STOP THE FASCIST BARBARIANS FROM INVADING OUR CAMPUSES AND COMMUNITIES! DEFEND THE PUBLIC USE OF REASON AGAINST DESPOTISM! Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy University of the Philippines Diliman on the Alleged “Red October Plot” that Implicates UP and Other Schools to the Communist Plot to Oust President Duterte 7 October 2018
The members of CONTEND condemn the blatant witch hunting of the PNP/AFP by red-tagging schools as active sites for recruiting NPAs (New People’s Army) for the so-called “Red October”, a plot to oust President Duterte. Without any solid evidence to back their allegations, without even an iota of philosophical argument to support their anti-communist scare, the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) is directly defaming schools, demonizing students and teachers who are allegedly supporting the communist-led plot to oust Duterte this October.
The anti-communist mania of the AFP is instigated by the tyrannical whims of President Duterte to justify his intensifying crackdown against Leftists, activists, and human rights advocates and all vocal critics of the government. Shocked and rattled by the growing collective criticisms from both Left and non-Left, even from the rants of ordinary people, the US-Duterte administration is frenziedly looking for a scapegoat to explain away its incompetence in solving the runaway inflation, to contain the embarrassing blunders of Mocha and other Duterte apologists, to save itself from anti- Marcos protests, to save face from the epic failure of the drug war, to conceal the half-hearted attitude of people towards federalism and constitutional change, and to defend itself from the flak it drew from denigrating women.
The US-Duterte administration is desperate to quell and quash the mounting opposition from our restive people. The International People’s Tribunal has judged Duterte guilty of massive human rights violations. He has a case at the ICC (International Criminal Court). His popularity is zig-zagging in every public opinion survey as his policies and pronouncements betray his tyrannical predispositions. The AFP is now tasked to shield Duterte from all threats, both real and imagined, through its preemptive tactics to “neutralize” all impending collective protests, rallies and strikes. Martial law is knocking already on the gates of our freedom-loving nation.
As educators and educational workers, we will not be frightened and dissuaded by these brutal schemes, once used by the Marcos regime, and now being employed by the fascist rule of Duterte against teachers and students. As educators we condemn this fascist crackdown on our legitimate students’ and teachers’ organizations. We will continuously support our students and our fellow educators who will expose the anti-people’s policies of this government as we exercise our critical thinking and academic freedom. We will defend our students and fellow teachers in organizing and joining legitimate people’s organizations to resist any move that will impose martial rule on our people.
We will not cower in the face of this fascist threat that will emasculate our rights and duties as teachers. Now, more than ever, we are challenged to educate our students to throw off the chains of immaturity of their reason. We will carry on our duty to debunk fake news generated by the ideological apparatuses of the state and combat the red scare tactics being employed by the repressive arms of the state against our schools. We are paid by people’s taxes and money precisely to carry out the duty to exercise our public reason free from authoritarian machination.
The fascist barbarians are knocking at the gates of our academic institutions. As teachers and educational workers, let us unite to resist the invasion of our academic grounds by the fascist arms of the state. Let us keep our schools safe for cultivating the freest exercise of public reason against authoritarian rule. This intimidation perpetrated by the armed agents of the fascist state will not deter us from defending our rights to peaceful assembly, free speech, and the right to collectively criticize political ideas and social currents that stifle our freedom to criticize all forms despotism both inside and outside our schools!
WAG MATAKOT! MAKIBAKA!
DOWN WITH FASCISM!
STOP RED TAGGING SCHOOLS!
AFP/PNP HANDS OFF OUR SCHOOLS!
NO TO MILITARIZATION OF SCHOOLS!
NO TO CRACKDOWN AGAINST LEFTIST ORGANIZATIONS!
DEFEND ACADEMIC FREEDOM AGAINST FASCIST ATTACKS!
STOP DEMONIZING LEGITIMATE PEOPLE’S ORGANIZATIONS!
