UPLB students' demand:

OUST COL. VIVIAN  GONZALES, OSA HEAD

 

University of the Philippines,  Los Baños

 

Sept. 25, 2009  Posted: Oct. 13, 2009

 

 

   
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Photos courtesy of UPLB Perspective
           
           

 

Handling a crippled press:
UPLB Perspective

How Perspective copes with admin’s non-collection
Mark Vincent Baracao & Estel Lenwij Estropia & Julienne
Urrea

The UPLB Perspective has been devising all possible means to
cope up amidst the financial dearth caused by the
non-collection of student fees since the beginning of the
semester.

However, the non-collection and the apparent intervention of
the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) as it refuses to sign
the publication’s budget proposal did not limit Perspective
in informing the students. Perspective released, however
limited both in size and circulation, two special issues and
“wall editorials.”

At the same time, the publication’s sole manpower, the
staff, is conducting group discussions, organization hops
and room-to-room visits. Through these alternative
information dissemination methods the publication learned
that the students are clamoring for more. The Perspective
staff was able to get direct feedback from the students who
want to have their publication back to its regular
operations. It is through this principle that the students
and even several academic and administrative personnel
warmly donated a few pesos to augment the publication’s lack
of fund.

Perspective understands the fact that the students deserve
more from the publication than what it can already provide.
But with the continuous forms of repression orchestrated by
the UPLB administration, through the directive of OSA
Director and Lieutenant Colonel Vivian Gonzales,
Perspective’s role as the official student publication of
UPLB is being jeopardized.

No words can describe how the non-collection of student fees
has worsened the institutional task of the publication to
publish newspaper. We say “worsened,” because during the
previous terms, it has always been difficult for the
Perspective to acquire funds for its many expenses.
Disbursement always had to pass through a very stringent
process.

Hurdles and intervention

The non-collection of student fees started with OSA Director
Gonzales’ directive dated May 8 notifying Perspective and
University Student Council (USC) that UPLB admin will no
longer collect the student fees for this semester to enforce
“full autonomy” of the two student institutions.

Perspective immediately informed Director Gonzales of its
stance on the non-collection. The publication firmly
believed that: the directive did not undergo democratic
consultation with anyone from the publication’s Editorial
Board; and the non-collection will only cause more problems
that will imperil the publication’s operation than the
autonomy it promises.

of the expenses as well as photos of the dire condition of
the Perspective office and its lack of much needed
facilities such as desktop computers, printer, audio
recorders, cameras, reference materials and books, office
supplies and many others. Any working student publication
must have these facilities to perform its tasks. In the
absence of such, the Perspective staff had to rely on their
personal resources.

Afterwards, Perspective sought for a dialogue with Gonzales.
Gonzales moved the dialogue several times until it seated
with Perspective only to reaffirm her directive. While
Perspective sees itself under a worsened condition if the
directive will be implemented, Gonzales seems to discount
this by teasing Perspective with frivolous statements like
“rock on!” and “kolektahin niyo na…babayaran ka (referring
to a member of the Editorial Board) naman, mukha ka namang
kawawa.”

Former Editor in Chief (EIC) Christian Ray Buendia sent an
analysis paper to the Office of the Student Regent calling
upon its attention on the OSA directive regarding the
non-collection.

Recognizing the urgency to collect the student fees, Student
Regent Charisse Bernadine Bañez brought up the issue of
non-collection to the Board of Regents (BOR) and sent an
inquiry to the UP Vice President for Legal Affairs Atty.
Theodore Te.

Financial Status

Atty. Te released a memorandum regarding the collection of
student fees, which suggests that the UPLB admin withdraw
the OSA directive issuing for the non-collection, and pursue
with the collection within July.

Expecting that UPLB admin submits to Te’s suggestion, the
Perspective immediately forwarded to the UPLB admin its
budget proposal for the First Semester AY 2009-2010.
Perspective fully understands that the non-collection of
student fees (of the old students) would not, in any way,
affect the disbursement of the publication’s Trust Fund.

But OSA verbally informed Perspective that the publication’s
budget proposal for this semester will only be approved
after Perspective and UPLB admin come up with an interim
agreement amenable to both parties. Moreover, Chancellor
Luis Rey Velasco, in his letter to Perspective dated July
17, mentioned that the current balance of the Perspective’s
Trust Fund amounting to more than P1.3M is “more than enough
to run the publication this First Semester, AY 2009-2010
while the acceptable arrangement with the UPLB
administration is being resolved.”

Velasco also questioned Perspective’s budget proposal and
directed the publication to “review its (Perspective’s)
plans vis-a-vis its financial status.”

