kritiko,” said Jerome Adonis, secretary-general of KMU, emphasizing that human rights violations aim to silence dissent. “Kami ay mga unyonista at hindi terorista,” he added. Maga’s illegal arrest and detention followed a familiar narrative, which happened only three weeks earlier. National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Rafael Baylosis, Maga’s father-in-law, was likewise arrested illegally on January 31 in Quezon City. Similar to Maga’s case, Baylosis was also charged with illegal possession of firearms and is also detained at Camp Crame. Baylosis took part in the peace negotiations between the NDFP and the

Government of the Philippines, which was stalled in November last year. The two sides were supposed to discuss the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reform (CASER), which aims to resolve poverty and other social inequalities including the issue on workers’ contractualization and low wages, among the many issues on the labor sector that Maga fights against as a union leader. But with the termination of peace talks and intensified crackdown, NDFP peace consultants and legal activist are being hunted down. Maga and Baylosis are only two of around 145 political prisoners who are put behind bars based on mere trumped-up charges, according to human rights group Karapatan. The illegal arrest of Maga and Baylosis left their family in disbelief. “Hindi ako makapaniwala [sa nangyari dahil] hindi namin ito inaasahan... Medyo nagaalangan din ako sa safety ko ngayon dahil sa paghuli sa tatay ko, at sa asawa ko na nangyari pa sa subdivision namin,” said Eleonor de Guzman, Maga’s wife. The abrupt turn of events prompted de Guzman, together with their relatives and friends, to launch a coalition calling for Maga and Baylosis’s immediate release, citing the lack of concrete basis in all the evidences used to implicate them. Neither of the two possessed any firearm, said de Guzman. Maga, more so, could not have committed murder in Agusan del Norte because he never went there, she added. IPINAGPATULOY SA P. 3



THE UP DILIMAN SHOPPING Center (UPD SC) was razed by fire that broke out around 7:15 in the morning of March 8. The fire reached the second alarm before authorities declared it under control less than two hours later. Around 20 fire trucks from around Quezon City were deployed in the vicinity to extinguish the flames, which was only put out around 9AM, according to the spot report from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP). While no casualty was recorded, all 48 stalls in the building were almost completely consumed. This left business owners, employees, students, and professors in devastation. “Masakit at nakakagulat [‘yung sunog]. Marami kaming client na nandu’n ‘yung files at nandu’n lahat ng pinapa-bind na documents na ang iba ay original pa,” said Imee Gines, owner of Blessings Photocopying Services. “Kabang-kaba talaga ako nang malaman kong nasusunog ‘yung SC. Iyan talaga ang pinagkakakitaan namin na bumubuhay sa pamilya namin,” said Belen Eusebio, owner of the stall which used to sell laboratory equipment in SC since 1976. The 43-year old SC is the fourth building within the campus destroyed by fire in a span of three years, following similar incidents that happened in the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Association




(CASAA) Food Center in June 2015, the Alumni Center in June 2015, and the Faculty Center in April 2016. Prior to the SC fire, regular inspections were conducted before stall owners could renew their contract, so as to ensure that SC would be safe from fire hazards, said UPD Chancellor Michael Tan. “However, the weak link here is, kahit [maayos yung linya ng kuryente mo], ‘pag overloaded ‘yan, siguradong delikado,” he added. An estimated amount of P500,000 was lost due to the blaze, according to the same spot report. Authorities meanwhile are still conducting further investigations to identify the cause of the fire. A dialogue was held on the same day between the UPD administration and the business owners in SC. The admin will offer temporary relocation sites to the owners where they can resume their businesses while there is no permanent space found for them yet, hence the temporary suspension of any rental payment. In order to extend its help, the University Student Council will form the Sagip Shopping Center Coalition, which will launch projects to help those affected by the fire. Likewise, the Office of the Student Regent launched a donation drive for the benefit of the fire victims. “Sana mabilis ‘yung aksyon na magawa ulit ‘yung shopping center kasi kawawa naman ‘yung mga empleyado. Kailangan nating magtulungan para mapabilis ‘yung pag-aayos ng shopping center,” said Eleazar Santiago, a computer technician in Blessings.

A firefighter rushes to quell the blaze that engulfed the Shopping Center, March 8. The fire, which took more than an hour and took more than ten firetrucks to quell, is the fourth one to hit the university in three years: first was the Alumni Center and the CASAA Food Center in 2015, and the Faculty Center a year later.



MAHIGIT APAT NA TAON MATAPOS manalasa ang bagyong Yolanda sa Kabisayaan, wala pa ring natatanggap na sapat na ayuda ang mga magsasakang lubhang naapektuhan nito. Isa ito sa mga dahilan upang maglakbay sila pa-Maynila upang iparating sa administrasyong Duterte ang kanilang mga hinaing. Mula Pebrero 22 hanggang Marso 8, higit 50 magsasaka mula Silangang Visayas ang nagpoprotesta sa Maynila, kasabay ng paglulunsad ng kampanyang “Stand with Samar.” Layunin nitong itigil ang militarisasyon sa buong rehiyon at singilin ang pamahalaan sa hindi nito pagbibigay ng sapat na tulong sa mga nasalanta ng bagyo at iba pang kalamidad. “Dahil sa mga kalamidad, matinding kagutuman ang nararanasan sa Northern Samar. Gusto naming tumayo ang mga Samarnon, at iparating dito sa National Capital Region na wala talagang tulong ang administrasyong Duterte sa amin lalo sa agrikultura,” ani Andy Jagonoy, pangkalahatang-kalihim ng Northern Samar Small Farmers’ Association (NSSFA). Noong Pebrero 26, nagtayo ng kampo sa tapat ng Kagawaran ng Agrikultura (DA) ang grupo ng mga magsasaka upang mas ilapit ang kanilang panawagan sa nasabing ahensya. Ilang oras pa lamang matapos maitayo ang kampo, sinubukan na agad itong gibain ng hindi bababa sa 20 pulis mula sa Quezon City Police Department. Sa tatlong araw na pamamalagi sa tapat ng DA, nagawa namang makipagdayologo ng mga magsasaka kay Ariel Cayanan, Undersecretary for Operations ng kagawaran, noong Pebrero 28. Matinding pinsala ng kalamidad at mga pesta Sa bagyong Yolanda pa lamang, tinatayang higit P10 bilyon na ang halaga ng pinsalang idinulot sa agrikultura, ayon sa tala ng DA. Dagdag pa sa halagang ito ang pinasala ng hindi bababa sa anim pang bagyo na tumama sa Silangang Visayas sa nakalipas na limang taon. Matatandaan na nito lamang Disyembre ay muling hinagupit ang rehiyon ng bagyong Urduja na isa sa pinakamalakas na bagyong tumama sa bansa pagkatapos ng Yolanda. “Matapos ang bagyong Yolanda, hindi tinutukan ang rehabilitasyon sa agrikultura kaya mas lumala ang sitwasyon ng kagutuman at kahirapan sa Silangang Visayas,” ani Marissa Cabaljao, pangkalahatang-kalihim ng People Surge, samahan ng mga nasalanta ng bagyo sa Silangang Visayas. Bukod sa mga matinding kalamidad, malaking problema rin ang mga peste na sumisira sa niyog at abaka na pangunahing pananim ng mga magsasaka mula Samar. Pinipinsala ng cocolisap ang niyog samantalang sinisira naman ng bunchy top virus ang abaka, na sanhi ng malaking pagkalugi ng mga magsasaka. Dalawa hanggang tatlong milyong puno ang napinsala ng cocolisap na hiwalay pa sa 33 milyong punong sinira ng mga nagdaang bagyo, ayon sa mga opisyal mula sa Philippine Coconut Authority. Kinakailangang magtanim ng pitong milyong puno ng niyog upang punan ang kawalang ito, dagdag ng ahensya.

