by CLARIZA CASSANDRA CONCORDIA
Hundreds of UPLB students walked out from their classes on the 13th of November 2015 to condemn the commercialization of education and the implementation of repressive student policies.
In a statement by the University Student Council, it was agreed upon in the 1st General Assembly of the Rise for Education that the protest action is in opposition to the commercialization of UP, as manifested in the faulty implementation of eUP and the Student Academic Information System (SAIS). Moreover, this is to further the students’ calls for a student-crafted Organization Registration guidelines, and their resistance against the impending P2.2 billion budget cut along with continuous tuition and other fees increase.
Bearing their calls, the students held a snake rally where they visited colleges and some university offices. Meanwhile, the organizers of the mobilization received reports that some classrooms were locked to prevent students from joining the walkout.
At noon, the students went to the Student Union Building to voice out their calls for a pro-student Org Registration Guidelines. According to Yvann Zuniga, USC Vice Chairperson, the Office of the Student Affairs have been delaying the dialogue with the studentry regarding their calls for a democratic organization policies. “Sa tatlong taon na pakikipag-usap natin sa OSA, tayo ay laging dinedelay… Karapatan natin na malayang makapag-organisa sa loob ng pamantasan,” said Zuniga.
Later on, a short program was held at the SU Amphitheatre, where student leaders held a discussion on the UP education situation.
At around 4 PM, the snake rally ended at the Humanities building where the main program of the mobilization was held. Student leaders and organizations gave their solidarity messages.
“UP has relatively the highest tuition fee of all the SUCs [state universities and colleges] in the ASEAN countries, so nakakaalarma ito,” said USC Chairperson Gem Celestial.
“Sana hindi nagtatapos sa walkout na ito ang engagement natin sa pakikibaka sa pagsulong ng karapatan at pakikipaglaban para sa interes ng mga estudyante. And rest assured that the University Student Council ay hindi lamang nakikiisa, kundi patuloy na mangunguna sa pagsulong mga interest at pakikipaglaban ng mga estudyante,” added Celestial.
The mobilization ended with the symbolic burning of the banner of grievances of the students, and the singing of UP Naming Mahal. [P]