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Martial Law @ 40: It Can Happen Again Anytime

Yesterday was  the commemoration of the infamous 1972 Martial Law that left scars among the Filipinos. I was not able to write an essay about it because we were busy at school but few days prior to yesterday, I was interviewed by an intern of Manila Bulletin about it. She said that they are making an article on how the Filipino youth today perceive the 1972 Martial Law. Here’s mine:

IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN ANYTIME. “Marcos placed the whole nation under Martial Law as a result of the rise of activism among students, workers and other sectors, the growth of communism, and the infamous assassination of former Defense Minister and now Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. It should not just be viewed as an isolated case of absence of democracy but as a reflection of the unjust societal system that we have until now — the people of the ruling class uses the government, the State, and even the State’s military forces to protect and promote their interest and to preserve their top position in the social pyramid. This means Martial Law can actually happen any time when the people of the ruling class feel that the masses are at work in revolutionizing the society, that is, ang pagbaliktad ng tatsulok. At the same time, the 1972 Martial Law showed how Filipinos would sacrifice themselves for the liberation of the oppressed and of their nation.” — Kristian Jacob Abad Lora, 19, Nagkahiusang Kusog sa Estudyante

First published on Manila Bulletin, September 19 http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/374023/what-martial-law-means-today-s-youth
For our generation, the challenge is to continue protecting the freedom that was fought by our ancestors and continue the struggle towards full and genuine national democracy as the threat by the ruling classes remains until now.
NEVER AGAIN! NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW!


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Personal Note on the Mgt 186 Lab Fee Proposal

It has been made clear during the Multi-Sectoral Assembly this morning that no matter what, the Business Managemet Cluster will pursue for the P500 Management 186 Lab Fee. By simple logic, this implies that the breakdown written on the proposal is useless but was just written down for legitimacy.

This means that even there will be items removed after further deliberations, the laboratory fee will still be P500. In fact, when the cost for energy consumption was removed from the proposal as ordered by the UP System Financial Policy and Operations Committee (FPOC), the proposed fee remained P500. It is of no doubt that the cost accounting happened later than fixing the amount to P500. Clearly, this is a manifestation of the “commercialized” characteristic of the educational system in our country.

This was further manifested when, to support the proposed amount, the Admin and the proponents cited the implementation of P500 Mgt 186 Lab Fee of the College of Management in other UP units.The “pricing” of Mgt 186 Laboratory seemed to be “market-driven” — whatever the usual price of Mgt 186 Lab in the market is should also be the price of Mgt 186. If other UP units collect P500 for Mgt 186 Lab, UP Cebu should also collect the same price. But, just because other units collect P500 doesn’t mean we will also follow them. What if their objective condition is different from ours? Or what if their calculation is also wrong? This is so unbecoming of a critical-minded and scientific UPian.

On a personal note, I could remember that there was a course that I took last year (I am a Computer Science student) that has a laboratory component but I paid nothing for its laboratory because the proposal has not yet been approved. That time, my eyes were teary upon knowing such since I could save P300. I felt I was freed from a cage that I wanted to jump for joy. P300 may just be a small amount for some people but for students like me whose family is financially struggling, it did mean a lot and, still, means a lot until now, even forever.

I just want other people, especially those who are financially struggling, to have the chance to feel the what I have felt that time. This is why I never and will never stop fighting against any proposal to increase tuition and impose other fees, aside from that it is just right to fight for much lower tuition for a state university, especially for a National University such as UP while demanding for that greater budget from the government that has been robbed by the US imperialist and bureaucrat-capitalists politicians.

As a graduating student, one very precious legacy that I could leave, perhaps, is seeing to it that UP education is still accessible by the students in the lower years and even by incoming UP students. Seeing them enjoy the UP education that I have enjoyed and knowing them graduate as an Iskolar ng Bayan, specifically as a UPian, will be enough to make me happy even I have already left my UP “naming mahal”. Whatever the means to achieve it, even if it is rallying, I will do it. But, I cannot do it alone.

Disclaimer: This is my personal view; hence, it does not reflect the views and opinion of NKE and all other organizations that I am affiliated with.