Samantala, idinaing din ng mga magsasaka ang lubhang pagbaba sa dami ng inaani nilang abaka. Dahil sa pananalanta ng mga peste, bumaba sa limang kilo ang inaaning abaka ng mga magsasaka na dati ay nasa isang daang kilo, ayon sa Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangang Bisayas (Samahan ng mga Maliliit na Magsasaka sa Silangang Visayas o SAGUPA-SB), pinakamalawak na alyansa ng mga pesanteng grupo sa rehiyon. “Maraming mga magsasaka galing Samar ang nagpunta sa Maynila para sana mabigyan kami ng agarang rehabilitasyon lalo na sa mga nasirang niyog at abaka na number one na produkto ng Samar. Hanggang ngayon, wala pa [kaming natatanggap na tulong],” ani Jagonoy. Dahil sa pagbaba ng kanilang kita bunsod ng kawalan ng produkto, matinding gutom din ang sinasapit ng mga magsasaka hanggang sa kasalukuyan. Upang tugunan sana ang problema sa kagutuman, napagdesisyunan ng National Food Authority (NFA) noong Pebrero 12 na mag-angkat ng 250,000 tonelada ng bigas mula sa Thailand, Laos, at Vietnam. “Sa totoo lang, hindi na natin kailangan umangkat ng NFA rice dahil alam naman natin na agricultural country ang Pilipinas. Kung tutulungan ng gobyerno ang mga magsasaka upang umunlad, sapat na [ang kanilang mga tanim para] sa pangangailangan ng mga Pilipino,” ani Jun Berino, pangkalahatang-kalihim ng SAGUPA-SB. Lumalalang militarisasyon Dobleng hirap ang kinakaharap ng mga magsasaka dahil bukod sa kawalan ng ayuda, matindi rin ang militarisasyon sa kanilang lugar. Tinatayang may 11 batalyon ng militar ang nasa Silangang Visayas, ayon sa Katungod-Sinirangang Bisayas, rehiyonal na sangay ng Karapatan, samahang nagsusulong sa karapatang pantao. Kaugnay nito, tumaas din ang bilang ng mga kaso ng pambobomba at pag-aresto sa mga sibilyan nang walang legal na basehan. Labis na takot ang naging pangunahing dulot nito, na dahilan din upang maapektuhan ang hanapbuhay ng mga magsasaka. “Mahirap ang pagpunta sa sakahan dahil hinaharang kami ng mga militar tapos ay tinatakot, at ini-interrogate kami tungkol sa mga miyembro ng New People’s Army (NPA),” ani Jagonoy. Pati ang mga kabataan ay hindi na rin nakakapag-aral nang matiwasay dahil inookupahan ng mga militar ang kanilang paaralan, health center, at barangay hall. “Pinagbibintangan kaming mga NPA samantalang mga ordinaryo lang naman kaming mga magsasaka [na nagtatrabaho] para mabuhay ang aming mga anak. Biktima na nga kami ng kalamidad, binibiktima pa kami ng militarisasyon,” ani Jagonoy. Sa kanilang sitwasyon, tila nararanasan na rin nila ang batas militar, dagdag pa niya. Paglutas sa suliranin Maglulunsad ng serye ng mga protesta ang mga magsasaka sa mga tanggapan at ahensya ng gobyerno. Matatapos ang serye ng mga pagkilos sa Marso 8, kasabay ng

kanilang pakikiisa sa pandaigdigang araw ng mga kababaihan. Gayunman, maibigay man ng pamahalaan ang ayudang kanilang hinihingi, at mapaalis man ang mga militar sa kanilang lugar, mananatiling lugmok sa hirap ang mga magsasaka hangga’t wala silang sariling lupang sinasaka, ayon kay Antonio Flores,

pangkalahatang-kalihim ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). “Kung magpapatuloy ang peace talks, mareresolba na ang aming mga problema dahil dito mapag-uusapan ang libreng pamamahagi ng lupa sa mga magsasaka, tungo sa tunay na agrarian reform at rural development,” ani Flores.


Umakyat na sa Room 401 ng Vinzons Hall at magdala ng portfolio.


UNION ORGANIZER ILLEGALLY ARRESTED IN RIZAL IPINAGPATULOY MULA SA P. 2 “Nagiging brazen ang estado sa paghaharass [sa mga progresibo]. Nakakabahala na kayang gawin ng estado [na labagin ang karapatang pantao] kahit saan man sa bansa,” said Ephraim Cortez, secretarygeneral of National Union of People’s Lawyers, adding that given this kind of situation, martial law seems to be felt in every part of the country. “[Pero] magbabatay tayo sa aral ng nakaraan. Dumarating tayo sa punto na tumitindi ang paninikil ngunit parang walang pakialam ang iba. Pero darating ang araw na mas darami pa ang mamamayang lumalaban,” Cortez added. Progressive groups from other sectors likewise suffer from the intensified attacks launched by the administration. A peasant leader named Ronald Manlapat, for an instance, was killed in Negros Occidental by an unidentified gunman but he received death threats prior to the incident. Another environmental activist, Ricardo Mayumi, from Ifugao also suffered from the same unfortunate incident. “Kung akala ng gobyerno ay titigil ang masa dahil sa ginawa nila, napakalaking pagkakamali yun. In fact, dapat lang na mas igiit pa ng mga mamamayan ang karapatan natin sa pamamahayag at sa pag-oorganisa,” said De Guzman, strongly pushing for the release of Baylosis, Maga and all other political prisoners in the country. PATRICIA LOUISE POBRE

Fishermen of the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA- Pilipinas) march to the Mendiola Peace Arch for a coordinated fishing strike on the National Day of Walkout, February 23. For two decades, PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas has called for the repeal of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, an act meant to safeguard local fishermen’s rights and regulate marine activities, but instead burden fishing communities with hefty fees. With the combined cost of fishpond rents, commercial fishing boat licenses and fishing accessories amounting to a total of P4,200, these fees almost double the monthly P2,500 income a regular fisherman earns from a 1.5-hectare fish pond. Moreover, with the threat of Charter Change looming in the horizon, many coastal areas will be open to foreign businesses ownership from whom local fishermen will have to fight with to access local fishing areas.




Mga manininda, wala na sa pamamahala ng OVCCA JUAN GREGORIO LINA

MATAPOS ANG ILANG kontrobersiya sa ilalim ng pangangasiwa ng Opisina ng Bise Tsanselor para sa Gawaing Pangkomunidad (OVCCA), ibinalik na ang mga maliliit na manininda sa pangangasiwa ng Business Concessions Office (BCO). Pinangunahan ng Samahan ng mga Manininda sa UP Campus (SMUPC) ang petisyong ibalik ang mga manininda sa pamamalakad ng BCO. Inaprubahan naman ni UPD Tsanselor Michael Tan ang petisyon noong Disyembre ng nakaraang taon. Simula nang ilipat ang pamamahala noong Pebrero 1, sa BCO na nagbabayad at humaharap ang mga nagpapatakbo ng food kiosk at kariton, maging kasapi ng SMUPC o hindi, ani Bise Tsanselor Nestor Castor ng OVCCA. Isusunod sa paglipat sa BCO ang mga ibang uri ng manininda, katulad ng mga naroroon sa tiangge at food sale, dagdag ni Castro, ngunit wala siyang binigay na tiyak na petsa para rito. Isang tanggapan sa ilalim ng Opisina ng Bise Tsanselor para sa Administrasyon, ang BCO ang siyang nangunguna sa pagsingil ng renta mula sa mga katulad ng UP Town Center, Parish of the Holy Sacrifice, mga canteen, at iba pang mga umuupa ng lupa ng unibersidad. Dating nasa ilalim ng BCO ang mga maliliit na manininda, ngunit umalis din sila sa pamamalakad ng opisina noong 2015 nang pagpasiyahan ng BCO na i-obliga ang mga manininda sa isang kontrata nang walang konsultasyon. Humantong ang pagtutol sa kontrata sa malawakang pagkilos nang tanggihan ng BCO ang apela ng mga manininda sa desisyon. Bunga naman ng mga kilos-protestang ito ang paglipat ng responsibilidad sa mga maliliit na manininda sa OVCCA.

ng pwesto sa paligid ng Electronics and Electrical Engineering Institute (EEEI) ang isang tinanggal na kasapi ng SMUPC. “Mga kasapi namin naunang aprubahan ni Dean [Rizalinda de Leon ng College of Engineering],” ani Sinoy. “Sa tingin namin, nakakagulo si Vice Chancellor Castro sa Samahan na parang gusto niya atang buwagin,” dagdag niya. Depensa naman ng OVCCA na lahat ng grupo—maging bahagi ng SMUPC o hindi—ay pinahihintulutang magbenta sa kampus. Ang mga binigyan ng pwesto sa EEEI ay dumadaan sa tamang proseso ng pagpasa ng mga kaugnay na dokumento at liham, ani Castro. Sa kabilang banda, bagaman aprubado ng dekano, labas naman sa kapangyarihan niya ang pagtatalaga ng kung sino ang ipupwesto sa naturang lugar dahil hindi naman ito napapaloob sa mismong gusali ng Engineering, ayon kay de Leon. Samantala, kontrobersya rin ang idinulot ng pagpapaalis sa isa pang kasapi ng SMUPC at may-ari ng isang kariton sa kanto ng T.M. Kalaw at Quirino Ave sa dakong School of Statistics, Office of the University Registrar, at National Institute for Science and Mathematics Development (NISMED). Base sa mga dokumentong isinumite ng OVCCA sa Executive Committee ng Unibersidad, napatunayang hindi nga nakakuha ang manininda ng permisong magbenta roon, bunga ng pagtutol ng NISMED sa kadahilanang maaaring marumihan ang pagkain at magdulot ang kanyang kariton ng pag-ipon ng trapik sa lugar. Kung anuman ang dahilan para sa pagpapaalis kay Nanay Felonia, dapat ay hinanapan siya agad ng bagong pwesto dahil mahirap lang sila at umaasa sa pagtitinda, ani Sinoy.