TO ORGANIZE AND TO MOBILIZE ARE RIGHTS OF TEACHERS AND EDUCATIONAL WORKERS! LET US JOIN OUR TEACHERS AS THEY FIGHT AGAINST NEOLIBERAL REFORMS TO CREATE A BETTER WORLD FOR OUR CHILDREN Statement of All UP Workers’ Alliance, Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism, Democracy, Alliance of Contractual Employees of the University of the Philippines Diliman, and Save Our Schools UP on the Celebration of World Teachers’ Day 5 October 2018
The All UP Workers’ Alliance, the Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy, and the Alliance of Contractual Employees of UP Diliman salute and greet all teachers today, especially Filipino teachers, for their unwavering commitment to educate and care for our young people. Without teachers our nation will be a place of illiterate and philistine citizens. Yet our government does not even recognize the emotional labor and sacrifices of our teachers. Today with the savagery of neoliberal reforms that make public schools accountable for each cent invested on education, our teachers are saddled with herculean tasks that rob them of their time to explore and train to be better teachers. They are tasked to carry out multiple roles to cope with the less personnel and dwindling budget for hiring additional qualified personnel.
According to ACT Partylist, the budget for the Department of Education will slashed by 9.94%, while the Commission on Higher Education will have 0.18% cut. The budget of DepEd proposed P116 billion for the construction of school buildings but the DBM only approved P10.2 billion. This budget for construction of school buildings is 83.29% less than the budget in 2018. DepEd also proposed 5,487 additional positions for non-teaching personnel but DBM only approved 455 positions. Items under Learning Tools and Equipment and Textbooks and other instructional materials were also slashed by P3.68 billion and P1.19 billion respectively. The budget of State Universities and Colleges will also be slashed by 55.15% in Capital Outlay while the Commission on Higher Education will have budget cuts in their different scholarship programs. The Higher Education Development Fund will be slashed by 15.5%, Scholarship Grant for Dependents of Sugar Industry Workers will be cut by 17%, the K to 12 transition program will be slashed by 16.33% and the CHED Grants to Medical students will not be funded in the proposed 2019 budget.
This neoliberal policy to cut government spending and allow more private schools to invest in education is fundamentally taking a toll on public teachers who have to assume multiple tasks and roles in order to carry out their duties. While they grapple with the problem of dwindling budget, teachers also have to face gigantic loans as they cope with inflation and rising cost of living.
Faced with these perennial problems, some teachers suffer physical exhaustion while others endure psychological breakdown from pressures both inside and outside of the schools, and in extreme cases, some choose to end their lives.
Teaching is a noble profession. But our government merely pays lips service to this truism. Today however in the face of drastically reorienting our educational system in the image of free market and entrepreneurial education, managerial control of schools, contractualization of educational labor, churning out customers out students, our society has overburdened our teachers and robbed them of their self-worth. Teachers have long been clamoring for higher salaries for government employees, with the record high inflation (at 6.4 % in September), their salaries can no longer keep up with the daily expenses. Instead of worrying about their school plans and projects, teachers have also to worry about their daily economic expenses.
So, today we proudly join our fellow teachers as they march to the streets to protest this escalating dehumanization. Teachers are not just public servants. They are also public intellectuals. To organize and to mobilize to demand for their rights and dignity are part of being a teacher. One cannot teach with dignity in a situation that debases the humanity of teachers. Teachers and educational workers cannot simply relinquish their voices to institutions that are supposed to protect their rights because these institutions have already been co-opted by the system. They need to organize collectively to have stronger bargaining power. They need to be heard. It is their right to collectively defend themselves against a system that constantly thump their rights and quash their voices in the name of professionalism. How can the system demand professionalism and political neutrality when the system puts the teachers in a very immoral and demeaning situation that are politically generated?
To regain control of our lives as educators and educational workers, to become better public servants and teachers, we have to stand and oppose the further erosion of our condition as educators. We cannot just rely on legislation and charitable gratis from the government and political patrons. Teachers and educational workers must regain and assert their voices in the face of the powers that-be!
So if you are reading this statement, thank a teacher by joining them in their struggle for a better teaching condition and a future free from neoliberal menace.