 


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Congratz NKE! 2-0, for the 2nd time!

Congratulations to NKE candidates Angel Rose Trocio and France Kevin Degamo for having elected as First Year Representatives, winning the positions by landslide. For the 2nd time, NKE wins 2-0 and NKE’s victory has always been the students’ victory! Election has just ended; now is the time to UNITE to achieve our goals and to push for our rights and welfare. Iskolar ng Bayan, ipagpatuloy ang laban! SERVE THE PEOPLE! GOD BLESS! ^____________^

NKE: Tunay. Palaban. Makabayan. | 25 Years of Genuine Service to the Students and the Masses.


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The State of the UP Cebu Library Building

Seeing it abandoned and hearing that it will be demolished soon (for reconstruction) pains me a lot like gradually losing an important person in my life. It has been a witness to historic moments in my UP and College Life – my first year orientation, my speeches during election grand rallies, my defeat in SC chairperson election, my first fashion show that almost bore my fresh body, protest against UP High Closure and ouster of Dean Avila, among others. It has also been one of the few who/that tirelessly listened to my voice everytime I sang UP Naming Mahal.

Honestly, I only go to the Library when urgently needed but for those who have already considered the Library their home, for sure, they are deeply saddened more than I am.

The 30-year old building that houses UP Cebu Library, Conference Hall and Audio-Visual Room is doomed to fall when engineers discovered the cracks in its “beams and slab” or simply say, in its “foundation”. The order to vacate the building by the Office of the Vice President for Development (OVPD) was released in July 13.

Historically, it was renovated in 2008, during the year-long Centennial Celebration of UP. What I cannot fathom is that why were the cracks not noticed prior to the renovation? Was it thoroughly inspected or not for the sake of immediately carrying out the revamp plan? The money used for renovation could have been channeled to reconstruction.

Nevertheless, the miserable fate of the building boils down to the low budget given by the Philippine government. Aside from annual budget cuts on basic social services like education, for a long time, the government did not give any single peso to UP and other State Universities and Colleges in the country for their Capital Outlay budget, which is their source of fund for construction of buildings and rooms and for the purchase of facilities and equipments.

We recognize this problem, even our teachers and administrators recognize this problem and lament to it. But the problem with us is that we end up just complaining about and accepting the problem because “it’s the reality”, disregarding the fact that we have the power to address it. We are the ones who are as noisy as parrots but futile, and not those militant students whom we tag as “barbaric, noisy, and uncivilized” like the PUP students who walked out from their classrooms and successfully junked 2000% tuition increase, aside from asserting for greater state subsidy.

We now get the price of our inaction. We will get more if we continue our inaction towards the shortcomings, intentional and non-intentional, of the government. In that case, we are no longer in good position to complain when we will be ordered to vacate AS Building because of cracks in its foundations, too. GOD forbids!

PS: I only had the time today to write my sentiments about the sad fate of our library. My sentiments, however, does not reflect the views of the organizations I am affiliated with.

 

Photo courtesy of Tug-ani


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Junk MGT 186 Lab Fee!

As the academic year begins, Iskolars ng Bayan are greeted with another set of fees. The Management Cluster of the UP Cebu College has submitted a proposal, dated 18 April 2012, to institute P500-laboratory fee for the MGT 186 (Management Information Systems and Technology) which is a new course under the new Business Management Curriculum that was approved in 2009.

NKE (Nagkahiusang Kusog sa Estudyante), as a political and mass organization that has been in the forefront in protecting and promoting students’ rights and welfare, is firm in its opposition to the proposal and is calling for its junking, given the legitimate and justifiable grounds stated herein.

 

Not a Genuine Consultation

The proposal was approved by 177 out of 207 Management students consulted. However, the consultation was not genuine because the students concerned were not given ample time to study the proposal for them to have a scientific decision. In addition, some students admitted they approved the proposal because of fear.

