Archive for the ‘campus press’ Category

Tribute to Rachelle Mae Palang (1986-2008), press freedom fighter and nurse for the people

December 22, 2008

After getting her nursing license Mae-Mae immediately volunteered for a three-month medical mission to the hinterlands of Negros.  Mae-Mae barely finished her volunteer work in Negros when her dreams died with her.

Mae-Mae was killed by elements of the AFP on September 18, 2008 in an alleged encounter with New People’s Army rebels. Her face was barely recognizable; she was shot at point-blank range. Her feet and legs were black and bruised, signs of torture evident elsewhere in her beaten body.

— from the CEGP statement

Rachelle Mae Palang

http://www.arkibongbayan.org/2008-11Nov28-Maemae/cegp_small.jpg

September 24, 2008

PRESS STATEMENT

Justice for Rachelle Mae Palang (1986-2008),

press freedom fighter and nurse for the people

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines, in behalf of its National Office, regional formations and chapters, all member publications and affiliate organizations nationwide and across the globe, expresses its most heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Rachelle Mae Palang (1986-2008).

Rachelle, or Mae-Mae to her closest friends and colleagues, was beloved to the Guild for her bubbly, tongue-in-cheek demeanor. She graced the Guild’s gatherings with her easy banter and infectious smile, but was always brisk and business-like in her leadership. She has served as a valuable pillar and driving force in all of the conventions and gatherings she has attended and helped organize. To most Guilders, she was not only a colleague but a precious friend and confidante.

Shock for her untimely demise are evident in her Friendster and Multiply accounts, riddled with comments ranging from disbelief, grief, and even anger – all directed at her, as if to attest that even at the time of her death her friends and colleagues still go to her for conciliation.

Such was Mae-Mae’s legacy and brand of leadership. She has always been easy to approach, a rational adviser and generous in her time and efforts.

Mae-Mae was also an outstanding student at the Velez College in Cebu City where she took up and finished her nursing degree. She became editor-in-chief of Vital Signs, the official campus publication. As campus journalist and student leader, she exemplified deep commitment to uphold press freedom, freedom of speech and students’ democratic rights and welfare. She is respected by her fellow campus journalists nationwide for her wit, intelligence and sharp grasp of issues.

She was elected as Vice President for the Visayas during CEGP’s 67th National Student Press Convention and 33rd Biennial Student Press Congress held in Albay, Bicol in 2005.  She served her term for three consecutive years before she finally relinquished her post May of this year. The CEGP will without end be honored and grateful to have had someone as dedicated as Mae-Mae as one of its leading officers.

Mae-Mae worked hard to help re-open closed campus publications, establish student papers in universities who had none, and expose and fight campus press freedom violations as well as other forms of campus repression nationwide.  She led, organized and participated in countless poetry readings, cultural nights, Writers’ Trips, journalist skills workshops and protest actions and activities. Even after her stint as VP for the Visayas, she proved instrumental in gathering and collating cases of campus press freedom violations in the region for CEGP’s quarterly digest.

Mae-Mae had to cut short her attendance in CEGPs’ 68th National Student Press Convention and 34th Biennial Student Press Congress in Davao City for her scheduled nursing licensure exams in May 2008.  She passed with flying colors and eventually became a registered nurse. Even before she left, she announced to the Guild her desire to pursue an alternative medical career, one that she would devote to the less-privileged. Mae-Mae also took and passed the National Medical Admission Test. She dreamt of becoming a doctor.

It therefore did not come as a surprise to the Guild to learn that upon achieving her nursing license Mae-Mae immediately volunteered for a three-month medical mission to the hinterlands of Negros.  Mae-Mae barely finished her volunteer work in Negros when her dreams died with her.

Mae-Mae was killed by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on September 18, 2008 in an alleged encounter with New People’s Army rebels. Her face was barely recognizable; she was shot at point-blank range. Her feet and legs were black and bruised, signs of torture evident elsewhere in her beaten body.

Mae-Mae’s untimely demise reminds the Guild all too painfully of the same fate that another CEGP alumna suffered under the hands of the AFP.

In April 2002, Benjaline ‘Beng’ Hernandez, former CEGP Vice-President for Mindanao and a human rights volunteer, was murdered by the military while conducting a fact-finding mission in Cotabato province. Investigations revealed that the AFP, after wounding Beng, raped and shot her at close range. The AFP later on insisted that Beng was an NPA rebel.

Beng, like Mae-Mae, was also only 22 years old when she died.

