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Progressives protest, House approves death penalty bill

THE government must focus on ending poverty and its roots instead of killing the poor, progressive groups said at a rally at the House of Representatives yesterday said.

The protesters, led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, marched to last March 7 in protest of House Bill 4727 that seeks to re-impose death as punishment for drug-related crimes.

The Lower House nonetheless approved the bill on its third and final reading last night, with 216 congressmen voting in favor, 54 against and one abstaining. Read more

No change under Duterte–workers

MILITANT workers celebrated “true Filipino heroes who follow in the footsteps of Andres Bonifacio” with a protest rally on the occasion of the national hero’s 153rd birth anniversary yesterday.

Thousands of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) unionists and their supporters marched from Welcome Rotunda in Quezon City to Mendiola Bridge in Manila to demand that President Rodrigo Duterte implement changes he promised workers during the election period earlier this year. Read more

UP students slam ‘repressive’ enrollment policies

YOUTH activist groups protested at the University of the Philippines (UP) yesterday to condemn its administration for imposing “repressive” policies that force students to undergo “very difficult” enrollment procedures.

Students of the national university slammed what they call an enrollment fiasco brought by the “failure” of the new online registration systems launched by UP’s Alfredo Pascual administeation.

Glitches marred the supposedly “easier” registration, forcing hundreds of students to camp out last Saturday night, July 30, at UP’s Los Baños campus to enlist in subjects.

UP’s “No Late Payment” policy, the failure of the eUP and the Student Academic Information System (SAIS) projects, and the Socialized Tuition System are brought by the increasing commercialization of education in the university, UP Student Regent Raoul Manuel said.

“Nakikita natin na itong pagpapabaya ng UP admin, ang kanilang pag-prioritize sa kita ay nag-ta-translate sa maraming problema para sa mga estudyante,” Manuel said.

SAIS is part of the P752-million eUP project, the flagship program of the university administration.

In partnership with the US-made database computer software Oracle, the Pascual administration said the project aims to integrate all the information and communication systems across all UP constituent units.

SAIS has been rolled out in the Los Baños, Manila and Baguio campuses, while its implementation in other units is still pending.

Manuel questioned the “dubious” cost of implementing such systems that may give rise to budget misappropriations.

“Paraan ito ng pag-privatize ng mga basic student services at isang paraan ng korapsyon sa administrasyon,” Manuel said.

“Parang wala nang pinagkaiba ang UP na dating nanawagan laban sa pork barrel ng national government dahil sa ganito ka-grande na proyekto na hindi naman para sa interes ng mga estudyante at mga sektor ng UP community,” he said.

No late payment

Enrolment in UP Diliman also saw long lines and frayed nerves as hallways near enrollment centers are choked with long lines of students clutching forms, hoping for slots in classes.

“Dalawang araw palang ang enrollment, pero ang dami nang problema ng mga estudyante,” USC Councilor and Basic Student Services Head Donn Bernal said.

Bernal said the revived “No Late Payment” policy imposed an August 5 deadline, the last day of registration, for students to pay matriculation fees.

Students who cannot pay are forced to avail of the university’s student loan program instead.

UP suspended the policy in 2013 following the death of UP Manila student Kristel Tejada who committed suicide after her failure to pay enrollment fees.

Bernal urged the administration to resolve the lack of class slots that forces students to camp out as early as 6 PM of the preceding night for class slots.

On August 2, a dialogue between UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan and representatives from the UP Diliman USC discussed the possibility of junking the policy.

The dialogue resolved that students may pay beyond the deadline as long as they submit a letter to the Chancellor signed by their respective college secretaries.

“STS: Socialized Tuition Scam”

UPD USC Chairperson Bryle Leaño reiterated their demand to junk the Socialized Tuition System (STS) being implemented in UP and various state universities.

“Nailatag na natin sa matagal na panahon na itong STS ay pagkamal ng kita mula sa mga iskolar ng bayan,” Leaño said.