 

Questionable Costs

Questionable costs are included in the schedules such as the construction of the laboratory room. For years, the government has not allocated even a single peso for the university’s Capital Outlay (CO), which is supposed to cover construction cost. In other words, the construction of such facility will start once the laboratory fees have been collected. However, the collection of fees is proposed to be implemented next semester or immediately after the UP Board of Regents (BOR)’ approval, which means that third year Management students taking the course next semester will be paying for a room that is non-existent.

 

Redundant Items

There are other items in the schedule that should not be shouldered by the students. Some of the scheduled items are redundant since such items receive allocation from the national budget.

For instance, the proposal includes the monthly salary of a full-time teacher who will handle the course’s laboratory. Teachers’ salaries are already covered by the Personnel Services (PS) budget of the UP’s Annual Budget allocated by the government.

In addition, the proposal includes maintenance cost (which the proposal fails to specify what are to be maintained) and the power consumption of all equipment of the laboratory. These expenses are already covered by the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) allocated by the government. In fact, this also makes our payment of P250 energy fee per semester redundant and questionable.

 

Where is the 300% TOFI?

 

In 2006, the UP Board of Regents approved then UP President Emerlinda Roman’s recommendation to increase the “tuition and other fees” by 300%. Despite the students, teachers and workers’ opposition, President Roman defended her proposal.

 

“The President said tuition is being adjusted to be able to increase stipends, increase the number of beneficiaries and to be able to improve facilities and have additional funds for MOOE. UP is not adjusting tuition only to break even or so that all of incremental income will go to stipends. Part of the incremental income should go to facilities improvement and MOOE. After all, students who will now pay more have a right to expect some improvements in the facilities” (“Matters Arising” p. 7).

 

Five years have already passed yet there has been no remarkable increase of STFAP beneficiaries despite the 300% tuition and other fees increase (TOFI). In a recent study conducted by UP Diliman school publication Philippine Collegian, “of the 3,364 STFAP applicants (UP Diliman) this semester, 2,325 also applied for student tuition loans, according to data from the Office of Student Scholarships and Services (OSSS)” (Borlaza n. p.) Meanwhile, to date, there are still facilities that have not yet been improved such as the “stiff-necked” electric fans in some of our classrooms.

 

If the “the incremental income should go to facilities improvement and MOOE”, why do Management students still have to pay for maintenance cost of MGT 186 Laboratory? Or is it just another profit-generation scheme of the University?

 

 

An Effect that Also Causes State Abandonment

 

Annually, the government is decreasing its public spending for basic social services such as education and health while spending large amount of the national budget to foreign-debt-servicing, militarization and even pork barrel. Recently, the government is lending the International Monetary Fund (where it borrows money from) $1 billion while millions of Filipinos grow hungry and poor.

 

In effect, state universities and colleges (SUCs) such as UP (which suffered from a P1.39B budget cut last 2010), are forced to find other means to generate income. Apparently, immediate means are increasing the tuition and imposing other fees such as laboratory fees to students.

 

Concurrently, increasing tuition and imposing other fees such as MGT 186 Lab Fee give more reason to the government to abandon public schools like UP. The government can now just decrease UP’s budget, while the administration willingly plays the role of profit-earners who fill the budget deficit which the government yearly imposes. This may fulfil the neo-liberal policies of the US-Aquino administration in its “Daang Matuwid”:

 

“We allocated P23.4 billion to 112 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in 2011. This is 1.7 percent lower than the P23.8 billion budget for 2010. We are gradually reducing the subsidy to SUCs to push them toward becoming self-sufficient and financially independent…” (Aquino n. p.)

 

This is contrary to the government’s Constitutional mandate that is to give the highest budget priority to education (Art. XIV, Sec. 5.5 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution).

 

 

Our Call

 

Obviously, the proposal to institute P500 fee for the MGT 186 Laboratory is flawed and questionable; thus, we are appealing to all Management students to withdraw their signatures and to the UP Cebu Academic Council to junk it. Furthermore, the proposal is said to have been patterned from the past proposals that have already been approved and implemented. Therefore, we also call for the review of all other laboratory fees instituted.