STRUGGLE FOR SCIENTIFIC, NATIONALIST MASS-BASED EDUCATION!
DOWN WITH NEOLIBERAL REFORM OF EDUCATION!
UPGRADE TEACHERS’ SALARY NOW! P25, 000 FOR TEACHER 1!
OPPOSE BUDGET CUTS ON EDUCATION!
NO TO COMMERCIALIZATION, NO TO PRIVATIZATION OF EDUCATION!
MEMORY IS THE WEAPON OF THE WEAK; FORGETTING SERVES THE INTERESTS OF THE MIGHTY! Militantly Resist The Marcoses’ Return To Power, Oppose Duterte-Style Dictatorship! Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy University of the Philippines Diliman on the 46th Commemoration of the Declaration of Martial Law 21 September 2018
The members of CONTEND join today our people—especially the victims and survivors of martial law under the Marcos dictatorship, and their families—in remembering the darkest period of our nation’s history. As teachers, we believe that those who control the memory of the past control our present and future. Thus, history can never be left solely to politicians, whether they are democratic or authoritarian. History is not the property of a political doctrine or the regime it serves. History is the people’s symbolic control of how we remember those who have been silenced. The Marcoses and their allies, including the Dutertes, can manipulate and distort history. But they cannot eliminate it in the narratives of those who survived.
As teachers, it is our solemn duty and responsibility to teach and keep alive these memories by sharing them with the younger generations, thereby resisting social amnesia. We have to teach against the willful forgetting that the Marcoses and their apologists want our people to do.
The Marcos family tells its victims and survivors to “move on.” Our protest and collective ritual of remembering today is our shared symbolic act, part of fighting this barbarism of the Marcoses, who want to create a community not of remembrance, but of organized, systematic, and deliberate forgetting.
As educators, we teach history so that memory becomes a tool of the small and weak. Forgetting serves the interests of the big and mighty. In this way, memory manifests itself as an alternative moral imagination in opposition to the logic of power. We therefore solemnly pledge to continuously teach history without revisions, without erasures. This is the only way we can honor the heroism and sacrifices of the 72 heroes and martyrs of our University, and the countless others who suffered under the Marcos dictatorship.
Recently, the Marcoses slyly attempted to seize the narrative by holding the reunion of the Kabataang Barangay (KB) on the very grounds of our University, on August 25, 2018 at Bahay ng Alumni. Our students, faculty, and alumni did not waste time in collectively denouncing this travesty upon the revered values and militant anti-fascist tradition of our University. Upon the impassioned instigations of faculty, students, and alumni, UP formally declared September 21 as a day of remembering of martial law on September 17, 2018. Our president, who participated in that infamous reunion, was compelled to apologize publicly and proclaim that UP will never be a home for dictators and fascist leaders and an instrument for oppressive regimes.
This shows that even when dictators are defeated, their totalitarian specter still haunts us. As a community, we must always be vigilant and guard against the encroachment of dictators, would-be dictators, and fascists who will use our University as their conduit and bribe our officials to advance their sinister interests. The unholy alliance of Duterte with the Marcoses, and the empowerment of the heinous former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, wholly underscore this administration’s tyranny.
We urge our fellow teachers, with their classes and students, to join our people in the collective struggle against forgetting, revisions, and historical erasures. Let us teach our students to steadfastly oppose all forms of dictatorship, especially the current administration that has violated human rights, persecuted the critics of the government, imposed martial law in Mindanao, threatened to bomb Lumad schools, reinstated and enabled the most sinister figures in our history, threatened to expel our militant students, and willfully manipulated our laws and legal institutions to impose its power against the will of the people. Let us demand this of those who keep saying that we should “move on”: Address first the question of social justice. There can never be forgiveness and reconciliation if the agents of the Marcos dictatorship continue to deny their guilt and actively suppress the continuing legacy of the people’s resistance.
We must teach our students to join national democratic organizations to expose and resist the attempt of the Duterte administration to whitewash the crimes committed by the Marcoses in the name of patronage politics. Let us join all our patriotic people and progressive organizations as we shout:
NO REVISIONS! NO ERASURES!
NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW!
NO TO THE RETURN OF THE MARCOSES TO POWER!
DOWN WITH STATE FASCISM!
JUSTICE TO ALL THE VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!
END MARTIAL LAW IN MINDANAO NOW!
ACADEMIC FREEDOM IS EXERCISED COLLECTIVELY TO THE HIGHEST DEGREE WHEN ACADEMICS REFUSE TO HONOR MARCOS, ALL DICTATORS AND TYRANTS Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy on the Reunion of Kabataang Barangay at Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman August 28, 2018
We, CONTEND members, express our disgust and rage over UP’s hosting of the Kabataang Barangay (KB) reunion at the Bahay ng Alumni on August 25, 2018. The event celebrated the infamous Kabataang Barangay’s founding in 1975 by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. His daughter, Imee Marcos, and scores of Marcos loyalists dared to hold their revelry in UP, one of the bastions of the anti-Marcos resistance. We, faculty and workers of the national University, condemn this treacherous move of the Marcoses and their allies.
We will never forget the heroism of our students and faculty who struggled against the Marcos dictatorship, especially during the First Quarter Storm and Diliman Commune. Our University had always stood against all tyrannies and oppressive regimes that terrorize our people.
The KB was used by the Marcoses to create a semblance of democracy under martial rule, co-opting the youth to provide legitimacy to the Marcos reign of terror. The reunion of the KB and Marcoses is antithetical to the radical and militant tradition of the University, and an affront to Marcos’s victims, many of whom have ties to UP.
This encroachment into UP is part of the strategy of the Marcoses to erase the memory of the Marcos dictatorship and atrocities, and pave the way for the return of the Marcoses to power. The Marcoses impudently chose UP as the venue for drumbeating their historical revisionism, synchronized with the ongoing formation of political alliances between the Marcoses, Sara Duterte’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago, and other opportunistic political parties run by the plutocrats. Staging KB’s reunion in UP is an audacious act that attempts to nullify UP’s unwavering militant opposition to the Marcoses.
As faculty and workers of the University, we should never tolerate such a disgusting act on our academic grounds. We should never allow our University to be a conduit, wittingly or unwittingly, for promoting historical amnesia and advancing political treachery. The Marcoses’ return to power will be UP’s greatest tragedy if the UP community does not unite to resist it with all our might.
Thus, we urge our fellow teachers and educational workers to be vigilant and oppose all the attempts of the Marcoses to dupe our people, especially our students and youth, inside and outside the University. We must uphold our academic freedom to the highest degree by refusing to be bribed or bought by promises of political gain from the Marcoses and their ilk—the same method the Marcos regime used to corrupt government and society. At a time when Imee Marcos exhorts the people to “move on” from the Marcoses’ unpunished crimes, we must amplify our voices to expose the deceit that is setting into motion the establishment of new chapters of tyranny.
Our academic freedom is exercised collectively when we refuse to honor dictators and when we denounce categorically all tyrannical regimes and rulers. Academic freedom does not mean anything-goes relativism that tolerates all ideas and practices, and treats anti-freedom perspectives as acceptable. We must use our experience and insights as scholars to expose ideas that threaten to terrorize our people. We must continue the fight waged by our historical martyrs to realize the just society our people deserves.
NEVER AGAIN TO DICTATORS!
NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW!
MARCOS IS NO HERO!
OPPOSE HISTORICAL REVISIONISM!
JUSTICE TO ALL THE VICTIMS OF MARTIAL LAW!
DOWN WITH STATE FASCISM!
