When silence only serves to sustain violence, dissent becomes an obligation.
The opening of a new academic term marks another year of renewed vigilance to promises of reforms and change, both by the UP administration and the Duterte regime. In the 95th year of the Philippine Collegian or Kulê, it persists to be critical of the many policies that infringe on the rights of the people. It will not falter in fulfilling this tradition.
Amid all illusions of progress, it is the duty of the Collegian as the official student publication of UP Diliman to open the eyes of its readers to the realities of the students and other marginalized and oppressed sectors in society.
For instance, while free education is a possibility set in stone by the student movement, the very economic managers of the president try to derail this victory by not including free education in the proposed budget for next year. The commercial nature of UP education more so remains, as manifested by a new land policy otherwise known as the UP Master Development plan which aims to “develop the university’s real estate assets,” at the expense of communities inside the campus.
This reflects the direction we are heading to as a nation.
Despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s rhetorics of radical change, his economic agenda have only imitated those of his predecessors. Oligarchs and foreign monetary institutions still rule the economy by controlling massive infrastructure projects through the government’s Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). Moguls like Ayalas, Cojuangcos, and Pangilinan reign supreme over 10 of 15 PPP projects, comprising P275 billion or 88.6 percent of the total PPP cost, according to think-tank IBON.
But why would the state be bothered by inequality bred by the elite’s rule when it can easily kill the poor? No less than the state terrorizes its own people. It labels its enemies one by one — the poor, the communists, the Lumad — in order to feed its narrative of violence.
And while there may be conscious efforts from the state to silence its critics, the Collegian continues in expressing dissent without reluctance. It will keep on telling the narratives of families left longing for justice by the war on drugs. Its illustrations will reveal the plight of peasants and indigenous peoples displaced from their lands due to heightened militarization, especially with the extended Martial Law in Mindanao.
Its pages will expose the role of the United States in the government’s affairs including the Marawi crisis where military aerial bombings have already left more than 265,000 civilians homeless.
No administrative grip on its operation, as it has experienced in the past, will hinder the Collegian from fulfilling this mandate to the people. It counts on the capacity and spirit of the Iskolar ng Bayan to be able to continue the tradition of critical and fearless journalism.
But stagnation is not an option for the publication. As years go by, the Collegian will continue strengthening and maximizing its reach online where truth is being drowned out by the rise of fake news and blatant misuse of statistics. But there shall be no illusion: neither print nor social media can take over the role of the streets as a greater avenue for discourse and defiance.
More crises are yet to unfold in the coming days. It is imperative for the publication to stay on guard of every issue and policy that will steer the course of the people’s decisive and collective action. The Collegian takes the obligation to dissent.
Short URL: http://www.philippinecollegian.org/?p=12175