 

On the other hand, it has been made clear that mechanisms like increasing tuition and imposing other fees tolerate the government in its abandonment of UP and all other public schools that it is constitutionally bound to fund and prioritize. Hence, we call all students to oppose any proposal to increase tuition and institute laboratory fees.

 

Meanwhile, we appreciate Pres. Pascual administration’s active solidarity with the students, teachers and workers in asserting higher budget as they also recognize that the main problem is state abandonment. However, we also urge them not to entertain and approve any proposal to increase tuition and impose fees. Doing so will make our efforts futile. We cannot kill the weeds when, at the same time, our actions are watering the weeds.

 

We also call the UP administration to uphold transparency especially on the tuition increment raised by the five-year old 300%-TOFI. This is mandated by the UP Charter of 2008 (Sec. 3(h), Republic Act 9500) that stipulates:

 

“The University shall… Provide democratic governance in the University based on collegiality, representation, accountability, transparency and active participation of its constituents, and promote the holding of fora for students, faculty, research, extension and professional staff (REPS), staff, and alumni to discuss non-academic issues affecting the University.”

 

Most importantly, we call on all students, teachers, workers and administrators of all UP units to unite in preserving the public and mass-oriented character of the University of the Philippines – a National University that educates and equips students to be citizens who are highly contributory in building the nation and in liberating fellow Filipinos from oppression.

 

 

Junk the 500-Peso Mgt. 186 Lab Fee!

Uphold Transparency on the 300% TOFI!

Continue the Fight for Greater State Subsidy!

Protect UP as University of the Filipino People!

Onward to a Nationalist, Scientific and Mass-Oriented Education!

Serve The People!

 

 

 

References:

 

Aquino III, Benigno S. “2011 Budget Message of President Aquino”. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines 24 Aug. 2010: n. p. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Web. 28 Jun. 2012.

 

Borlaza, Isabella Patricia H. “2 in 3 UPD students under STFAP also apply for loans”. Philippine Collegian 17 Mar. 2012: n. p. Philippine Collegian. Web. 29 Jun. 2012.

 

Chaves, Mary Gretchen F. Letter to Ritchelita Galapate. 18 Apr. 2012.

 

“Matters Arising from the Minutes of the 1216th Meeting (15 December 2006)”. The University of the Philippines Gazette Jan-Mar 2007: 6-8. Office of the Secretary of the University and Board of Regents. Web. 28 Jun. 2012.

 

“Proposal to Institute Laboratory Fees for: MGT 186 (Management of Information Systems and Technology)”.  UP Cebu Business Management Cluster. Feb 2012.


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OJT!

PRAISE GOD! It’s OJT time for us, (UP) Komsai iBugs! I am having my training at Cebu Directories which is currently incubating at UP Cebu-DOST’s Techo Business Incubator (TBI).

Just a quick background of my OJT place — Cebu Directories is owned and co-founded by my awesome trainer Mr. Paul Villacorta in 2007. He told me during my interview that the idea of establishing Cebu (Online) Directories sprung out of his frustration in searching for places in Cebu online. When he came to Cebu, he hardly searched for places-to-go online so he decided to make an online catalog of these places. At first, it was still a WordPress blog until he decided to develop it into like an online “Yellow Page” with the help of his colleague. Since 2007, the site has been very helpful to everyone in Cebu especially to tourists.

It is indeed an honor to be working under Cebu Directories. On the technical side, the site is developed using Ruby on Rails language. This means, I am learning a new programming language and it is so cool because it makes me spend less time in coding, especially with its principle, “Test first, code later.” It is indeed perfect for rapid development.

Today is my 3rd day and I and my co-trainee are working on our first assignment which is due Sunday or Monday. Surely, there are a lot of things to do and a lot of things to learn. And so far, the greatest learning I had with our trainer is “to share, and not to be greedy of, our ideas”. GOD BLESS us all! ^^,

PS: Please visit Cebu Directories at http://cebudirectories.com/


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Statement: Acceptance of Defeat

 

“The students have already spoken. Let us now move on…and unite for our greater fights against the giants…”

 

Isang mapula’t nasyonalistang pagbati sa lahat ng mga Iskolar ng Bayan ng UP Cebu!