CONDEMN VEHEMENTLY THE VIOLENT DISPERSAL OF NUTRIASIA WORKERS AND THEIR SUPPORTERS! FREE IMMEDIATELY ALL DETAINED STUDENTS, WORKERS AND THEIR SUPPORTERS! Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy University of the Philippines, Diliman on the Violent Dispersal of Workers and their Supporters at NutriAsia, Bulacan 30 July 2018
We, the members of CONTEND UP, express our strongest condemnation of the violent dispersal of the workers and their supporters at NutriaAsia, Bulacan on July 31, 2018. After an ecumenical mass, the workers and their supporters, led by Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng NutriAsia, Inc., were violently dispersed by the Marilao police and the security forces of NutriAsia. The workers, who are on strike since June 4, are demanding regularization and better working condition. But they were meted out with brutal dispersal by the combined forces of the police and security forces of NutriAsia using truncheons that resulted to the arrest of 19 workers and their supporters, including University of the Philippines Diliman students, Jon Bonifacio, MBB major, outgoing College of Science Council Publicity Officer, and Psalty Caluza, incoming 4th year Journalism student.
As teachers and workers at the University of the Philippines, we stand firmly with our students, Jon Bonifacio and Psalty Caluza, as they supported the just demands of the NutriAsia workers. Some of us had already went to the picket of NutriaAsia to listen to the real stories of the workers that are often silenced, if not muffled, in dominant media news and reports. We invited some striking workers to share their repulsive experiences with NutriaAsia with our students and UP workers. In these dialogues, our students expressed disgust against the management of NutriAsia while sympathizing with the workers’ struggle.
As the national University that upholds social justice and respect for human rights, it is only expected of our students, workers and teachers to immerse themselves with the workers as part of their continuing education. Immersing in the lives of the marginalized sectors of our society, especially the workers, has been part of the radical tradition of our University. These are opportunities to broaden learning, to try out new ideas, and to do engaged and participatory research. As educators we value the wisdom of the past and present activists educated by our University that education does not only consist in the formal settings of the classrooms. Education also includes real and passionate engagement with the lives of our fellow poor Filipinos who are excluded from social progress and economic growth.
We are therefore alarmed when the police and security forces of NutriaAsia falsely indicted our students of possessing fire arms and drugs so that they could arrest and detain them. These sickening schemes of the police, which they perfected against poor criminals in the notorious Operation Tokhang, should be exposed and denounced. We demand the immediate release of our students and all other individuals arrested and detained including Einstein Recedes, Anakbayan Secretary General and Mark Quinto of the League of Filipino Students. They should be treated humanely and should be given speedy proper medical attention.
We call on our fellow teachers and educational workers to stand with our students who are now victims of chilling state repression. The violent dispersal at NutriAsia today is just a symptom of the failure of the US-Duterte regime to end contractual labor and uplift the worsening condition our workers. If we truly stand for social justice and human rights, then, it is our duty as educators to support striking workers. We do not teach our students to become docile workers in the future who will simply allow their basic rights to be violated. We cannot provide transformative education if the future of our students is compromised by cheap contractual labor and rampant violations of workers’ rights. This is not the future we wish for our graduates.
Release the UP students Jon Bonifacio and Psalty Caluza now!
Hold the police and the security forces of NutriAsia accountable for the violent dispersal of the workers and their supporters!
Denounce state fascism!
End contractualization now!
Iskolar ng bayan, maglingkod sa bayan!
FELLOW TEACHERS, LET US RISE UP AND JOIN OUR PATRIOTIC PEOPLE AND PROGRESSIVE ORGANIZATIONS TO EXPOSE AND DENOUNCE THE LIES AND DECEIT IN PRESIDENT DUTERTE’S 3RD STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy-University of the Philippines on the 3rd SONA of President Duterte 23 July 2018
The members of CONTEND UP today join our patriotic people and all progressive sectors of our society as we swarm the streets of Commonwealth Avenue to stage the historic United People’s SONA that will expose the deceit and lies in Pres. Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA). After two years in power, the US-China Duterte regime has already revealed its beastly nature. Against the trumpeting of a 6.8-percent growth rate of our economy for the first quarter of 2018 by Duterte’s economic doctors, we face the harsh reality: our inflation rate was 5.2 percent in May 2018. The “amazing” growth rate of our economy hides the fact that the stagnant wage of our workers remains too meager to cope with rising costs of living triggered by peso depreciation, the anti-poor TRAIN law, and the fluctuation of crude oil in world market. More horrendous is the fact that, when a family of six should earn at least PHP 1,169 a day, the wage gap remains at 56 percent. And most horrifying of all: amidst economic growth, we have the highest unemployment rate in Asia, at 9.1 percent, according to the IBON Foundation.