Puwang pangkabuhayan Sa pagbabalik ng mga manininda sa pamamahala ng BCO, ipinahayag naman ng SMUPC ang hinaing ng grupo na nakaugat diumano ito sa pagkukulang ng OVCCA sa makatarungang paglalaan ng mga espasyo sa kampus para sa kanila, wika ni Edna Sinoy, kasalukuyang tagapangulo ng SMUPC. “Marami kaming kasapi—at alam ni Vice Chancellor Castro ‘yan—taon na ang binilang, wala pa ring pwesto, pero tuloy pa rin ang pagbabayad [ng renta sa OVCCA]. Pero ‘pag may mga lumapit sa kanya... na dating mga kasapi namin, bakit biglang nagkakaroon ng mga pwesto at ang ganda pa ng mga lugar?” giit ni Sinoy. Sa ilalim ng OVCCA, kailangan ang permiso ng opisina upang makapagtinda sa loob ng Unibersidad. Maaaring direktang makipag-ugnayan ang mga nais magtinda sa OVCCA mismo, ngunit para sa mga kasapi ng SMUPC, ang organisasyon ang nakikipag-ugnayan sa opisina. Nasa 95 ang mga maninindang kasapi ng SMUPC, ani Sinoy. Sa bilang na ito, 30 ay may “special permit”, o mga kasaping probationary dahil dati silang direktang tumutungo sa OVCCA para makagamit ng lupa, ayon kay Sinoy. Noong nakaraang taon, nagdulot ng kontrobersya ang diumano ay “palakasan system” ng OVCCA nang binigyan nito

Mapait na pamamaalam Ipinahayag naman ni Castro ang tila “pagbabasura” ng SMUPC sa “community-based” approach na ipinatupad ng OVCCA nang kupkupin ng opisina ang mga maliit na manininda. Kung saan mas nakita ng BCO ang mga manininda bilang negosyong pagkakakitaan, nakita naman ng OVCCA ang mga manininda bilang mahalagang bahagi ng komunidad, ani Castro. “Batid namin yung kakulangan ng kainan para sa mga estudyante—kaya nga tinotolerate natin yung mga manininda. Kung hindi ganun ang aming mentality, bakit kami [rito sa OVCCA] magsusulat sa mga opisina’t makikiusap na kung pwede bang umupa ang [manininda] roon?” giit ni Castro. “Kung sino pa yung sympathetic sa kanila, yun pa yung kanilang tinira. Kung sino pa yung ayaw magbigay sa kanila dati ng permiso dahil gustong bigyan sila ng kontrata, doon pa sila kakampi. Okay, sige. Doon kayo [sa BCO],” dagdag niya. Ipinahayag naman ng University Student Council Community Rights and Welfare committee ang pangangailangan para sa pagkakaisa sa hanay ng mga manininda. Umaasa ang komite sa mas mapayapang relasyon sa pagitan ng SMUPC at ng bagong administrasyon. “The CRAW Committee hopes that the BCO will be supportive of the plans & initiatives of SMUPC and have a peaceful relationship with them,” ani Gabby Lucero, tagapangulo ng komite.






Mula P600 ay sumipa sa P1,000 ang halaga ng mga pinamimili ni Arman Hernando, 30, simula nang ipatupad ang Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law ng administrasyon ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte. Samu’t saring pagtitipid ang ginagawa ng pamilya ni Hernando: Mula sa apat na pack ng instant noodles ay pinagkakasya na lamang nila ang dalawa; mula rin sa dalawang beses na pagluluto sa isang araw, tinitipid nila ngayon ang kanilang tanghalian para umabot sa hapunan. Umuuwi siya araw-araw bitbit ang sama ng loob dahil sa kakaunti na nga ang kaniyang mga naipapamili, malaking halaga pa ang nababawas sa kaniyang ipon para sa kinabukasan.

POLICE BRIEFS Two men injured in separate car accidents An employee of National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development (NISMED) was injured in a car accident in front of the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice last February 18. The victim was crossing Laurel street from the said church going to UP Health Service when the driver of a Hyundai Gatz with plate number NEQ 143 accidentally hit the victim’s right foot, according to the report from the UP Police. The victim was immediately assisted by the said driver of the car and brought to the U.P. Infirmary. On a separate incident, a 41-year-old jeepney barker was left injured after he was hit by a Lexus car with plate number YYY 7703 while he was crossing Velasquez Street last February 22. With the help of three policemen, the driver immediately brought the victim to the UP Health Service for medical treatment, according to the report of the UP Police. Two Cars collide near Shopping Center A white Ford Everest accidentally hit a parked gray Mitsubishi Mirage along Magsaysay Avenue, Apacible Street, near the UP Diliman Shopping Center on February 8. Due to accident, the Mitsubishi car with conduction number NK 7932 incurred scratches on its left side and a dent on its back bumper. Meanwhile the Ford vehicle with conduction number IL 8565 also incurred light damages on the left side of its front bumper.

MARVIN RAEL TENECIO Both parties amicably settled, according to the UP Police report..


Unidentified driver hits UP student’s car A College of Human Kinetics (CHK) student’s car was hit by an unidentified driver who hurriedly got away at around 2:45 in the morning of February 16, 2018. The driver of a black Honda Civic with plate number WCM 161 was parking along Area 2 when it crashed with the victim’s car, according to the report from the UP Police. The CHK student’s car received several scratches as well as a dent on the left of its front bumper. UP student’s phone robbed at KNL A tricycle driver took the phone of a second year Hotel Restaurant and Institution Management (HRIM) student after it was accidentally left inside his tricycle on January 25. The victim lost about P15,000 worth of cellular gadget, sim, and memory card in the tricycle she had ridden from Teachers Village to Krus Na Ligas (KNL). She was already in her class when she had realized that her phone was missing. She then reported the said incident to the UP Police immediately. The tricycle driver was later identified after authorities had checked the CCTV footage near KNL. The suspect was arrested and brought to the UP Diliman Police station for disposition. The case was entered for record since the complainant opted not to file any charges against the suspect.

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Militarization in Lumad communities intensifies JOSE MARTIN V. SINGH

A HARROWING STATE OF AFFAIRS continues to besiege the Martial Lawladen Lumad communities in Mindanao. Troops from the 75th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) are currently roving around Surigao del Sur, harassing the Lumad and their aides. This i s a ccording t o fi rst-hand ac counts of Kenneth Cadiang, a volunteer teacher for Lumad school Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV). The s aid m ilitary m en r efused a t l east 10 delegates of an International Solidarity Mission (ISM) to enter the Lumad communities in Barangay Diatagon in Lianga, Surigao del Sur on February 19 and February 21, according to a statement by Lumad group Kahugpungan sa Lumadnong Organisasyon sa Caraga (Alliance of Lumad Organizations in Caraga or Kasalo Caraga). The I SM i s c onsisted o f f oreign representatives who were tasked to give aid to the Lumad and fact-find on human rights violations in their communities. The L umad a re f orced t o d eal w ith hunger and distress as they face military pressure in their communities. Food was prohibited from entering Lumad communities in November. But, the blockade remains effective today. Rations need to pass through the Local Government Unit (LGU) or the Municipal Social Welfare Development before being obtained by the Lumad, said Chad Booc, another ALCADEV volunteer. These m easures g reatly t rouble t he Lumad given that those who are allegedly disobeying the imposition are being threatened by military men, Booc added, citing how the Lumad just want to be left in peace. From November 26 to December 8, 2017, Lumad families subsisted on 10 kilos of rice for food. Today, there is a continuous clamor for the food and aid blockades’ stoppage among progressives like human rights group Karapatan. These e vents l ed K abataan P artylist representative Sarah Elago to file a house resolution on December 4, 2017 to have

the food blockades investigated. The food blockade and the intensified military presence is believed to be due to the precepts of Martial Law, which began in Mindanao after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation No. 216 on May 23, 2017. Despite clamors by the Lumad and progressive groups for its immediate end, Martial Law was extended twice, on July 22 and on December 13, 2017. The latter extension would end on December 31, 2018. Since the Martial Law declaration in Mindanao, more waves of military operations have increased the almost endless disturbances in indigenous communities, especially that of the Lumad and Moro, according to Kasalo Caraga. In addition, there is a more than a hundred percent rise of extrajudicial killings recorded since the ML declaration, according to human rights group Barug Katungod Mindanao. Harassments and casualties Military operations were documented to have happened thrice since Martial Law was declared, wherein the troops arrived in July and November 2017. The latest came in January 2018. The Lumad are always forced to evacuate following these military ops, said Cadiang. Another wave is expected to come this March, said Booc. The military’s presence continues to put the Lumad at an unease. The Lumad are already more than frustrated with what is happening as military men continue to harass and tag them as members of the New People’s Army, said Booc, adding that many Lumad already suffer from emotional distress. The military ask the Lumad about their teachers and their knowledge of the rebels, cocking their guns as if to threaten them, he added. Indigenous communities in Mindanao still bear the brunt of assaults and casualties. There are 126 recorded extrajudicial killings of farmers and indigenous peoples (IP) and 428 cases of trumped-up charges on leaders and teachers of IPs as of February 24, according to data collated

by human rights group Mindanaoans for Civil Liberties. Moreover, harassment cases were recorded to have happened on a daily basis in January of this year, said Cadiang. ‘Mining the land of our birth’ These military ops are rooted in the incessant mining efforts in Mindanao and the IP’s resistance to such, said Booc and Cadiang. “In general, large scale, open-pit mining companies and palm oil plantations have systematically grabbed the land of the Lumad for the implementation of their business projects that the people do not benefit from,” said

Cadiang. “[It] even flattens the mountains where they live,” he added. Since the 1980s, coal mining companies through their contracts to operate from the Department of Energy have exploited the Lumad and their land. In February of this year, Duterte expressed the need to develop the Lumad’s ancestral territories by letting private companies take over them. Duterte said he would work for the entry of investors to areas such as the hinterlands of Andap Valley, Surigao del Sur. This attempt was faced with great opposition by the Lumad and their advocates, citing the insincere intentions of the endeavor.


