I'm a college freshman, a newcomer. I've been here at PUP less than six months. Yet, even before I entered the university, I already had an idea what the school was like. I already had this image of it in my mind.
That's because PUP has always been in the news -- on television and radio, in the newspapers. The school is a hotbed of student activism. PUP students are very outspoken when it comes to issues affecting students and poor people. They are at the forefront of protest marches and rallies.
For example, just before the present school year opened, PUP militants staged a riotous demonstration, protesting a proposed increase in tuition . This was all over the six o'clock news on TV. To show their extreme disgust, they threw the broken-down chairs from their classrooms and burned these at the center of the campus.
Was that action of the militants good or bad? I have mixed feelings about it.
On one hand, protest actions disrupt normal classroom lessons; there are no classes when militants make noise outside. But, on the other hand, they sometimes bring about good results. For example, that chair-burning incident made the government back down from increasing the tuition. So now, thanks to the militants, we PUP students are still paying the old affordable 12 pesos per unit.
Today, PUP is marking its 106th year. It's been more than a century from its start as a specialized school -- the Philippine College of Commerce -- to its present status as a university. There are pluses and minuses to show.
On the plus side, PUP can be proud of the graduates it has turned out over the years -- the leaders and thinkers, the professionals and businessmen, the thousands of PUP alumni who have become assets to our country.
On the minus side, we see how old and neglected PUP has become. Its classrooms are without proper ventilation. Its facilities are broken down and inadequate. School equipment is either lacking or too old to be of much use...