Perspective’s budget proposal went more than the amount of
the publication’s current Trust Fund because the publication
was expecting that the student fees were to be collected in
July when the budget proposal was drafted, meaning
Perspective was expecting an additional budget of P400,000.

Attached with the said budget proposal is a justification
The month of July ended. The student fees were not
collected. Worse, UPLB admin was not able to sign the
publication’s budget proposal. To cope up with the UPLB
admin’s futility to act on the matter, Perspective cut down
the budget proposal to P1.16M. This was submitted to the
Office of the Chancellor on Aug 28.

Invalid

UPLB admin said in their July 17 letter to Perspective that
they “can no longer act on the said agreement in its present
form and content.” Velasco pointed that the provision in the
interim agreement calling for the collection of student fees
“during the registration period” is invalid since the said
period of time has already lapsed.

He stressed that some of the signatories in the initial
Interim Agreement are no longer officially part of the
student publication, one of whom is Christian Ray Buendia.

Table battle

A memorandum, dated Aug 23, was sent by Te regarding the
drafting of a new interim agreement. Te suggested in the
memorandum that a tripartite interim agreement should be
utilized instead of separate agreements for the University
Student Council (USC) and the Perspective.

Upon receipt, Perspective reviewed Te’s draft and came up
with its revised version to stipulate measures that will
ensure Perspective’s fiscal autonomy. Perspective presented
the revised tripartite interim agreement during the August
26 dialogue with the negotiating panel.

Rañola was not aware of the memo and informed Perspective
that they were instructed only to discuss with the
Perspective matters with regards to its new disbursement
scheme beginning next semester.
Learning and understanding

In the attempt to understand the issue of non-collection,
Perspective recapitulated its history in the decades-long
student struggle. It is through this where we learned that
the non-collection of student fees and other cases of campus
repression are deeply associated with the power struggle
inside UPLB, which walls are consistently swept with the
principles of national democracy and freedom. Therefore, no
matter how UPLB admin wraps the non-collection with the robe
of motherly intents, the non-collection, as it
systematically jeopardizes Perspective’s internal
operations, is a clear case of campus repression.

Moreover, history showed that subsequent to diplomatic
attempts to assert for our legitimate calls, we gain our
democratic rights only through militant and collective
actions. But, reactions of those powers-that-be are nothing
but systematic political repression and persecution.

A simple directive as it may be seen on the surface, UPLB
admin’s non-collection cannot be divorced from the power
relations that are at play in our beloved university. Behind
such directive is an interest rooted in the struggle between
the present neoliberal education and the student’s
collective interest for a free and mass-oriented education.
[P]

 

Download The UPLB Perspective in PDF format

 

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
           
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MGA ISYU NA NAGBUNSOD NG KAMPANYANG PAGPAPATALSIK KAY
VIVIAN GONZALES BILANG OSA DIRECTOR

Pagkaantala ng Proklamasyon ng Konseho ng mga Mag-aaral. Sa
University Student Council (USC) elections noong nakaraang
semestre, binalot ng kontrobersiya ang resulta ng eleksyon.
Ngunit tumampok ang apat na buwang pagkaantala sa
proklamasyon ng bagong Konseho bunsod ng hindi pagbibigay ng
agarang aksyon ng Office of Student Affairs (OSA) Director
na si Vivian Gonzales bilang Chairperson ng Central
Electoral Board (CEB). Hunyo na nang maglabas ng opisyal na
listahan ng mga nagwagi ang OSA gayong buong Abril hanggang
Mayo ito hinihingi ng nakaraang USC.

Di-Pagkolekta ng Student Fees. Sa bisa ng direktiba mula kay
Gonzales, hindi kinolekta ng UPLB admin ang student fees.
Humiling ang Perspective at USC ng dayalogo kasama si
Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco at Gonzales dalawang linggo ang
lumipas bago nila hinarap ang mga estudyante. Nagkasundo ang
UPLB admin at mga representante ng Perspective at USC na
gumawa ng interim agreement para sa koleksyon at
disbursement ng pondo ng mga nasabing institusyong
pang-estudyante. Ngunit isang araw bago ang registration
period ngayong semestre, pirma na lamang ni Gonzales ang
hinihintay pero hindi pa rin nito nagawang pirmahan ang
nasabing interim agreement.