Lumad is a Visayan term that means “native,” “indigenous,” or “born and grown in the place.” It is also used as a collective name for the IPs in Mindanao. The struggle for a just and lasting peace continues for these people. “Hangga’t may gustong umagaw sa aming lupang ninuno, hangga't may banta ng mining, hindi matatapos ang militarisasyon,” Cadiang said, citing Myrna Belandres, the chairperson of Lumad organization Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang Sumusunod (Persevering Struggle for the Next Generation) whom he encountered in an evacuation center in November 2017. LUCKY DELA ROSA

Ibinubuhol nang maayos ni Losito Cayabyab, 55, ang taling sumusuporta sa kanyang mga nakolektang kalakal, Pebrero 28, sa Diliman, Quezon City. Lumaki si Cayabyab sa isang mahirap na pamilya na ang pangunahing hanapbuhay ay pangangalakal ng basura. Hanggang sa kanyang pagtanda, ito na ang nagsisilbing pantawid-gutom nila. Araw-araw niyang kasama ang kanyang dalawang anak na dumadayo pa mula Marikina City upang kumita lamang ng P150 – P300. Bagaman umaabot ang halagang ito sa poverty threshold ng World Bank na nasa humigit kumulang P100 kada araw para sa isang tao, walang kasiguraduhan na magkakaroon si Cayabyab ng pantustos sa pang-araw-araw.

REPS Manual pushed for admin approval JOSE MARTIN V. SINGH

UP FACULTY AND ADMINISTRATION representatives are now spearheading a process to institutionalize the Research, Extension, and Professional Staff (REPS) Manual, a document which would facilitate policies surrounding the REPS and signify their recognition as an important sector in the UP system. The REPS Manual was first proposed in 2003 but its draft was only first finalized in 2015 after a series of workshops and discussions. However, despite collective efforts for its approval, the manual was shelved by former UP President Alfredo Pascual’s administration, said National President of All UP Academic Employees Union (Acad Union) Carl Ramota in a previous interview. Created by the Board of Regents (BOR) in 1967 with the name “nonteaching position,” the now called REPS are vital in the university’s development in various respects, and are consisted

of the librarians, guidance counsellors, technical specialists, extension workers, and researchers in UP. The prospects are more positive and assuring this time for the REPS Manual because of the steps taken towards its approval. A recent revision of the said document was submitted on November 3, 2017 to Vice President for Academic Affairs Maria Cynthia Bautista, who convened a committee to review the REPS manual on December 29, 2017 through a memorandum. Chaired by Faculty Regent Patricia Arinto, the committee consists of seven representatives from the UP admin and faculty including College of Arts and Letters Professor Dr. Ramon Guillermo, top DNA forensic researcher Dr. Maria Corazon de Ungria, Vice Chancellor for Research and Development Fidel Nemenzo, and Acad Union

National Vice President for REPS Fevito Obidos. The committee is mainly tasked to review approved and proposed policies and guidelines for REPS, and undertake various consultations across the UP system and its constituent universities, according to the December 29 memo copy furnished by Arinto to the Collegian. Given the long wait for the REPS Manual, the creation of a committee is a positive sign for its approval by the BOR and UP admin, said Obidos. Two meetings have already been held by the committee on January 31 and February 6 of this year, where sub-committees to discuss and review REPS concerns and recommend policies to address them were established, among others, he said. “[The committee also started] reviewing documents, like the submitted resolutions and reports of the Ad Hoc Committee on REPS Concerns of 2014,” he said.

If the manual is approved, the REPS will be able to consult something clear and trusty, as it is intended to collate and codify existing policies and practices governing REPS across the UP system, said Ramota. Obidos meanwhile said that the manual is important because it will serve as a ready guide for the REPS and their supervisors. The practice of professionals under UP will be standardized and will help them do their jobs better and with a certain ease, he said, citing the approachability of the manual. A Manifesto of Unity among REPS was circulated in November last year through a signature campaign which aimed to bolster the approval of the REPS Manual. Since the creation of the committee to review the manual, the signature campaign was temporarily stopped, but it was so far successful in some constituent universities, said Obidos.

“The clamor to have a REPS Manual, like that of the Faculty Manual, has long been a necessity for the Research, Extension, and Professional Staff as a vital sector of the university,” Obidos said. While progress on the manual’s development and polishing is steady, there remains a lot to be done. The manual is targeted for approval by the BOR and UP admin on April this year. “[The committee’s] work is ongoing and we will be in a better position to share what we have accomplished in April,” said Arinto.





THE TRAIN STOPPED IN THE MIDDLE of the tracks, leaving thousands stuck midway their destinations. A dormant housing project was captured by hundreds of homeless protesters. Decrepit roads and bridges in far-flung areas subject children to daily rigor in trips to school. In the wake of dilapidated public infrastructure, the edifice of underdevelopment and chronic poverty, the government beckons its “golden age of infrastructure”—an P8.4 trillion-enterprise set to accelerate Philippine development by 2022. The government launches this golden age through the Build, Build, Build (BBB) program, the centerpiece project of President Rodrigo Duterte’s 10-point Socioeconomic Agenda. The BBB comprises construction of airports, bridges, roads, expressways, railways, new cities and flood controls. BBB is intended to be the engine that will advance the Philippines to the global operations of production and consumption. However, at stake in this drive is the security and welfare of the nation as radical policies, adjustments and reforms are crafted to fund this massive infrastructure program. Blueprint of Growth Under the Marcos dictatorship, infrastructure projects such as the Lung Center, Philippine International Convention Center, San Juanico Bridge, among others, were paraded as landmarks of progress. However, these projects incurred colossal debts. Among these is the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, a P2-billion project remaining idle and abandoned, siphoned of the biggest possible kickbacks. This is the blueprint of growth and infrastructure that the BBB is




built from. These programs had endured a continuous presence throughout administrations because its importance, ideally, transcends all brackets of society. Infrastructure captures the economic interests of the elite and the want of the poor for job generation and public service. Envisioned to enhance “mobility and connectivity”, the BBB’s projects mostly consist of transportation structures. Some notable projects include the Luzon Spine Expressway Network that will connect the northernmost and southernmost parts of Luzon. The Mindanao Railway Project which has an estimated budget of P31.5 billion will connect Tagum City, Davao City and Digos City. The first ever subway project, the Mega Manila Subway, costs P227 billion, and will link Quezon City and Taguig City. For a long time, the World Bank has been insisting the Philippines to invest in infrastructure to alleviate poverty. They said, infrastructure development will attract more capital to the country. But as President Duterte follows the whims of the business elite, prioritization of the basic sectors’ demands is pushed back. Calls for decent living wage of workers and genuine agrarian reform for the farmers are dismissed. Industries are left underdeveloped. Meanwhile, interests of business community are fulfilled such as revised tax reform, free trade environment, withdrawal of restrictive policies in the Constitution, and a massive infrastructure overhaul. From a progressive group seeking alternatives

to neoliberal globalization, Focus on the Global South writer Joseph Purugganan says in Policy Review: Unpacking Dutertism: “Reassuring the business community was a message repeated constantly by Duterte and his cohorts over the course of his first year in office.” The BBB is a promise fulfilled, a reassurance that the government is following the right blueprint for growth. But for whom? Roadblock The question of where the bulk of funding will come from raises a conflict. The government plans to produce P8.4 trillion from the General Appropriations Act (GAA), the official development assistance (ODA), loans, and taxes. The Department of Finance depends largely on the additional revenues to be collected from the TRAIN to finance the program. On the other hand, the government also sources capital by borrowing, especially loaning from China. Former Vice President Mae Buenaventura of the Freedom from Debt Coalition, an organization formed to protest the large debts incurred by the Marcos dictatorship, says that massive loans will only exploit money from the people and will only create space for China to profit over our indebtedness.