The CEGP condemns in strongest terms accusations and insinuations by the AFP that Mae-Mae was armed and a combatant. She was in Negros in her capacity as a registered nurse and circumstances surrounding her brutal killing should be independently investigated.

The CEGP, in this regard, welcomes initiatives by the Commission on Human Rights Regional Office to conduct an investigation on Mae-Mae’s case.

The CEGP is also reviled at the AFP’s gall to celebrate Mae-Mae’s death by bestowing incentives and acclaim to her killers. It is an awful and terrible reminder of the state and characteristic of our security forces. They who are supposed to protect civilians are the main enemies of human rights defenders and social workers.

The CEGP also condemns in strongest terms the AFP’s malicious attempts to malign the Guild’s name through red-tagging and nasty insinuations. It is precisely this kind of twisted mentality that gives license to the military to repress, harass, silence and kill with impunity. Journalists are easily treated and branded as rebels simply because they are exposed to the ills of society.

The CEGP calls on all its member publications and fellow journalist organizations nationwide and abroad to collectively wield their pens and raise their voices to denounce Mae-Mae’s killers.

The CEGP regards the likes of Beng and Mae-Mae as heroes of the present generation, young martyrs who have chosen to exchange their lives of comfort for their noble convictions.

Highest tribute to Rachelle Mae Palang!

Justice for Beng and Mae-Mae!

Reference:

Vijae Alquisola, National President, 09162034402

Pamilya ng Desaparecidos para sa Katarungan
2/floor Erythrina bldg., #1 Maaralin cor. Matatag sts. Barangay Central, Quezon City
25 September 2008
Reference: Mary Guy Portajada,
Desaparecidos Spokesperson
Telefax 4342837

Impunity reigns as three disappeared in six days
Suspected military men abduct 2 peasant organizers in Bataan

Suspected military men abducted two peasant organizers in two separate incidents in Bataan province on September 21 and 22, bringing to 199 the number of disappeared under the Arroyo regime.

Nelson Balmaña, 29, a resident of Area H, Sapang Palay, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan was abducted Sept. 21, while Florencia Espiritu, 46, of Brgy. Santisima Trinidad, Malolos, Bulacan was abducted Sept. 22. Both are volunteer-organizers of the Sto. Niño Lubao Farmers’ Association (SLFA). The two victims have been organizing peasants from Lubao, Pampanga an adjacent barangay to Hermosa, Bataan .

The two victims were supposed to meet on Sept. 21 at a house in Purok 2, Brgy. Daan Bago, Dinalupihan in Bataan , but Nelson texted Florencia that he could not make it and would meet her the following day instead.

On September 22, Florencia left the house at 10:30 am and was boarding a tricycle, when at least six armed men believed to be elements of the 24th IB PA took her and forced her into a white L300 FB Mitsubishi. Four of the men were armed with .45 caliber pistols, while one carried an armalite.

The abductors fled towards the direction of Pampanga-Metro-Manila. After Florencia’s abduction, several people reported that a man fitting Nelson’s description was abducted at 5 PM the day before at the same spot, and was taken by the same getaway vehicle.

On Sept. 17, another victim, James Balao, 47, of the Cordillera People’s Alliance disappeared in Baguio City . James left his home in Fairview , Baguio City to go to La Trinidad, Benguet at 7am and was not heard of since.

“In a span of six days, three victims were disappeared. The Armed Forces of the Philippines clearly shows that it is untouchable, and continues to carry out enforced disappearances, even after the Court of Appeals had ruled that it is guilty of the disappearance of Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño and Manuel Meriño,” said Mary Guy Portajada, spokesperson of the Families of Desaparecidos for Justice, or DESAPARECIDOS.

Another victim, Elmer dela Cruz was reported missing on August 23 in Hermosa, Bataan . He is still missing as of this writing.

“We call on the people to be vigilant because this government does not sleep as it commits human rights violations. Impunity reigns as Gloria Arroyo and her military remain unpunished for its crimes,” said Portajada. ###

Rachelle was an intelligent student. She graduated Valedictorian at Mandaue Science High School. While a student she was active in rallies

Photo, rights, shows Rachelle Mae raising her clenched fist at the May 2007 miting de avance of the Kabataan Partylist, Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, and Gabriela in Cebu City

“Fil-Am Youths Pay Tribute to Fellow Youth/Fallen Nurse”

Jersey City, NJ – Last September 18, 2008, Anakbayan NY/NJ, LA and Seattle led Fil-Am and Filipino immigrant youths from coast to coast in the making of a protest video against the ongoing and escalating political repression in the Philippines, particularly those violations against the youth. Members from HabiArts, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), Sandiwa, Kappa Pi and Pugadlawin, and several supporters including some nurses, and nursing students all coordinated with Anakbayan to make a tribute video for Rachelle Mae Palang who is the most recent victim of the military’s aggressive persecution of student activists and progressive youths in the country.