He explained that the P400 million profit from the “Socialized Tuition Scam” is kept as part of UP’s so-called revolving fund instead of being used for better student services.

Josiah Hiponia, Chairperson of the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND UP), said that the revolving fund is also used to fund more commercialization schemes of the university administration.

“Ang kinukuha nilang kita sa atin ay pinapagpagawa ng mga pasilidad na mas humu-huthot pa ng kita sa mga estudyante,” he said.

Hiponia cited the newly-built Acacia Dormitory that was constructed from the revolving fund.

Instead of providing inexpensive and sufficient student housing, UP charges P3,000 per month to students exclusive of electricity and other charges, she said.

Bigger picture

Anakbayan, for its part, said that the education commercialization and deregulation policies are reflections of the rampant commercialization of basic social services in the country.

“May dalawang layunin ang pag-privatize ng basic social services sa bansa. Una, ay abandunahin ang serbisyo para sa mamamayan gaya ng edukasyon ng mga kabataan at, pangalawa, ay ang pagkamal ng kita para sa mga sariling kapakinabangan,” Kenji Muramatsu of Anakbayan UPD said.

Leaño urged students to “stay strong” and join the upcoming series of protests.

“Huwag nating sukuan ang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas. Huwag nating sukuan ang Unibersidad ng Bayan. This is UP, this is our university, kaya naman sama-sama tayong kikilos at sama-sama tayong magtatagumpay,” Leaño said. (Report and photo by Mikhaela Dimpas of UP CMC for Kodao Productions)

Human rights raps in the Philippines

Human Rights Day 2015 in the Philippines with street protests on violations under a neocolonial regime. Speakers include torture victim Fr. Ben Alforque and KARAPATAN secretary-general Tinay Palabay. The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) also demanded the release of Palestinian leader Khalida Jarrar and all political prisoners.

REPOST: BALSA National Relief Caravan for Samar and Leyte (with English subtitles)

Makabayan endorses Poe-Chiz tandem

Led by its candidate for the Senate Rep. Neri Colmenares, the Makabayan bloc formally endorsed Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero as
their presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively, in the coming 2016 national elections.

The endorsement came after the ongoing Makabayan National Council meeting decided on Poe and Escudero as their official bets.

Here are excerpts of the official announcement at the Quezon City
Sports Club last November 5.

P1NAS: Hands off Philippines, independence day twin rally

A twin rally was held last June 12, 2015, independence day in front of China embassy at Makati City and US embassy at Manila, to calls on the Filipino people to stand in defense of national sovereignty and territorial integrity against the foreign powers that seek to tear the Philippines apart.

Chinese Consulate to US Embassy
June 12, 2015

LARAWAN: Defend Philippine Sovereignty

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Chinese Consulate to US Embassy
June 12, 2015

Organizations and personalities launch alliance for sovereignty


In light of Chinese incursions into Philippine territory and proposals from the Aquino government that US military bases should again be allowed in the Philippines, various organizations and personalities formed and launched an alliance to defend Philippine sovereignty at the National Press Club this morning.

This video shows Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares explaining the basis and objectives of P1NAS – Pilipinong Nagkakaisa para sa Soberanya (People’s Unity for National Sovereignty).

He is joined by former Senators Rene Saguisag, Leticia Ramos Shahani, and Victor Ziga. Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila College of Law Dean Ernesto Maceda Jr represented his father, former Senator Ernesto Maceda who, like Senators Saguisag and Ziga were part of the so-called Magnificent 12 who voted against the extension of the US Military Bases Agreement in 1991.

Organizations present in the launch included Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Pamalakaya, Migrante International, the National Union of Students of the Philippines, the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines, the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, and others.

Artists Bibeth Orteza, Mae Panel, and Heber Bartolome were also present.

Groups hold protest at Chinese consulate in Manila

more news at www.bayan.ph

Chinese Embassy, Makati City
June 4, 2015