In a similar vein, former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Dante Canlas expressed concern over the possibility of being mired in debt in the vigorous pursuit of infrastructure projects. Canlas emphasized the need to implement the tax reform properly to prevent this problem. The question remains: who will pay? TRAIN is flaunted as pro-poor tax system, but this assertion is untrue, as minimum wage earners were already exempted since 2008. It gains revenues from consumption taxes of the masses and resisted taxing the rich more. With this system, the poor are burdened with high prices justified by projects like the BBB. Recently, the government accumulated the highest outstanding debt of P6.652 trillion in pursuance of the infrastructure program. Automatic servicing of this debt through Presidential Decree 1177 will cut back budget for social services. The people will take the brunt of the blow. Building Grassroots Instead of fending off capital because of his strongman rule and war on drugs, President Duterte was able to attract investors and widen the network of trade relations with countries such as China, Japan, and Russia. Armed with the necessary political capital, President Duterte made more radical changes such as regressive taxation, establishing a political relationship with China, and proceeding with a charter change proposal that will reset the political and economic system of the country. UP Diliman Sociology professor Herbert Docena explains that this resembles the making of fascist states. Historically, fascist states rise from the

aggressive forwarding of the agenda of a group of capitalists, Docena explains. This, and a strongman to coerce consent and capital from the people to build the edifice of a fascist state, completes the picture. “He can run over the opposition in the ways others can’t,” Docena stated. He can quell opposition, and he has the iron, authoritarian arm to shape the material conditions the ruling elite demands. Both Docena and Buenaventura emphasized the need for infrastructure that will bring social service to the poor. They enumerated examples such as hospitals, public housing, schools, mass transportation, and increased accessibility of electricity and water in distant regions. Our history with the Marcos dictatorship had shown us the consequences of the debt-driven approach. Debts mired the Filipinos and future generations in poverty and had become source of corruption in various government offices. Participatory governance and budgeting—incompatible with the current strongman rule of President Duterte— should be the manner in economic planning and infrastructure programs. Infrastructure development must always prioritize the accessibility of public social service. With the route the government is taking, infrastructure not only becomes inaccessible, but a financial burden, a source of corruption, a leeway for substandard infrastructure, and a cause of violation of civil liberties and labor rights. In the face of a well-structured, strongman rule, all the more should an opposition rise from the grassroots to express the political and economic demands of the true stakeholders.


NIKOLAS CRUZ ARRIVED ON campus in an Uber. He strolled past security guards, oblivious to everyone who imagined this day would be like any other in a city once dubbed as the 15th safest city in America. Yet, within moments of Cruz’ entry into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, gunshots rang out. First came the fire alarm, then a banging of classroom doors as people ran inside for safety. Forty minutes later, Cruz, 19, abandoned a military-style AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with multiple magazines and fled his former school. He left behind 17 people slain, 14 others wounded, and a country once again reeling from another mass shooting — the 30th just seven weeks into 2018. None of the previous killings have hurt the firearms business, and probably neither will the recent massacre. The gun lobby indeed relies on the strength in numbers of gun companies and pro-gun rights voters to hold sway over the Congress, where gun control legislation has been derailed in favor of a culture of institutionalized violence. Trigger Happy The perpetuation of gun culture cannot be divorced from the corruption of politics evident in the power of the country’s foremost pro-gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA). It has shaped the gun debate since the mid-1970s, when it began to invoke the Second Amendment to support what it believes is a sovereign right to individual ownership of guns. “[For many advocates] guns are venerated objects of craftsmanship and tangible symbols of such fundamental American values as independence, self-reliance, and freedom from governmental interference,” writes Tom Diaz, former NRA member and analyst at the gun control advocacy group Violence Policy Center, in his book on American gun culture. Even on the heels of the deadliest mass shootings in US, gun sales have soared. In 2017 alone, despite 345 gun-related massacres recorded then, the top gun manufacturers Smith & Wesson and Remington Outdoor reported $1.4 billion record sales. The NRA has raked in millions from these commercial giants to boost its lobbying efforts, per a 2011 study by the Violence Policy Center. This alliance solidified in 2005, when Congress passed an NRA-backed bill protecting gunmakers from liability lawsuits related to gun violence. Few places have seen the NRA wield its influence than Capitol Hill, where majority of the incumbents refuse to stem the bloodshed of gun violence in exchange for financial support from the gun lobby (see sidebar 1). Still, donations to grease the legislative wheel comprise only a fraction of NRA’s strategy. With a grassroots base of nearly five million, the NRA can mobilize its members to deescalate the political momentum on gun control, especially in the aftermath of mass shootings. Though currently outnumbered in the Congress, gun regulation lawmakers believe gun ownership is an ineffective way to protect democracy. They argue against letting people carry concealed weapons into public spaces and across state lines, or own certain types of guns and ammunition. Yet, such attempts to stiffen gun laws keep floundering, more so now that the NRA has installed an ally in no less than America’s highest office. Licensed to Kill Even before taking office, Donald Trump had been vocal about his pro-gun stance. Now, under his administration, the geography of gun violence in US has worsened and proves to be far from random as well (see sidebar 2). The states with the highest gun death



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rates, such as Montana and Wyoming, did not only register the highest firearm ownership rates but are also among those with the weakest gun control laws, according to a 2016 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Florida, for example, the NRA’s sweeping agenda for expanding the rights of gun owners has resulted in the adoption of the “stand-your-ground” statute, which permits the use of deadly force in the face of a threat. Under the protection of such law, in 2013, George Zimmerman, 28, escaped charges for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old black. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” NRA President Wayne LaPierre once said. Martin’s death, however, illustrates the kind of lax legislation that normalizes recourse to firearms and criminalizes communities of color more than others. Racial minorities constitute the segment of America most likely caught in the hail of gunfire, according to the nonpartisan thinktank Pew Research Center. Yet, the fact of racialized violence is overshadowed by mass shootings, which are muchpublicized amid a backdrop of continued killings of low-income black suspects at the hands of armed police. Local and national news media have helped frame inner-city gun violence as reflective of depravity rather than a lack of gun control laws, writes communications professor Mary Oliver in the Journal of African American Studies. “Media images of race and crime systematically over-represent African Americans as criminal [and] portray black men as particularly dangerous,” she said. Open Fire Gun violence, however, is just symptomatic of a larger crisis: the predominance of institutions that trade in death for profit while promoting aggression, fear, and insecurity among the people. At present, no group understands this more clearly than the youth that have renewed calls for stricter gun control. “Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call B.S.,” said one of the Parkland shooting survivors, Emma Gonzales, in a speech. The wake of the shooting would be high time to confront the corporate-driven gun lobby and the culture of militarism it spawns. The Trump administration would do well to look to its international peers for policies holding the most promise for curbing gun violence in the long haul. For example, US may adopt Japan’s restrictive firearm regulations, which require that an individual pass a battery of mental, skills, and drug tests before gaining access to a small pool of firearms. Background checks are also universval and coupled with rigorous annual weapons inspection. Most importantly, Japan has made sure that fewer guns are in circulation, even among the police. Reshaping the conversation also necessitates the media to open spaces for reckoning research-based solutions to the gun problem, which must be addressed not just in light of mass shootings. Gun violence must be recognized and reviled in its other forms as well, from suicides to domestic terrorism against marginalized communities of class and color. For to sustain the discourse of gun control as a lost cause does more than insult the memory of the thousands who have died looking up the barrel of a gun. Such resignation ultimately means forsaking large swaths of the American public, who could be but murder cases waiting to happen.



UNANG BESES MONG SUMAKAY SA Ikot, at nataranta ka nang biglang lumabas ang jeep. Naitanong mo sa sarili, “UP pa ba ‘to?” Bukod tangi ang UP dahil ito lang ang pamantasang may sariling jeep na umiikot sa kampus. Sa loob ng mga jeepney na ito, nalaman mong isang malaking komunidad ang pamantasan—nagsasalimbayan ang ingay ng mga estudyante, mga rali, videoke sa Ricarte, at inuman sa Sarah’s. Napakarami mang nagbago sa UP, nananatili ang mga jeepney sa pagbuo ng makamasa at makabayang identidad ng UP. Saksi sila sa mga panandang-bato sa kasaysayan ng unibersidad— noong Diliman Commune, kasamang nagbarikada ng mga estudyante ang mga drayber laban sa tatlong sentimong pagtaas ng petrolyo. Ang militansyang ito ang hindi nagbabago sa mukha ng UP para sa mga drayber na katulad ni Tatay Rovic Pineda, isa sa mga pinakamatagal nang drayber ng Ikot. Ito na ang nakasanayang ruta ni Tatay Rovic sa loob ng 23 taon— babangon siya ng alas kwatro ng umaga, maliligo, magaalmusal, at maghahanda na para bumiyahe. Umulan man o bumagyo, may pasok man o wala, tuloy lamang siya sa pagpihit ng

manibela at walang sawang iniikot ang pamilyar na mukha ng UP—ang mga bago’t lumang gusali at mga barung-barong sa kahabaan ng Jacinto street at KnL. Hindi katulad ng ibang jeep sa loob ng UP, 57 lamang ang pumapasadang jeep na biyaheng Ikot. Napagdesisyunan ng pamunuan ng Ikot Jeepney na huwag na itong dagdagan pa, lalo’t hihina ang kanilang kita. Kwento ni Tatay Rovic, sa maghapon na pagpasada, nasa 500 o 600 ang naiuuwi niya sa kaniyang pamilya. Kasa-kasama ni Tatay Rovic sa pagpasada ang pangatlo niyang anak na special child. Sa loob ng halos dalawa’t kalahating dekada niyang pamamasada, napagtapos niya ang kaniyang panganay na anak at patuloy na nasusustentuhan ang pag-aaral ng mga anak niyang nasa kolehiyo’t elementarya pa lamang. Ngunit sa tagal man ng kaniyang pamamasada, wala pa rin siyang sariling jeep at nagba-boundary lamang ng halagang 800 sa kaniyang operator. Kwento ni Tatay Rovic, sa loob ng 23 taon niyang pagmamaneho ng Ikot, marami na ang nagbago sa pamantasan – ang mga dating lubak na daa’y sementado na at ang mga lupaing dati’y may mga tirahan