Mga Aberya sa Student Organization Recognition. Bagamat
malawak na estudyante, mga building administrator at iba
pang constituent departments ng UPLB ang hindi nakaaalam sa
OSA Memorandum No. 1, ginamit pa rin ito ni Gonzales bilang
rekisito para sa org recognition. Naging malaking sagka pa
ang rekisito nitong 15 miyembro, hiwalay pa ang opisyales ng
organisasyon, upang kilalanin ng opisinang ito ang mga
organisasyon. Pero nang magpatawag ng Centenial Conference
si Gonzales ay naghugas-kamay siya sa harap mismo ng mga
organisasyon at sinabi na kasama na ang mga opisyales ng
organisasyon sa ibinigay na 15 miyembrong rekisito. (tignan
“Paghuhugas-kamay sa Centennial Conference”)

Kinolektahan ang mga organisayon ng P200 para sa Leadership
Training Seminar (LTS) na pangungunahan ng Student
Organizations and Activities Division (SOAD) ng OSA, ngunit
kinansela ito ngayong semestre, dahilan upang malito ang mga
organisasyon. Bagamat maraming organisasyon ang nagpahayag
ng disgusto sa mahaba at metikulosong recognition process,
isa pa rin sa mga rekisito ng OSA ang LTS (ang iba ay
financial report, list of activities, ID picture at profile
ng bawat miyembro, atbp.) para sa organisasyon bago
ma-recognize.

Mayroon pang mga orgs na dahil hindi nakadalo sa pinatawag
na pulong ng OSA ay tuluyan nang hindi ni-recognize. Mayroon
ding isang org na nagkaroon ng problema sa pangalan nito ang
hindi ni-recognize ng OSA sa kabila ng tangkang paglilinaw
at pag-aayos ng org na ito ng mga kinakailangang papeles at
rekisito.

Pag-rerequire para sa UPLB Rewind. Idaraos umano ng OSA ang
isang dula na pinamagatang UPLB Rewind. Ni-require ni
Gonzales ang mga orgs para sa pagbebenta ng mga ticket ng
nasabing dula. Maraming orgs ang umalma dahil sa mga patawag
na pulong na OSA ukol rito, nasa tono umano ang OSA ng
pag-oobliga at hindi konsultasyon. Ngunit hindi nagbigay si
Gonzales ng malinaw na panuntunan kung sakaling hindi
sumunod dito.

Pagka-antala sa pag-apruba ng budget proposal ng
Perspective. Ginamit na dahilan ng OSA ang interim agreement
para sa pagrekumenda nito ng budget proposal ng Perspective.
Upang mapabilis ang proseso ng pag-apruba rito, nagpadala
ang Perspective ng kopya ng budget proposal sa Opisina ng
Chancellor (OC) noong Agosto 28. Halos araw-araw nang
tumatawag ang Perspective sa OC ngunit panay din nitong
sagot na kasalukuyan pa itong dumaraan sa proseso ng
pagkukomento ni Dr. Roberto Ranola, Vice Chancellor for
Administration, at pagrereview ni Chancellor Velasco.
Hanggang ngayon, wala pa ring pondong magamit ang
Persepctive. Naglabas ng dalawang ispesyal na isyu ang
publikasyon mula sa mga donasyon ng mga estudyante at kawani
ng pamantasan.

Di-pagtugon sa UPLB Students’ Agenda. Sinimulang buuin ang
mga list of general demands ng mga estudyante sa huling
kwarto ng termino ng nakaraang Tagapangulo ng USC na si Leo
“XL” Fuentes. Mula sa listahang ito, nabuo ang UPLB
Students’ Agenda na siyang naglalaman ng mga “demokratikong
panawagan at kahilingan” ng mga estudyante mula sa
panawagang pagpapabasura ng 300 prosyentong pagtaas ng
matrikula hanggang sa panawagan ng mga orgs. Inihapag ito ng
USC sa OC noong Agosto 28. Si Dr. Emmanuel Abraham,
Assistant to the Chancellor for Alumni Affairs, ang humarap
sa USC at hindi ito nagpahayag ng anumang pagtugon, ni
aralin o rebyuhin ang mga dokumentong ito.

Sa halip na tugunan, dinerekta ng OC ang USC sa OSA para
talakayin ang UPLB Student Agenda. Nang ihapag ito sa
ginanap na Centennial Conference ng OSA noong Sept. 14, 15
at 17, wala ring kongkretong tugon si Gonzales dito. Ang
conference na nabanggit ay konsultasyon diumano sa pagitan
ng OSA at ng mga estudyante. Ngunit ayon kay Pamela Angelie
Pangahas, kasalukuyang Tagapangulo ng USC,
“paghuhugas-kamay” ang ginawa ni Gonzales sa kumperensyang
ito. Itinanggi nito ang pagharang ng OC sa permiso ng USC na
gamitin ang DL Umali Auditorium para sa dulang Isko’t Iska.
Ang Isko’t Iska ay taunang dula ng mga freshman na
inilulunsad ng USC katuwang ang iba’t ibang organisasyon.
Binansagan pa nito na “misinformed” at “huli na sa balita”
ng mga orgs dahil ang pinatupad diumano nito noong org
recognition ay 15 miyembro including officers at hindi 15
miyembro excluding officers, bagay na mabilis na pinabulaan
ng halos 170 na org members na dumalo sa nasabing
kumperensya.