The US-China-Duterte trinity of dictatorship will spend 7.4 percent of our GDP for infrastructure under the build, build, build program (BBB) in 2022. To garner funding for these ambitious pro-oligarchs projects, the government has implemented the TRAIN law and borrowed heavily from China. In 2016, the government increased its grants to 412 percent, amounting to USD 15.6 billion. Our debt now stands at PHP 6.8 trillion, from PHP 5.9 trillion since Duterte took over. We face a looming debt bomb!
The funding for these infrastructure projects will redound to big business—those of the Ayalas, Angs, Cojuangcos, and other billionaires who will implement these projects concentrated in the National Capital Region. As if these hearty concessions to the oligarchs are not enough, Duterte and his dogs in the legislative branch of the government are desperately pushing for constitutional change to further open up the economy to foreign control and domination.
While the big business and foreign enterprises, through imports, will reap the benefits of the BBB programs, our workers continue to suffer from dehumanizing wages. Forced by the immiserating conditions of work, workers staged strikes to call for the end of contractualization in PLDT, Jollibee, NurtiaAsia, Middleby, and other labor enclaves.
Meanwhile, despite Duterte’s promise to end contractual labor, the government remains the largest employer of contractual labor. Last year, more than 27 percent of the 2.4 million government workers, or 660,390, were “job order” (JO) or “contract-of-service” (COS) employees. Unable to find jobs, our poor fellow Filipinos are forced to leave their families to work abroad. We sent 5,460 Filipinos abroad daily in 2017! And this means many Filipino families are separated for the sake of economic survival.
Those who choose to stay and look for jobs become “tambays.” But our government has tagged them as criminal elements. Unable to solve housing problems, unable to provide decent employment, the government has unleashed its sinister anti-tambay drive that already nabbed 5,500 tambays in June. This has augmented the human rights violation under Oplan Tokhang.
Amidst this crisis, our people has intensified the struggle and resistance against the mounting fascism of the US-Duterte regime. In this struggle, religious and church workers have raised their voices to oppose and denounce an anti-poor President. As a result, the Church and its workers have become the targets of state terrorism—as seen in the murders of priests. Foreign missionaries, such as Sister Patricia Fox, who express solidarity with our poor and suffering people, have also been harassed by state’s forces.
Our women have also mobilized to denounce the unrelenting misogyny of Duterte against women who courageously stood against his reign of terror. Time and again, Duterte has shown his chauvinistic nature by belittling and denigrating the capacity of women such as Chief Justice Sereno, Sis. Pat, Ombudsman Carpio-Morales, and Senator de Lima, and openly promoting discrimination and abuse of women!
Finally, unable to address the root causes of the communist armed struggle, the US-Duterte regime chose the path of counter-insurgency, vilification of legal activist groups, and all-out war against communities suspected as being part of the communist base. Duterte has miserably failed in his promise to address the structural causes of the communist armed revolution. His military lapdogs have, without respite, sabotaged any hope for peaceful resolution of the conflicts. The Lumad and indigenous communities are, at this moment, fleeing their lands because of militarization. The military continues to harass and intimidate them wherever they go, even to cramped and dismal evacuation centers. Duterte’s military forces, in the service of rapacious corporations, seem happy to snuff out the lives of our indigenous peoples.
Assaulted from all sides with economic woes, with human rights violations that murder our poor neighbors, we rise up today to say: ENOUGH! STOP! As teachers and workers in the educational sector, we cannot remain indifferent to the reign of terror of Duterte. We cannot remain indifferent when our economy is being run according to anti-poor, pro-oligarch policies. We cannot turn a blind eye when our children become indebted to China and worshipers of US imperialism.