ay natayuan na ng nagtatayugang gusali. Sa kabila nito, wala pa ring pagbabago sa kalagayan ng mga tsuper. Kamakailan lang, unang binulabog ng “Oplan Tanggal Bulok, Tanggal Usok” ng Inter-Agency on Traffic (I-ACT) ang mga tsuper sa UP. Layon nitong ipagbawal ang pagpasada ng mga jeep na diumano’y “bulok” o “eyesore.” Kung kaya noong Pebrero 23, pansamantalang iniwan ni Tatay Rovic ang manibela upang makiisa’t ipaglaban ang karapatan ng mga kapwa tsuper na apektado. Hanggang sa kasalukuyan, kasa-kasama pa rin ang mga tsuper sa pagtindig sa mga isyung kinahaharap ng bansa. Kaya’t higit na hamon sa UP na suportahan sila, ang mga manininda, at ang sambayanang pinaglilingkuran nito. Para kay Tatay Rovic, panatag ang kaniyang loob na kasama niya ang mga mag-aaral sa pagsusulong ng kanilang karapatan. Sa panayam na ito ng Collegian kay Tatay Rovic, ibabahagi niya ang kaniyang mga karanasan sa pamamasada, ang UP sa gitna ng nagbabagong panahon, at ang mga isyung kinahaharap ng mga tulad niyang drayber sa kasalukuyan.

Ang mga draybers, manininda, at estudyante, magkakasama ‘yan kasi may pagkakaisa, may samahan. Ano po ang kalagayan ng UP at ng trabaho ninyo bilang drayber noong nagsisimula kayo bilang Ikot driver? 1995 nang magsimula akong mamasada ng Ikot, bale 23 taon na. ‘Yung kinatatayuan ng NIGS, talahiban ‘yan noon. Noong nagumpisa ako rito, 1.75 pesos pa lang ang pamasahe. Hanggang sa naging 2.25, 4.75, hanggang sa tumaas nang tumaas. Apat na piso lang din kasi kada litro ang diesel noon kaya mura ang pamasahe. Saka, mura pa ang bilihin noon kaya mas malaki ang naiuuwi naming kita. Mura lang kasi ang diesel, maliit lang ang boundary, at mas maraming estudyante ang sumasakay ng jeep noon. Dati, nakakapag-uwi pa ako ng 700 o 800 kada araw. Ngayon, masuwerte na kung maka500 o 600. Minsan pa, kapag nasisiraan, mga 300-400 na lang ang maiuuwi ko.




Ano ang epekto ng TRAIN Law para sa inyong mga drivers?

Anu-ano ang mga pagbabagong napansin ninyo sa UP at sa mga mag-aaral nito ngayon? Marami nang nagbago sa mga estudyante ngayon. Noong araw, marami pang mahihirap na estudyante dito sa UP. Ngayon, karamihan, may mga sasakyan na. Noong araw, kakaunti ang makikita mong sasakyan na naka-park. Katulad sa gym, halos wala kang makikitang kotse. Ngayon, kaya kumonti ang pasahero, kasi marami na’ng may sasakyan. Noon, kahit saan ka magpunta, may nakapilang mga estudyanteng nag-aabang ng jeep. Ngayon, kakaunti na lang ang pumipila, may oras pa. Noon, kahit anong oras, may pila sa Ikot. ‘Yang Toki, malakas ang biyahe niyan noon. Mahina na rin sila ngayon.

Ano ang saloobin ninyo hinggil sa jeepney phase-out ng gobyerno? Marami na kaming nararanasang hindi maganda. Ngayon, ipinagbabawal na ang jeep na bulok-bulok. Katulad ng jeep ko, pagdating ng Marso, hindi ko malaman kung may maibabiyahe pa ako o wala na. Kinausap kami ng LTFRB sa SOLAIR, papalitan na raw nila ‘yung luma [naming jeep]. Galing sa kanila ‘yung sasakyan, tapos ang plano nila’y ang mga drayber na katulad dito sa Ikot, may ticket nang katulad sa bus at may kundoktor. Samantalang kung kami lang, kung gusto naming mamahinga, hindi namin magagawa. Kaya nga, kung ganoong ako ang driver, pagod ako, magkukundoktor na lang ako.

Marami na kaming nararanasan. Sa 2,000 o 2,500 na kikitain mo sa isang araw, 800 du'n mapupunta pa sa boundary ng jeep na dating 500 lang. Ang gastos ko lang noon sa diesel ay nasa 400 o 500 sa isang araw. Maghapon na ‘yon. Ngayon, 700 hanggang 750 na ang ginagastos ko. Malaking kabawasan ‘yung 200 na nababawas sa’kin. Kulang na kulang ‘yung kinikita namin sa mahal ng bilihin ngayon, lalo na’t ngayon, may pinag-aaral pa ako sa kolehiyo.

Gaano kahalaga ang papel ng mga mag-aaral sa laban ninyong mga drivers? Ang mga drayber, manininda, at estudyante, magkakasama ‘yan kasi may pagkakaisa, may samahan. Maganda ang [adhika] ng estudyante. Tulung-tulong kami sa strike, umaabot pa nga ng Mendiola. ‘Yan ang kagandahan sa mga estudyante - kahit noong araw pa, kasama na namin ‘yan. Hindi nawawala ‘yan lalo na kapag may katiwalian o hindi nila kursunada ang pasunod ng gobyerno, number one ‘yan.

PATRICIA LOUISE POBRE IT WAS QUARTER TO MIDNIGHT, but the streets were already bare. “Lunes kasi,” Jessica* explained. “Tumal ngayon.” Almost as lifeless as the parking lots outside the surrounding disco pubs, the city block offered an interesting view to its guests: strategically placed motels, a makeshift graveyard of beggars sleeping on cardboard boxes for the night, and police officers mingling with girls almost half their age. Jessica pointed to a thrift shop with a lifesized statue of Saint Joseph by its window and joked “baka sakaling maisipan mong humingi muna ng tawad.” Jessica remains unfazed by this scene; a second-rate city of sin like Cubao is bound to look this dreadful. Customers come and go. From afar, the boulevard reeked of hard liquor and cheap perfume. Closer, it was dirty business and dirtier old men. Thirty-year-old Jessica is only one of the hundreds of “scarlet women” or sex workers who roam the sidewalks of Cubao every night. Men in their late 60s and even boys as young as high school sophomores would pass by their block and start negotiating for private services. Unlike club entertainers and hostesses who get paid per hour, women like Jessica have a “bugaw” or middlewoman who sets the prices, varying from P500 to P1,000 per customer. For regular customers, prices are at P1,500 or higher. Jessica’s earlier encounter, like all beginners, was bad. She was enticed by a 2,000-peso promise. Her first customer short-changed her by three-quarters, receiving only P500. Through her experience in Cubao did business in the streets become her second nature.

Behind her nightlife is a single mother struggling to take on the role of both a cosmetics student and a provider for five. “Dalawang buwan na lang ng pagtitiis, graduate na ako,” she said with a glimpse of joy. “Makakapagtrabaho na ako sa salon.” Though the P1,000-P1,500 income per evening that has covered her family’s daily expenses is significant, Jessica constantly worries that her work may expose her children to discrimination from their classmates and friends. “Walang nakakaalam sa mga anak ko,” Jessica shared. “Paano naman 'yung sasabihin ng ibang tao na ganiyan pala ang trabaho ko? Baka tuksuhin lang sila.” Indeed, for the longest time, women in this line of work have been one of the most looked down by society. The law offers little solace for women in her line of work: stories of abuse by local officials and law enforcement fill the streets from rape cases thrown out willy-nilly to sexual favors in place of bail. Due to lack of viable alternatives, sex workers are pushed to the dark streets of Cubao to pursue “easy money” for their daily expenses. Despite past administrations’ attempt to raid brothels and night clubs, and to curb prostitution, they fail to provide concrete and sustainable solutions: providing legitimate sources of income for women who are merely compelled to engage in these jobs due to poverty. “Hindi naman namin ito talaga ginusto,” Jessica lamented, “Sa mga kasama kong mga nandito, syempre, hindi naman habambuhay na dito ka na lang. Kailangan din nating bumangon sa buhay.”


Walang ibinibigay na pagpipilian ang lahat ng giyera kundi gutom, karahasan at kamatayan.