Rachelle, or Mae-Mae as her friends call her, recently finished her Nursing studies at the Velez College in Cebu and successfully passed the Nursing Licensure Exam in June 2008. Her passion, however, was to become a physician so she can better serve the poor and the oppressed. In pursuit of this dream, she took and successfully passed the National Medical Admissions Test. Sadly, the world will never see a Dr. Rachelle Palang; the Philippines lost one more vessel of hope and righteousness.

In July of this year, Mae-Mae asked her parents’ permission to go to Negros Oriental for a three-month medical mission. Her goal while in the hinterlands was to promote health, treat the sick and to investigate the causes of the people’s demise. Unfortunately, In September 18, 2008 at Dauin town, Negros Oriental, that mission was cut-short. Mae-Mae was shot and killed by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during an encounter with the New Peoples Army. She was shot at the back of her head at point-blank range; her face was barely recognizable, the rest of her body bruised as evidence of torture. According to the AFP, Mae-Mae was a member of the NPA, and was said to be carrying and using an M-16 during the fight. This claim however, came as a shock to those who are very close to Mae-Mae.

Her friends unanimously expressed disbelief in the AFP’s report. They said Mae-Mae was outspoken but she would never have thought of using a gun. Her weapon of choice was the pen as evidenced by her commitment as the editor of their school paper in Velez College. In 2005, she was elected as Vice President for the Visayas during the College Editors Guild of the Philippines’ (CEGP) 67th National Student Press Convention and 33rd Biennial Student Press Congress held in Albay, Bicol. She relinquished her position last May after three consecutive years of faithful service. Accordingly, she endeavored to reopen closed college publications and established student publications in schools that have none. Her work focused on student rights violations in campus. Her knowledge of the society was further honed when she participated in a Basic Mass Integration (BMI) program of the CEGP where she experienced the forms of oppression endured by the masses.

“What was once called youth activism and nationalism is now labeled as threat to national security by the government. When a young person like Rachelle wishes to genuinely contribute in uplifting the downtrodden and the oppressed, the fascist government led by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo deal with it as if idealism is a menace,patriotism is a plague and serving the people a high crime,” said Kathleen Dy, member of Anakbayan NY/NJ.

In conformity with this recent surge of repression and oppression, the military has invaded the campuses of politically-involved universities. Military personnels are now a common sight in the country’s most prominent colleges and universities particularly in the University of the Philippines, Diliman (UPD) and Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Sta. Mesa (PUP).

Bea Sabino of Anakbayan NY/NJ and a nursing student expressed her concern as well, “We observed an increase of political harassment lately and one would think that this was a consequence of the newest impeachment complaint filed versus Gloria Arroyo after the one-year ban.” This latest impeachment complaint which was submitted in October 13, 2008 is already the fourth for GMA. Keen observation supports the hypothesis that the increased militarization right before the endorsement of impeachment was not a coincidence but a calculated move by the administration to scare off the opposition. Regrettably, they did not just scare off Rachelle, they killed her.

In their press release, the CEGP asserts that “the act of the military in linking Rachelle with the New Peoples’ Army is a desperate attempt to shadow the real reason why she went to Negros, that is to help the oppressed farmers. We are deeply insulted when the military praised and showered Mae-Mae’s killers with gifts and recognitions. The CEGP admonishes these inhumane and insulting actions of the military, as well as the brutal treatment of her body. We condemn the malicious attempt of the military to mislead the people from the real issue.”

Rachelle was an ordinary person who chose the road less travelled. Yes, she could have chosen a different path and lived to be a hundred but she did not. She chose to become an epitome of a student leader who struggles for genuine freedom and democracy for the people and for that, she will always be remembered.

“In memory of Mae-mae and countless other victims of state terrorism, we, the youth, reaffirm our commitment in the struggle against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s tyranny and against the oppressive system that continue to burden our people. As long as our brothers and sisters in the Philippines are harassed, repressed, disappeared and killed the powers that be can expect more militant actions from the youth to come,” said Yves Nibungco, deputy secretary general of Anakbayan NY/NJ.

tioInstead of a Eulogy
Posted by: karlo mikhail on: September 24, 2008

One of the things I do very early in the morning when I wake up is to read the local news posted in the Internet. I don’t read everything and most of the times I just end up skimming through the mass of headlines lined up on my screen.

