Are the rabid ‘Makibaka’ days of the ‘70s back on our campuses today? By RACHEL C. BARAWID
April 21, 2010, 12:37pm
Many in the academic community condemn the violent protests that took place recently at their campuses and at the CHED office but student activists justify their acts as a last resort to air their grievances. Chair burning. Paint throwing. Effigies set on fire. Slogan screaming. Unadulterated violence. No, these are not scenes created by adult dissidents, but by radical Filipino students of today. Last month, people witnessed violent on-campus protests that led to the destruction of property at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and the paint bombing of University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco at UP Diliman. The gates of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) office were also destroyed by uncontrollably outraged students. Surprised at such a show of hatred and aggression, many thought that student activists have totally gone out of control. But the League of Filipino Students (LFS), one of the largest student activist organizations in the country, looks at these forms of protest not as a knee-jerk reaction to issues, but as a result of a series of rejections for dialogue with the concerned parties. THE BURNING ISSUE IN PUP
At PUP, the throwing of chairs and tables from the fifth and sixth floor of a building and their subsequent burning last March 19 stemmed from the proposed tuition fee increase from P12 to P200 per unit for freshmen taking laboratory-intensive courses such as Engineering and Architecture. Damages to school property allegedly amounted to half a million pesos. Five students involved in the incident were detained but were freed later on. LFS chair Terry Ridon downplayed that cost, saying that they burned chairs that were considered scraps already. “The students are not that stupid to burn chairs that are still usable, alam naman nila yung plight ng PUP...