PALAGI AKONG MARAMING pinagpipilian. Pinili kong ikwento ang araw kung saan pinili kong manatili sa dorm para gumawa ng papel. Sa laptop ko piniling isulat ang papel. Pinili kong making ng mga kanta habang nagsusulat. Pinili kong basahin 'yung post sa Facebook tungkol sa batang piniling maglakad. Pinili niyang maglakad patungong Jordan bitbit ang damit ng namatay niyang ina at kapatid na babae. Pinili kong alalahanin tatlong taon ang nakakaraan ang bangkay ng batang inanod sa dalampasigan sa bansang Turkey. Sa dami ng pagpipilian, wala nang natira para sa mga batang iyon. Taong 2011 nang sumiklab ang giyerang sibil sa Syria na hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa rin natatapos. Walang binibigay na pagpipilian ang giyerang ito sa mga mamamayan ng Syria. Walang ibinibigay na pagpipilian ang lahat ng giyera kundi gutom, karahasan at, kamatayan. Hindi pinapapili ng giyera kontra-droga ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ang mga inosenteng biktima ng tokhang at gayundin ang walang humpay na pandarahas sa mga katutubo sa buong bansa. Ang kawalan nila ng pagpipilian ay hindi dahilan upang walang gawin ang mga kagaya kong marangya sa pagpipilian. Kailangan kong piliin at ng mga kagaya ko na isantabi muna ang kwento tungkol sa sarili. Huwag na munang gamitin lang ang pagtingin sa paligid para sa magandang paglalarawan, bagkus, gamitin ito upang paigtingin ang nosyon ng pagtingin sa kapwa-tao. ito upang tingnan ang

kalagayan ng kapwa-tao. Huwag na munang ikwento ang tungkol sa pagsulat ng papel, hindi paglabas ng dorm, at iba pang hindi naman gaanong kinakailangan ng atensyon. Piliin nating magbasa tungkol sa kanila, magsulat, at magsalita para sa kanila. Piliin nating isiwalat at manawagan para sa pagwawakas ng bawat giyera hindi para maging bayani kundi para makahikayat sa lahat na tumulong. Tumulong ang mga gaya natin na maglinaw tungkol sa tulong na iniaabot ng mundo sa mga bansang gaya ng Syria. Kung laksa-laksang armas upang magpatuloy ang giyera ang isinusuplay ng makakapangyarihang bansa, dapat natin itong isiwalat. Kaakibat ng bawat giyera ay ang pagtukoy sa kung sino ang kalaban at kung sino ang dapat manalo. Ang bawat artikulong nailalathala at naipapaskil kung saan-saan ay kulang pa. Kulang pa ang lahat ng ito hanggang hindi natitigil ang giyera at nagwawagi ang mga mamamayan. Mas malawak na ang saklaw ng tao laban sa tao na dati’y pinipili lang na tunggalian sa isang malikhaing akda. Ang moral lesson na hinahanap lamang sa mga pinapabasang katha para sa reading comprehension noong elementarya ay usapin na ng buhay at pagpatay ngayon. Marami akong pagpipilian, at sa dami ng pagpipilian, pinipili kong magsulat tungkol sa’yo. Sana ay makarating sa’yo, sayo na hinihiling nang mamatay dahil sabi mo ay papakainin ka ng Diyos sa langit.
















I WAS SWEATING BULLETS BUT MY hands were cold. The University Theater was packed to the brim, watching some ten-odd young ladies strut down the catwalk in skimpy bikinis. I don’t know which one would pop first from the pressure, my corset or my tuck. It has been more than half a decade since I joined Miss Engineering, and every time I remember it, it’s either a fond memory or a hellacious nightmare. There are no in-betweens. What drew me to this was the female illusion. What convinced me to join was naiveté. As young as I was back then, it was weird, exotic even, to peer down the other side, and to feel what it was like to be woman. That's the main selling point of the pageant: questioning gender norms. But looking back, it rigidly falls within traditional notions of femininity. Beauty pageants don't challenge ideals of beauty and gender roles. Miss Eng'g is no different; it affirms it and celebrates it. It acknowledges its existence, and a year later when the crown seeks a new head to call home, a handful gets to experience this again like some odd gender tourist, confirming that it is indeed hard to be a woman but does nothing else to challenge these notions. The most progressive entry to the pageant, one that poses a challenge to our ideas of womanhood, is an organization with a plus-sized contestant rocking unkempt hair, unprovocative attires, and less make-up than most. And even then, it is seen as a gag, a joke entry, a punchline. What this afforded me, as a contestant then, is a personal realization and experience about the pressure these norms put on women: to conform, to blend in, and to essentially disappear by fitting in one mold.




The pageant itself looks for these identifiers of femininity: maybe a cinched waist, a curvy figure, and softer facial features. Maybe someone who can walk in heels has an advantage. It has a predilection for those serving feminine realness - those who can maintain this illusion - and places them higher up the rankings. But these, by no means, are the metrics by which we judge feminine character or strength. Nor is it a clear cut way of defining womanhood. Heck, there are women who have no breasts or those who are assigned male at birth. The pageant has a strong potential, however. Aside from being one of the most awaited night events of the annual competition, Engineering Week, it usually caps it off as a last minute chance to win the championship; sometimes a make-or-break chance for competitors. With such a large number of eyes trained onto the main stage, it can be a strong platform to raise calls and to form unities. The challenges women face extend further than conformity to norms; discrimination and violence exists in various forms like sexual harassment, physical abuse, and economic violence, to name a few. The pageant can serve as an opportunity to aid in the emancipation of women by raising calls to end contractualization for female workers, for genuine agrarian reform for female farmworkers, and for free education for female students. I stood there, center stage, in front of hundreds, after long grueling hours. The crown, unfortunately, found its way to a prettier head. I took solace in the assumption that I won fourth place, but if this pageant joins in the broader feminist struggle, maybe everyone can win.











With such a large number of eyes trained onto the main stage, it can be a strong platform to raise calls and to form unities.


      



LB-AAW calls for adoption of remaining dogs From UPLB Perspective



ALAALA NG ABO ANG BALITA SA PAGKASUNOG NG SHOPPING CENTER (SC) agad ang bumungad sa akin kaninang umaga, pagkagising. Nakakagulat. Nakakapanlumo. Nagsindi ako ng sigarilyo habang isinusulat ang kolum na ito; tinitigan ang baga at muling binalikan sa gunita ang mga alaala ng nasunog na gusali. Parang noong isang araw lang, sinamahan ko pa ang kaibigan kong isa-isahin ang mga stall sa loob para hanapin kung saang tindahan pinakamurang magpa-bind ng thesis. Pero halos apat na taon na ang nakaraan— freshie pa ako— manghang-mangha lang ako sa mural ni Andres Bonifacio na nakapinta sa gilid ng SC. (Binura ang mural, kasabay ng paint-job renovation ng gusali.) Siguro, bawat estudyante ng UP Diliman ay maraming alaala sa SC. ‘Yung ibang mga kaklase ko, suki na sa tindahan ng ice cream. ‘Yung isang propesor ko, sa SC raw unang nakita ‘yung naging asawa niya. Sina Marcus Adorio at Jessica Zafra ay sa SC rin daw nagpapagawa ng salamin dati. Baka ‘yung mga tanyag na alumni ng UP, sa SC rin nagpa-photocopy ng readings, bumili ng bluebook para sa exams, o nagpakuha ng 1x1 photo para sa mga index cards (kung uso na ‘yun sa panahon nila). Hindi naman katakatakang maraming alaala talagang mabubuo sa paboritong tagpuan sa UP Diliman na hindi academic building. Taong 1975 pa nang buksan ang SC upang ipatikim ang tapa ng Rodic’s, magpakulot sa Remy’s Beauty Parlor, magpasukat ng salamin sa pamilya Sarabia, at mag-alok ng iba pang mura at abot-kayang serbisyo. Ngunit higit pa sa mga alaalang maaari na lamang balikan ngayon sa mga gunita, kasamang natupok sa SC ang kabuhayan ng mga stall-owners sa loob. Hindi ko lubos maisip, at hindi ko matanggap na sa loob ng mahigit apat na dekadang paninilbihan sa mga estudyante, ngayon lang yata ito matitigil. Humithit pa ako ng isa. Naramdaman ko ang init mula sa baga palabas sa mga labi ko. Nakita ko ulit ang baga sa dulo ng yosi ko at muli akong ginanahang maghukay pa ng mga alaala. Ganito yata talaga kapag nagsusunog ng baga. Nasunugan din kami dati. Anim na taon pa lang ako noon at nag-aaral sa Grade 1. Wala kaming naisalba bukod sa ilang damit at mga mahahalagang gamit. Tinupok ng apoy ang tahanan namin kasama ang higit 50 pang bahay sa tabi namin na gawa sa pinagtagpi-tagping kahoy at yero. Kagaya ng mga biktima ng sunog kanina sa SC, nakita ko ring umiiyak ang nanay ko noon. Pero, pabiro niyang sinabing tinutulungan lang niya ang mga bumbero sa pamamagitan ng pagdaragdag ng tubig. Ako namang si tanga, naniwala. Ngayon-ngayon ko lang naintindihan. Pumikit akong mabuti at pinilit ibaling ang isip sa ibang mga bagay. Pinatay ko ang sigarilyo sa daliri ko dahil napasukan yata ng usok ang mga mata ko. Inabot ko ang laylayan ng damit ko at pinahid ang mga luhang nangingilid sa akin.

