Students set rallies against ‘campus repression’

Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) President Emmanuel De Guzman is clutching at straws, resorting to lies and Duterte-style doublespeak to cover up the systematic and coordinated blitzkrieg attack on student rights in the nation’s biggest state university.

1) De Guzman claimed they did not remove student regent Karl Paulie Anareta but immediately contradicted himself by saying Anareta has been “disqualified” for not being enrolled in the university, and confirmed that they indeed appointed a new regent.

He conveniently airbrushed the fact that they cannot disqualify the student regent on the basis of enrollment or non-enrollment. Only the Anak-PUP is mandated to select or replace the regent and its rules only requires that the nominee is enrolled at the time of election. This is precisely to prevent arbitrary removal or disqualification by the administration in the event the selected regent graduates, fails to enroll or is refused enrollment for some reason.

He claims a new student regent was “elected,” but at the same time assailed Anak-PUP for refusing to call for a congress. So if Anak-PUP did not call for a congress, who elected the new regent?

In fact, Anak-PUP has called for a congress on Sept 30-October 1, which the administration has refused to recognize and fund. Instead, it called on the student council to hurriedly convene an administration-funded congress on Sept 23-24, releasing their invitations to select councils only on Sept 19. Several student councils have boycotted and have walked out of the said assembly in protest.

The bogus assembly presided by a non-student proceeded to elect Elijah San Fernando, despite the fact that he is not qualified to be elected as regent because he is not a duly-elected president of any student council.

Proof of the devious administration scheme: even before being “elected,” the appointed student regent, was already invited to attend various committee meetings. As if following a script, the day after the “election,” the Board of Regents evicted Anareta from the regent’s meeting venue and immediately installed a bogus, administration-appointed student regent blatantly violating student democratic rights.

2) De Guzman reveals himself to be a compulsive liar when he claimed that they did not padlock nor evict students from their offices, and then proceeded to say that they indeed padlocked the Gabriela Hall as student leaders joined the Martial Law rally on September 21. How timely and symbolic!

Acting like thugs, guards and university police have guarded the offices, prohibited entry, harassed, threatened and bullied student leaders, especially those who tried to reclaim their offices.

3) De Guzman, a former campus journalist, issued a ridiculous statement to defend the formation of a Student Publication Office (SPO) which, as he claimed will control the selection of “more qualified writers” and ensure the “usual well-rounded content of a typical campus paper.”

He should know that it is not the administration’s job to make poetry, “investigative pieces” and ensure the “essence of the paper.” The administration’s job is not to interfere, respect the independence of the publication, respect the editorial prerogative of the students and stop trying to turn it into an administration mouthpiece.

4) De Guzman claims he made uniforms “voluntary.” As he spews this lie, senior high school students were barred school entry for not wearing the required uniform. These mandatory uniforms are sold at P600-800 per set.

Despite the free tuition policy, De Guzman continues to collect P12/unit tuition from freshmen and transferees. Transferees from STI were charged as high as P8,000 for tuition during the enrolment period to supposedly equal the tuition at STI.

De Guzman has re-imposed the P120 shifting fee which have been junked previously because of strong student protests. He has also continued the collection of the Student Development Fund and other fees and charged fees for organizations using facilities.

5) We ask President De Guzman to join the students and the people in the fight against the US-Duterte regime’s fascism and tyranny. As a former activist and a progressive ally, we call on him to stand for democratic rights and resist Malacanang orders to implement repressive acts against the Iskolars ng Bayan.

We are calling on the Iskolars ng Bayan, faculty, administrators, workers, students and youths from other universities to hold protest actions in PUP campuses on Sept 29 and October 6. Let us defend democratic rights, link arms in solidarity and protest.


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