Like any other morning, I also went over all the headlines last Monday morning. One item that caught my attention was the news of an armed encounter between the military and alleged communist insurgents. It was titled “3 killed in Negros Oriental clash.”

http://www.arkibongbayan.org/2008-11Nov30-maemae2/doc/news/from%20misreadings/mutiparty-mitng-de-avanse-041.jpgNot that I felt it was something special, I am after all, like most people in this information-saturated society, desensitized to most accounts of violence. It was the proximity of the said event, the conflict occurring only an island away from Cebu, that “seduced” me to read the article anyway.

When I read the news item, I was surprised. I was shocked for I personally knew one of the names listed as casualties in the encounter.

Happier times.

Happier times: Rachelle Mae Palang in the May 2007 electoral campaign.

The front page of the local paper’s hard copy version even carried a different headline of the same story, “Cebu student killed in clash.” I knew Rachelle Mae Palang from two years ago when I was still chairman of the UP Cebu Student Council and later on with the Kabataan Partylist for the 2007 Elections.

Rachelle Mae was a stout, bubbly, but outspoken nursing student who was editor of Velez College’s school publication, Vital Signs. She was also an officer of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) – a national organization of campus journalists.

Needless to say, reading the news was depressing. After all, we were together in several causes – especially those related to students’ rights and the educational system.

The last time we saw each other was during the opening of the school yearhttp://www.arkibongbayan.org/2008-11Nov30-maemae2/rachelle_small.jpg in 2007 at the Arts and Sciences Lobby of the UP Cebu College. She was returning the book about how to write press releases that I lent her.

I cannot say that the military’s insistence on Rachelle’s brandishing of long arms in Negros is true. After all, it is characteristic for contenders of any armed conflict to ornament the truth for their own ends. The news of her unexpected death makes me sad. She was only twenty one.

[Photo] Rachelle Mae raising her fist during the May 2007 multiparty miting de avance of the Kabataan Partylist, Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, and Gabriela at Colon St. That’s me in the extreme left.

But what if the military is right: what if Rachelle really carried an M-16 rifle? This hypothesis leads us to question what made her forgo a successful career ahead of her to go to the countryside and take up arms against the State. What made some of today’s youth give up on peaceful means for the attainment of social change?

The lamentable state of the nation is such that our youth either, like most, join the diaspora to other lands or, like a few, are led to believe that the only solution is heading for the hills.

Ilocos fiscal dismisses theft charges vs. UNP campus newshen

June 28, 2008

VIGAN CITY — A Vigan City prosecutor dismissed the theft charges filed against a student journalist of the University of Northern Philippines (UNP).

According to the Resolution signed by City Prosecutor Dedicacion Banua, the Criminal Complaint for Theft filed by . Nolito Ragunjan, coordinator for Student Publications of UNP-Vigan, was dismissed because the City Prosecutor’s Office finds no probable cause to hold Ma. Criselda Diocena for trial.

Said court resolution stated that the “taking” referred to in Art.308 of the Revised Penal Code, must be accompanied by the intention, at the time of the taking, of withholding the thing with some character of permanency.

“So if the taking is momentary as when the purpose of the offender is to return the things to the owner when he was apprehended, intent to gain is not present,” the resolution noted citing People vs. Visconde 75 Phil. 520.

Ragunjan charged Diocena and Rafal, editor-in-chief of Tandem and former student regent respectively, of robbery before the complaint was amended to theft charged solely to Diocena.

Intent to gain

The resolution upheld the stand of Diocena that she has the unlimited access to the Student Resource Center (SRC) where the alleged Central Processing Unit (CPU) is located.

“It is settled that the allegedly missing CPU is with the SRC of UNP and had been there since the report that the same was missing.” The resolution stated, and added that, “It was removed from one office only to be transferred to another office of the same University. Meaning, it is still within the custody of the University and not transferred to anybody, it is within the control and free disposal of the University.”

The resolution stressed that the elements of intent to gain and unlawful taking could “hardly be inferred”.

According to the Revised Penal Code, Theft has the following elements: a) Intent of gain; b) Unlawful taking; c) Personal property belonging to another; d) Absence of violence or intimidation against persons or force upon things; and e) without the consent of the owner.