Thus, we urge all patriotic and progressive teachers and educational workers to unite and stand together to stop the rampaging misogynist fascism of Duterte. We join mass protests today because, as educators, we are convinced that joining our people on the streets is a form of teaching. Our presence in the protest is a performative act of teaching our people that we stand for human rights and for a humane and just future for our children.
DOWN WITH THE MISOGYNIST FASCISM OF THE US-CHINA-DUTERTE REGIME!
DOWN WITH FEUDALISM!
DOWN WITH IMPERIALISM!
END STATE IMPUNITY!
JUSTICE TO ALL VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!
END CONTRACTUAL LABOR NOW!
FIGHT FOR 750 MINIMUM WAGE!
STOP LUMAD KILLINGS!
NO TO CHARTER CHANGE!
CONGRATULATIONS BATCH 2018! USE YOUR EDUCATION TO ADVANCE OUR PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE AGAINST THE TYRANNY OF THE US-DUTERTE DICTATORSHIP! Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy on the 107th Commencement Exercises of UP Diliman 24 June 2018
The members of CONTEND UP Diliman express their sincerest congratulations to all the graduates of Batch 2018! As you wear your sablay proudly today, do not forget the duty and responsibility of the iskolar ng bayan, which we carry even after graduation: SERVE THE PEOPLE!
It is during your stay at the University that free education, for all its shortcomings, was granted to the iskolar ng bayan. You know very well that the free education that you enjoyed was not given to you on a silver platter. Generations of iskolar ng bayan, with their teachers and University workers, fought hard and unremmittingly for you to enjoy this right today.
In your time, our nation saw the unfolding of our popular President as a dictator and tyrant. You witnessed how President Duterte rehabilitated the image of the Marcoses by allowing the dictator to be interned at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and whitewashing the Marcos family’s crimes against the people. You joined thousands of other students, and our people, who immediately took to the streets to protest such treachery and historical revisionism.
You were in UP when fake news, crafted by reactionary elements to immobilize the people’s movements, became an epidemic, and you used your critical skills to unravel and discredit them, contributing to mass awareness and protest.
In your stay in the University, you witnessed the unparalleled exodus of Lumad, Moros, and other national minorities from of their communities because of militarization and human rights abuses. As they marched to Manila during Lakbayan, you welcomed them to our University and supported their cause. You listened to their stories of repression and struggle. Some of your fellow iskolar ng bayan even went to Lumad communities to volunteer as teachers.
As Duterte’s tyranny intensified, as the war on drugs dragged on, as thousands of suspected drug users—some of them young people like you—were killed daily, as Malacanang forced its way into controlling the judicial branch of the government, as President Duterte indulged on insulting women and his minions busied themselves defending him, as the peace talks between the government and CPP/NDF/NPA broke down, as the President threatened to burn the Lumad schools, as our government failed to defend our sovereignty against imperialist incursion of China, you did not remain callous and indifferent. The iskolar ng bayan noisily went out on massive walkouts and strikes that caught the attention of the President. You stood courageously amidst the social media vilification of UP students. Undeterred, you continued to stage more organized and bigger walkouts to denounce martial law in Mindanao, the killing of poor suspected drug users, and the harassment of human rights defenders.
As your teachers, we are proud that you are graduating today—because we know that you will continue the struggle that you have advanced while studying in our University. If young people today are busy pursuing success in their careers, you should pursue the welfare of our people, especially the poor, the farmers, contractual workers, and urban poor who are the hardest hit by the anti-people policies of the US-Duterte regime. You must build your career and achieve professional growth while fulfilling your mission as proud children of our University.
In your struggle to be the best in the profession you have chosen, never lose sight of our nation’s future. A prosperous and just future is your gift to the next generations of iskolar ng bayan. It may not be your task to finish the struggle, but you also do not have the right to shirk from it. This is the time you will step out into the world—but it is a world fraught with crisis, and UP has taught you how to respond: merge your strength and voice with that of the people!
Mabuhay ang mga Iskolar ng Bayan!
Iskolar ng Bayan, serve the people!
Fight for a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education!
Volunteer for Lumad schools!
Stop the militarization of Lumad schools and communities!
Save our schools, stop Lumad killings!