 Jonathan Castillo @tatancast

Whenever you feel like belittling #EDSA32, remind yourself-- "You cannot do what you are able to do today and what you will will do tomorrow if not for the 1986 People Power Revolution and the 1987 Philippine Constitution." #NeverForget 5:05 PM - 24 FEB 2018

Threatened by the local municipality to have the dogs euthanized if not adopted before summer, the Los Baños – Advocates of Animal Welfare, Inc. (LB-AAW) are looking to find ‘furever’ homes for the remaining 23 dogs in the pound. According to LB-AAW, the Los Baños municipal government wants to euthanize the dogs for fear of diseases like rabies, which they are more prone to during summer months. The municipality is also said to be cutting expenses for the allotment of other projects and that they are making room for a new batch of dogs in the pound. Reignier Guerrero, LB-AAW Public Relations Head, stated that although the municipality said that there is a big amount allotted for dog food in the 2018 budget proposal, the amount is not disclosed to their organization. Additionally, he said that before their organization volunteered to help the pound, the dogs were not being fed. The food given to the dogs in presentday come from LB-AAW and their donors. The municipality have long been saying that the dogs that are not adopted will be euthanized. However, it was only last January 13 when they gave their definite word that the current dogs in the pound will be given until before summer to find a home. Their campaign #Savethe58 started out with 58 dogs that were up for adoption. With LB-AAW’s continuous efforts to find them new homes, more than half have already been adopted.

LB dog pound violates law After finding homes for the remaining 23 dogs, LBAAW wants to have the dog pound closed due to violation of the guidelines set by the Bureau of Animal Industry. “Bagsak sila sa maintenance of facilities. Walang food for the dogs. Walang vet na nagche-check sa dogs. Hindi rin sumusunod sa required facilities ng cages, dapat stainless steel,” Guerrero explained. According to Guerrero, there had been a case where a dog had a tetanus infection because of rust and dirt in its cage. The dog pound is located in the Material Recycling Facility, also known as a dumpsite, which Guerrero said provides for an unhealthy environment for dogs. He said that the municipality told them that there is no other land available to be converted into a dog pound and the current pound only serves as a temporary shelter. Guerrero cited the Animal Welfare Act of 1998 which provides that animals in the shelter should have five basic freedoms: freedom from thirst, hunger, and malnutrition; freedom from physical discomfort and pain; freedom from injury and disease; freedom to conform to essential behavior patterns; and freedom from fear and distress. An adoption fee of Php 300 paid to the municipality should be used to improve the facilities of the pound but Guerrero observed that with the number of dogs adopted in the previous years, no improvements were seen in the pound.


Ping Guerrero @gabrant001

Di ko ma-gets yung psychological test na ginawa kay CJ Sereno that concluded na mentally unstable siya for her position as Chief Justice. I mean if we're also gonna start prosecuting people based on their mental health, we can start with our President. 4:23 AM - 3 MAR 2018

#Savethe58 LB-AAW advocates to rescue and to find new homes for stray cats and dogs which, according to them, are only victims of irresponsible pet ownership. From 2015, LBAAW volunteers have helped in maintaining the dog pound—cleaning cages, feeding, bathing, and taking care of the dogs and cats. Since there is no municipal veterinarian, LB-AAW contacts local or private veterinarians for the animals that need immediate medical attention. Since 2015, more than 50 cats and dogs have been adopted. If interested to adopt, LB-AAW requires the submission of an application form, an interview, and a visit to the dog pound.


SEPT. 21 2017

Not all stray dogs are rabid In an interview with ABS-CBN last January 18, OIC Municipal Agriculturist Cheryll Gonzales explained the risk of stray dogs with rabies. Although they want the dogs to be in a better place, she said, they also do not want to risk the chances of rabies spreading and citizens being bitten by the rabid animals. “Ang rabies kasi, in a few weeks, magmamanifest na dapat ang symptoms sa aso. If the dogs have rabies, it should have died or exhibited the symptoms,” Guerrero explained that the dogs in the pound do not have rabies. Animals infected with rabies die 10 days after the development of its symptoms.


 Jane Uymatiao @citizenjaneph

I lived through martial law. I was at EDSA People Power. I am now a grandmother. I hope that today’s students, my age during martial law, will become grandparents who can look back to today’s #WalkoutPH and say they resisted any return to martial rule. 7:38 PM - 22 FEB 2018







Isang palabas ang ipinakikita ng gobyerno—sagupaan sa pagitan ng makakapangyarihan.

PATULOY ANG PAGBUO NG pangulo sa kaniyang obrang diktadura—hinuhulma na niya ang mismong hudikatura. Labintatlo sa labing-apat na mahistrado ang bumoto para sa indefinite leave ng punong mahistrado (CJ) na si Maria Lourdes Sereno, na inaasahang lilitisin ng Senado sa Hulyo. Nakabatay ang kasong impeachment ni Sereno sa hindi niya umano pagdedeklara ng Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) noong hindi pa siya mahistrado ng Korte Suprema (SC). Ganito rin ang eksena noong 2012 nang patalsikin sa pwesto si dating CJ Renato Corona, na gaya ni Sereno ay iniluklok din ng presidenteng sinundan ng nakaupo. Ngunit ang layunin ng mga pangulo ay hindi itama ang kapabayaan, kundi gawing puro kaalyado ang mga mambabatas ng kaniyang administrasyon at gapiin ang pagiging malaya ng hukuman. Isang palabas ang ipinakikita ng gobyerno—sagupaan sa pagitan ng makakapangyarihan. At gaya ng tipikal na palabas, wala sa mamamayan ang kontrol ng palabas, magpapatuloy ang anumang isinusulong ng gobyerno, mailuluklok ang sinumang nais ng pangulo. Matatandaan na noong nakaraang taon ay magkasunod na inalis sa pwesto ang mga progresibong kasapi ng gabinete na sina Prop. Judy Taguiwalo ng Department of Social Welfare and Development at


EDITORIAL si Ka Paeng Mariano ng Department of Agrarian Reform. Matindi rin ang pagatake ng administrasyong Duterte sa Opisina ng Ombudsman, na isa sa mga masugid na taga-usig ng pangulo. Kung tuluyang mapatatalsik si Sereno sa pwesto, nangangahulugan lamang ito na hindi makatwiran ang proseso ng paglilitis—walang malinaw na basehan ang mga kasong ibinato sa CJ. Hakbang ito para sa konsolidasyon ng mga mahistrado, at ng SC sa kabuuan, na minsang pumabor sa Batas Militar sa Mindanao at sa pagpapalibing ng isang diktador sa Libingan ng mga Bayani. Instrumento ng estado ang tatlong sangay ng gobyerno sa pagpapaigting ng kapangyarihan. Kung bubuuin ang Korte Suprema ng isang nag-aastang diktador, mas magiging madali ang pang-aabuso sa Konstitusyon, tulad ng isinusulong na Charter Change ng pangulo. Mababalikang pagsuporta din ng SC sa Konstitusyon ng 1973 ang lalong nagpalawak sa kapangyarihan ng diktadura ni Ferdinand Marcos sa ilalim ng kaniyang “constitutional authoritarianism.” Ngayong mismong ang batas ay inilalagay na rin ng pangulo sa kaniyang kamay, lalo’t higit mayroong pangangailangang isalba ang integridad ng punong mahistrado. Gayunman, hindi ito nagtatapos rito dahil dapat tumupad ang sistema ng hukuman sa tungkulin nitong maging malaya at tagapangalaga ng katotohanan, alang-alang

sa interes ng mga mamamayan na patuloy na nililinlang at pinagsasamantalahan. Sa pagiging malaya ng hudikatura nakasalalay ang pagpapatupad ng maayos na due process para sa mga bilanggong pulitikal, ilegal na mga pag-aresto sa mga aktibistang tulad ng estudyante ng UP na si Myles Albasin na inaakusahang miyembro ng New People’s Army, at iba pang biktima ng karahasan sa ilalim ng administrasyong Duterte. Kung kaya sa palabas ng makapangyarihan, hindi tayo maaaring maging manonood lamang—makisangkot sa palabas at itama ang wakas ng kwento. Ang pagsusulong sa natitirang kalayaan at integridad ng hukuman ay isang hakbang upang ipakita na hindi pagagapi ang mga mamamayan sa nakaambang diktadura ng pangulo. Sa pamamagitan ng ‘di natitinag na pagtutol sa impeachment at sa marami pang anyo ng paninikil, naisisiwalat ang kawalang-katarungan at kahungkagan ng administrasyong Duterte. Malaking tulong sa pagpapabagal nga paglilitis kay Sereno ang patuloy na pagpuna sa proseso. Kung hindi titigil ang mamamayan sa pagtuligsa sa hindi makatwirang paglilitis, magwawagi ang taumbayan sa pagprotekta sa kalayaan ng hudikatura. Gaano man kalaki o kaliit ang bawat laban, dapat itong bumuwag sa nilililok na diktadura ng pangulo. Ang hatol ng taumbayan: isalba ang kalayaan at bumuo ng maka-mamamayang hukuman.

Philippine Collegian Tomo 95 Issue 14  
Philippine Collegian Tomo 95 Issue 14  

Issue 14 | Biyernes, 9 Marso 2018 | 12 pages