Persecution campaign

Human Rights groups in Ilocos welcomed the decision of the City Prosecutor’s Office. In a joint statement issued by Tanggulan Youth Network for the Advancement of Human Rights and Ilocos Human Rights Advocates (IHRA), said that the decision only showed that attempts to hide the truth would succeed.

However, they dismissed the thought that the harassments will stop.

These fabricated cases are meant to persecute the students fighting for the rights of the students. The statement noted stating that the dismissal of Diocena does not end the continuing persecution among student activists.

“As part of the educational system that is commercialized, colonial and fascist, it is expected that they will continue their vilification campaign against Diocena, Pelayo among others to demoralize the students in asserting their rights,” the statement stressed.

Diocena for her part, also welcomed the prosecutor’s decision, however, she feared that another trumped up charges are yet to come.

“According to Office of Student Affairs (OSA), there is still a pending case against me,” Diocena lamented. “With this continuing repression, my future is at stake,” she said.

As this developed, Diocena and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) lobbied the issue to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and rallied in front of CHED’s national office last week to call for the reopening of Tandem and to stop campus press freedom violations committed by the UNP administration. # Rod Tajon(NorDis)

Student journalists decry press freedom, democratic rights violation

June 20, 2008

PASIG CITY — Student journalists denounced violations of campus press freedom and democratic rights in a picket-rally staged first week of June in front of the Commission Higher Education (CHED) in relation to the move by administration officials of an Ilocos-based government school.

Campus journalists belonging to the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) were joined by about fifteen (15) protesters from National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP) the CHED National Office protest during the recent meeting of the University of Northern Philippines (UNP) Board of Regents (BOR).

Said BOR meeting would tackle the approval of The Blazers to change Tandem as the new publication of UNP, as approved at the recent Policy Conference of the UNP administration last May. The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) has consistently pushed the Blazers since last year; however, the BOR did not approve said publication and recommended that the administration resolve the issue inside the university.

According to Ma. Criselda Diocena, editor-in-chief of Tandem, the official student publication of UNP, and convener of Defend Tandem, the UNP has launched blatant attacks to the rights to the students by silencing its voice in the publication and the student council.

“They closed the publication and used force to harass the student leaders and instill fear among the students.” Diocena stressed as she enumerated the cases of student’s rights and campus press freedom violations that the UNP administration allegedly committed.

Diocena was among the student leaders who was harassed and charged with theft after allegedly taking the Central Processing Unit (CPU) of Tandem to the Student Resource Center. To date, Diocena’s case is still at the City Prosecutor’s Office and the office of Tandem remains closed.

In addition, Diocena was not allowed by the College of Engineering (CE) to take up her final examinations, as the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) through Dr. Gilbert Arce did not issue her any clearance. Diocena has not yet enrolled.

Vijhae Alquisola, National President of the CEGP lambasted the UNP administration for creating a new publication to replace Tandem. “The BOR should look into the Tandem seriously, it should not resort to the closure of publication.” Alquisola noted and suggested that the BOR should see to it that the “democratic rights and campus press freedom of the student are upheld.”

Diocena is currently lobbying at various government and non-government agencies to support her call for the reopening of the publication and to stop political persecution to her and other student leaders. # Rod Tajon(NorthernDispatch)

CEGP condemns adviser-meddling, harassment of Makati Collegian editors

June 18, 2008

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) denounces in strongest terms the adviser-meddling, violation of the Campus Journalism Act of 1991, and the harassment of editors of the Makati Collegian by the University of Makati administration.

The issue in the Makati Collegian sprung from the administration’ s unilateral designation of Dr. Teresa Solero as adviser of the Makati Collegian, in violation of the selection process stipulated in the CJA of 1991. The CJA of 1991 mandates that the incumbent editorial board of the Makati Collegian ‘shall make a recommendation of three (3) faculty members, and the administration shall choose a technical adviser from the recommended faculty.’ The editorial board, however, was not consulted on the designation.

The Makati Collegian rightfully refused to recognize Dr. Solero as adviser and this was when the University of Makati unleashed its attacks on campus press freedom and the democratic rights of Makati Collegian Editor-in-Chief Jeneffere Buenaventura and members of its editorial board Adora Joy V. Borja (Managing Editor) and Dannilyn C. de Castro (Associate Editor). (Attached herewith is the complainants’ complete account of the chronology of events.)

Last February 2008, the University of Makati, upon the order of Dr. Solero, renovated the publication office, making it impossible for Makati Collegian editors and staff to access the publication office. Not long after, Dr. Solero announced the establishment of the Studium Generale Publication (SGP) as the school’s official publication to replace the Makati Collegian and rendering it ‘defunct’.

