STUDENTS, teachers, employees, and residents of the University of the Philippines Diliman held a ‘Run for Your Rights’ today to bring attention to the State abandonment of UP under the Aquino administration, and as preparation for their participation in Monday’s “SONA ng Bayan” (SONA of the People) protest.
Participants first assembled at the College of Mass Communication and then jogged towards the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy where they held a short program in which speakers from various sectors explained the many effects of State abandonment on the University. They then jogged to the Vinzons Hall where they held a second program.
“The right to education of so many Iskolars ng Bayan have been relentlessly attacked under the Aquino administration. It has been under-funded, hit with budget cuts, and forced to adopt income-generation measures which ultimately lessen the access of many qualified youths to UP” said Krista Melgarejo, UP Student Regent and convener of the multi-sectoral alliance UP KILOS NA.
Melgarejo pointed to the perennial underfunding and successive budget cuts of UP as the root of various University policies which affect the different sectors of UP, such as students and residents.
“By constantly depriving the University of finances, the Aquino administration is forcing UP to hike its fees through STFAP” she explained, referring to system in which students are classified into different categories and many are made to pay tuition rates from P18,000 to P27,000 per semester.
The Student Regent also pointed to the impending demolition of several urban poor communities on outlying lands of the Diliman campus, something which she called a ‘precondition’ for the lease of the lands to private entities.
Melgarejo said that come Monday, hundreds of members of the UP Community will join the march to the Batasan not to listen to what she called ‘a pack of lies’ from the President, but to make Aquino listen to the demands of the University.