Lantarang Pagpapapasok ng mga Tropa ng Militar sa Kampus.
Mula nang maupo si Gonzales bilang OSA director, tampok ang
presensya ng mga militar sa kampus. Isinagawa pa ang pulong
ng Laguna Peace and Order Council sa Student Union Building
noong Hulyo 22. Ani Fuentes, kasalukuyang Tagapangulo ng
pinakamalawak na alyansa ng mga student orgs sa buong UP
system, ang Samahan ng Kabataan para sa Bayan, sa nasabing
pulong, binansagang supporter diumano ng mga terorista ang
mga progresibong organisasyon at partylist tulad ng KABATAAN
Partylist, League of Filipino Students, Gabriela at
Anakbayan. Mariin naman itong pinabulaanan ng mga nasabing
organisasyon at partylist.

Ang Kontrobersyal na Termino ni Gonzales bilang Dean of
Students. Marso 3, 1995, unang umupo si Gonzales bilang Dean
of Students (OSA director ngayon) bilang appointee ng dating
Chancellor Ruben Villareal sa kabila ng kawalan ng
demokratikong proseso ng pamimili*. Kahit sa unang termino
nito’y na-antala rin ang pagpoproklama sa USC. Pinangunahan
diumano ni Gonzales ang “play-up” upang pagbawalan ang USC
at iba pang orgs sa pagtulong sa registration period.
Arbitraryong sinuspindi ni Gonzales noong Enero 13, 1997 ang
11 frat members dahil sa isang rumble sa isa pang kapatiran.
Ngunit ani dating Tagapangulo ng USC Jensen Cristobal, hindi
ito dumaan sa due process. Arbitraryong binagsak din umano
nito ang 73 kadete ng CWS-VIP. Lantaran ding pinagbawalan ng
SOAD-OSA ang Perspective na makapagsalita sa Freshman
Convocation noong 2000. Hindi rin ni-recognize ng SOAD-OSA
noong Hulyo 2000 ang 10 orgs na sumali sa Protest Fair.

Nanawagan ang mga mag-aaral noon sa pangunguna ng USC at mga
orgs na patalsikin si Gonzales bilang OSA dean. Samantala
nanawagan ang Perspective noong 2000 sa “Peryodikit” nito ng
“re-orient OSA.”

*Maaalalang si Gonzales ay naupo bilang OSA director,
kapalit ng dating Director Severino Cuevas, sa bisa ng
appointment ni Chancellor Velasco sa kabila ng kawalan din
ng demokratikong proseso ng pamimili.

Ilan lamang ang mga isyung ito ang bumabalot sa pagkakaupo
ni Gonzales bilang OSA Director. Makalipas ang dalawang
termino niya bilang OSA dean, hindi pa rin kumukupas ang
katangian ng kanyang pamumuno--otokratiko at represibo.

Ngunit ang panahon nati’y panahon ng pagtakas. Maraming
Iskolar ng Bayan (tunay, palaban, makabayan umano) ang
nananatiling tahimik sa kabila ng mga represibong polisiya
ng OSA sa ilalim ng pamumuno ni Gonzales.

Pagtakas mula sa tungkuling magtanong, mag-usisa, magsalita
at maging tagapamandila ng demokrasya at kalayaan sa
historikal na Unibersidad ng Pilipinas.

Pagtakas mula sa taimtim na pagliliyab ng damdaming
nakarararanas ng pagsikil sa demokratikong karapatan.

Ngunit bukas, Setyembre 25, ganap na alas-8 ng umaga
hanggang alas-12 ng tanghali, muli tayong tatakas. Tatakas
tayo mula sa gapos ng represyon, mula sa katahimikan, mula
sa pagmumuntik-muntikanan. Bukas tatakas tayo mula sa
Unibersidad na mistula nang piitan. Tatakas tayo. At ngayon
patungo sa hagdan ng Humanities, magsasama-sama at muling
padadagundungin hanggang sa pagtitipon ng mga pinakamataas
na opisyales ng pamantasan sa Board of Regents meeting bukas
ang ating mga lehitimong panawagan: Patalsikin si Gonzales
at itaguyod ang demokratikong pamimili ng maka-estudyanteng
OSA Director! [P]

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