What came after were a barrage of unfounded accusations and actions by the University of Makati administration through Dr. Solero:

  1. A sudden investigation of alleged complaints by students with regards to the Makati Collegian’s financial statements. Said complaints were never appropriately presented to the editorial board and copies were never furnished to them.

The mere fact that the so-called investigation against Buenaventura et al were merely jointly performed by Dr. Solero and Prof. Joselito Mendoza, the so-called designated Investigating Officer of the Studium Generale Publication, is illegal in itself. Firstly, they have no authority to conduct the investigation under Dr. Solero’s position as a mere technical adviser. Secondly, investigations should be a result of complaints filed to the student disciplinary committee, which Dr. Solero failed to produce. Thirdly, the respondents (Buenaventura et al) should be properly informed in writing of the nature and cause of the accusations against them. And lastly, the investigation should be conducted by a duly-constituted student disciplinary committee.

Moreover, the Makati Collegian editorial board has also submitted the financial statements for AY 2007-2008, albeit a bit late because of their difficulty to access the publication office. All remaining funds of the publication are still intact and accounted for.

  1. Insistence and forceful demand of Dr. Solero for the turnover of publication funds to her (i.e. the remaining funds for AY 2007-2008). The editorial board refused to turn over funds because the legitimacy of the establishment of the SGP is in question. Furthermore, the refusal to turnover funds is perfectly legitimate since the Makati Collegian is STILL the official publication of the university.
  1. When the editorial board refused to comply with abovementioned demands, the University of Makati released an order holding the enrolment of Buenaventura. It also allegedly released a memorandum from the Office of the University President stating such an order, but as of press time no such memo had been presented to Buenaventura.

Borja’s registration was also cancelled and de Castro’s academic credentials were withheld.

  1. Of all these, Dr. Solero failed to furnish Buenaventura and the editorial board with pertinent papers and formal written documents to support her accusations and actions. They were also not given the opportunity to air their side on the matter.

The CEGP condemns Dr. Solero and the University of Makati administration’ s grave abuse of discretion and authority resulting in the harassment of the Makati Collegian’s editors and the eventual closure of the publication.

The CEGP also criticizes Dr. Solero and the University of Makati administration for their deliberate and malicious disregard of due process and legitimate procedures.

The CEGP demands that Buenaventura et al be allowed to enroll. Regardless of accusations against them, the University of Makati does not hold the right, and in fact has no basis, to hold their registration for the present school year.

The CEGP has also already submitted a complaint to the Office of Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino, former CEGP President (1991-1994), requesting for an investigation of the illegal closure of the Makati Collegian, the harassment of its editors, Dr. Solero’s violations of the CJA of 1991, and the illegal establishment of the administration- led SGP.

The CEGP likewise urges the office of Makati Rep. Abigail Binay to look into the case. The University of Makati is a local government unit-run university.

The CEGP expresses its fullest support to Buenaventura and the editorial board of the Makati Collegian in their fight against what could be considered as one of the most blatant attacks on campus press freedom and students’ democratic rights.

Furthermore, the CEGP scores Dr. Solero for questioning the Guild’s concern in this case, accusing its leadership of ‘meddling’ in behalf of the Makati Collegian editorial board. For the record, the Makati Collegian is a member publication of the CEGP and the Guild willingly extends its support to any members who are under attack.

The CEGP has so far documented 297 cases of campus press freedom violations from 53 respondent campus publications last May. ###

Campus press expresses concern over three ‘missing’ journalists

June 10, 2008

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) joins other journalists and media workers in calling on authorities to ensure the safety of three ABS-CBN journalists reported to be ‘missing’ in Sulu.

ABS-CBN news anchor Ces Drilon along with her crew Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama have been reported ‘missing’ in Sulu yesterday. Witnesses claim that they were allegedly abducted by armed men in the village of Kulasi in the town of Maimbung.

“We are greatly concerned with this news and pray for the wellbeing of our fellow journalists. We also appeal to authorities to do everything in their means to ensure their safety,” said CEGP national president Vijae Alquisola. ###

============

My Take:

The mainstream commercial media is indeed not free.  It is being controlled by big business and political lords in many aspects.  Yet its prime-mover, the professional journalists are always facing the danger of being the messenger of news.

The whole Barangay RP is praying for the immediate and safe release of the 3 media workers.