First of all, I would like to express my acceptance of defeat and warm congratulations to the new UP Cebu Student Council chairperson Mr. Carlo “Chao” Cabatingan, to Nagkahiusang Kusog sa Estudyante (NKE) for being the majority again in the SC, and to the NEW SC per se.

Though I have many plans for the SC and the whole student body, I have never dreamt much of being the chairperson but I would like to thank NKE, especially those who nominated and voted me to be NKE’s standard bearer during our party congress, for the trust and opportunity.

For those who cried over my loss, DO NOT MOURN because I am not that big loss to the student body. Rather, let us mourn if more youth can no longer enter UP or get a higher education because of rampant tuition increases and privatization of State U’s and Colleges. Let us mourn if millions of Filipino masses die due to injustice brought by the semi-feudal and semi-colonial system characterized by imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and feudalism. But I believe hinding-hindi ‘yan kailanman mangyayari dahil tayong mga Iskolar ng Bayan ay tunay na palaban.

For those who still hate me or will always hate me because of my vanity, because I am a spammer (on social issues) or because of whatever reason, you may be the happiest people in the world now but it’s okay. I can never please everyone as I am not that perfect. For those who supported and helped me in the campaign (also to KKK supporters), thank you very much!

This election, like any other UP Cebu elections, has brought forth division, indeed. But the students have already spoken. It is now time to heal the wounds and fix broken relationships. Let us now move on and once again, unite for our greater fights against the giants — social problems; the Colonial, Commercialized and Fascist educational system; and the unjust social system.

Let us give our full trust and support to the new chairperson, our new vice-chairperson and my partner King Anthony Perez and our new Student Council because experience-wise, hinding-hindi kayang harapin ng Konseho lamang ang mga problemang ating kinakaharap. They need us very much. Mas kailangan pa rin at mas epektibo ang ating Kolektibong Aksyon sa paglutas ng mga problemang ito. Wala nang panahon pa para magkawatak-watak bunsod ng ating mga prinsipyo’t paniniwala.

I believe it is not my calling to serve in the Council this time and that I have a greater calling outside the Council. But worry not because I will still remain as the Kristian Lora that you know. Mananatili pa rin akong Kristian na minsan niyong nakasama sa pagpropose at pag-pe-pressure sa ating administrasyon na buksan ang second gate; na minsan niyong naging boses sa mga Multi-Sectoral Assembly; na minsan niyong nakasabay sa mga tawanan, iyakan at kantahan; na minsan niyong nakasama sa pag-Defend ng UP High; at minsan niyong naging tagapagtanggol mula sa mga pang-aapi at pag-apak ng ating mga karapatan.

Moreover, expect to see me joining more rallies or even be with you in rallies if you’d like to join dahil bali-baliktarin man natin ang kasaysayan, mas marami tayong naipanalong laban sa pag-ra-rali kaysa mga diyalogo’t petisyon at iba pang diplomatikong pamamaraan lamang.

“Hangga’t may mga inhustisya at hanggang sa nagbibingi-bingian ang gubyerno sa hinaing ng taumbayan, di mawawala ang mga kilos-protesta. At hanggang sa aking makakaya’y lalahok ako sa mga kilos-protesta kahit ikamamatay ko man ito.” (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150089315644794)

I do not know yet what God has called me to do next school year but there is one thing that I am always certainI have been called to GENUINELY Serve The (His) People until my last breath.

Once again, ako si Kristian Jacob “Kristian, Kristian, Kristian” Lora, ang inyong kasama’t kaibigan. Dahil kay Kristian, tayo ay sama-sama sa bawat laban at sa marami pang kapanalunan; kailanma’y hinding-hindi kayo iiwan.

Maraming salamat! Kita-kita lang ta; naa ra gihapon ko sa palibot og daling maduolan. Padayon kita! [Follow Christ], Serve the People! GOD BLESS! #lakasngDiyos #lakasngMasa

PS: Attend na sab ta sa Victory Party sa NKE! ^^,