School papers flood 1st-day-of-class protests with ‘Pubs Baha’

June 10, 2008

Campus publications flooded today’s opening of classes as the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) welcomed students with their traditional ‘Pubs Baha.’

‘Pubs Baha’ is a customary protest activity for CEGP’s member publications. It is characterized by the distribution of old and new issues of a campus publication to students by editors and staff, especially if the publication is experiencing campus press freedom violations.

CEGP member publications simultaneously distributed their respective campus papers today in different colleges and universities as ‘a symbol of the campus press’ renewed commitment to uphold youth and students’ rights and welfare, and to be instruments of social change.’

“For this year’s school opening, we are giving ‘Pubs Baha’ a twist. Our message is for students to meet the school year aware and vigilant of past and present issues that have hounded them as published in our publications, ” said CEGP national president Vijae Alquisola.

Alquisola said that among the most pressing issues that students should address head on are the yearly education and tuition woes, press freedom violations, the economic crisis, corruption in government and human rights violations.

Among the publications which participated were the University of the PhilippinesPhilippine Collegian, UP Manila’s Manila Collegian, Ateneo’s Matanglawin, Polytechnic University of the Philippines‘ The Catalyst, the EARIST Technozette, University of Makati’s The Makati Collegian, Philippine Normal University’s Torch and the Arellano Herald.

The ‘Pubs Baha’ was the CEGP’s main participation in the Youth Action Day planned by different youth and student organizations for today’s school opening.

Simultaneous protest actions commenced at lunchtime today along Taft Avenue, the University Belt and Katipunan consortia of schools with the theme, ‘Balik-Eskwela, Balik-Sigla ang Protesta.’

Alquisola also announced that the CEGP is set to release a pooled editorial calling for ‘renewed youth vigilance and action for truth, accountability and social change’ to be published by CEGP’s 700 member publications nationwide in the first weeks of classes. ###

College editors to spearhead first-day-of- school ‘Pubs Baha’

June 9, 2008

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) today announced that it would greet school opening with its traditional ‘Pubs Baha’.

‘Pubs Baha’ is a customary protest activity for CEGP’s member publications. It is characterized by a ‘downpour distribution (baha)’ of old and new issues of a campus publication to students by editors and staff, especially if the publication is experiencing campus press freedom violations.

CEGP National President Vijae Alquisola announced that their member publications will simultaneously distribute their respective campus papers tomorrow, June 10, the first day of classes, in different colleges and universities.

“For this year’s school opening, we are giving ‘Pubs Baha’ a twist. Our message is for students to meet the school year aware and vigilant of past and present issues that have hounded them as published in our publications, ” said CEGP national president Vijae Alquisola.

Alquisola said that among the most pressing issues that students should address head on are the yearly education and tuition woes, press freedom violations, the economic crisis, corruption in government and human rights violations.

Campus publications expected to participate are the University of the PhilippinesPhilippine Collegian, UP Manila’s Manila Collegian, Ateneo’s Matanglawin, Polytechnic University of the Philippines‘ The Catalyst, the EARIST Technozette, University of Makati’s The Makati Collegian, Philippine Normal University’s Torch and the Arellano Herald.

The ‘Pubs Baha’ will be the CEGP’s main participation in the Youth Action Day planned by different youth and student organizations for tomorrow’s school opening.

Simultaneous protest actions are expected to commence at lunchtime tomorrow in Taft Avenue, the University Belt and Katipunan consortia of schools with the theme, ‘Balik-Eskwela, Balik-Sigla ang Protesta.’

“We are enjoining our fellow editors and writers to participate and launch their own ‘Pubs Baha’ as a symbolic action of the campus press’ collective vigilance,” Alquisola said.

He announced that they are set to release a pooled editorial calling for ‘renewed youth vigilance and action for truth, accountability and social change’ to be published by CEGP’s 700 member publications nationwide in the first weeks of classes. ###

Campus press reports 279 cases of campus press freedom violations

June 8, 2008


CEGP calls halt to censorship, harassment

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) today reported that it has documented a total of 297 cases of violations against campus press freedom, mostly involving tuition-related issues.

Of these, 61 are cases of adviser/moderator intervention, 64 of censorship and 41 of harassment. Other complaints concerned with publication fee collection, the non-release of publication fee funds and illegal closure of publications are also included in the report.

The 279 cases of violations from 53 respondent campus publications nationwide were gathered in a caucus held during the CEGP National Convention last May.

CEGP National President Vijae Alquisola said that violations against campus press freedom sprung mostly from tuition-related issues and students’ assertion of their right to education and other democratic rights in campus.

“Campus editors and writers are easy victims of campus repression, censorship and harassment because of their orientation to uphold the interests of students,” Alquisola said.

Alquisola earlier demanded a halt to censorship, harassment and campus press repression in light of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’ s announcement of a tuition hike freeze.

Alquisola said that one of the gravest cases of harassment reported to them is that of false theft charges filed against Tandem editor-in-chief Ma. Criselda Diocena. Tandem is the official campus publication of the University of Northern Philippines, and a member publication of the CEGP.

The UNP-Vigan administration filed false charges of theft against Diocena who it accuses of stealing a computer CPU (central processing unit).

Diocena has denied the charges and has cried harassment by school administrators because of her hard stance against the university’s proposed tuition increases. UNP increased tuition last year eliciting widespread protests from students.

Diocena was unable to get a clearance to take her final exams this summer and, as a result, is unable to enroll for the incoming school year. The case has also resulted in the UNP administration’ s illegal closure of the publication.

In a press conference held this morning, Diocena said that she is mulling over filing counter charges of grave slander and harassment against the UNP administration. She had already filed a complaint to the Commission on Higher Education last year but the agency is yet to address her case.

Alquisola said that they are also set to present Diocena’s case and other complaints to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Technical and Higher Education (CTHE) hearing on June 11.

CEGP to UNP Administrators: The fight will continue until Tandem re-opens, repression ends

June 5, 2008

04 June 2008

PRESS STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Reference:

Vijae Alquisola, President, 09162034402

CEGP to UNP Administrators:
The fight will continue until Tandem re-opens, repression ends
This should be the prime agenda of today’s University of Northern Philippines Board of Regents meeting: to hold the violators of students’ democratic rights accountable.
The closure of TANDEM, the official student publication of UNP is nothing but a desperate attempt by UNP President Lauro Tacbas and his cohorts to prevent the issue of the “illegal” 33% tuition increase last year from reaching the students and thwart the possibilities of collective resistance against the said increase.
TANDEM members have been experiencing various cases of harassment from the school administration. Editor-in-chief Criselda Diocena was banned from taking her final examinations and was even charged with a baseless accusation of theft.
The CEGP strongly denounces the latter. The Guild considers the attack as part of a greater plan to further silence the TANDEM from voicing out different student issues inside the university and exposing the bleak future of the youth under the Arroyo regime.
Such move by the school administration leads to the illegal 33% tuition fee increase. This is a clear violation of the regulation that students should be made aware of such tuition hike. Instead, no consultation took place, which left the students totally unaware of this sudden increase. Aside from this, miscellaneous fees also increased.
For 33 years, the TANDEM has fulfilled its duty of being the vanguard of academic freedom and has never faltered in its commitment to the entire UNP community, which gained the publication numerous awards in campus journalism.
It has been steadfast in its task of informing students about different anomalies inside the university brought about by the evil schemes of this Arroyo government to hinder accessible and quality education.
This trend of silencing student papers has been imminent since the administration sees the power and ability of student publications to inform and mobilize the student population.
This issue does not call for a new student publication; thus the need for reforms in handling not only the publication but also the entire UNP community should be addressed.
UNP administrators should bear this in mind: freedom of speech and the practice of student’s democratic rights will never waver despite numerous attacks made against it. Such a move only strengthens and unifies the ranks of students against an oppressive administration.
This fight will continue until perpetrators are deemed liable, the Tandem re-opens, and repression ends. ###
COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES
Rm 305, National Press Club Bldg., Intramuros,
Manila, Philippines
Tele Fax.: 524-3937
Email: cegpnational@ yahoo.com
“To Write Is Already To Choose”

Looking for Randy Malayao: Friends of Randy

June 2, 2008

Narito ang pinakahuling update hinggil kay Randy at sa pagkilos para sa kanyang paglaya.  Paki-kontak na lang po ang mga nakatalang numero dito para sa inyong mga tulong.

Salamat. 🙂

==========================

Dear friends,

A benefit-gathering of batchmates, friends and colleagues of Randy Malayao will be held on June 14, 2008, 7pm at the Newsdesk Bar, Scout Madrinan, Quezon City.  This event is being organized to start a series of fundraising efforts of Friends of Randy (including Guilders all over the country and abroad) to raise funds for Randy’s legal fees. We have pegged an entrance ticket of Php 300 per person with one beer consumable.  Food and drinks can be bought at the Newsdesk bar although we also encourage folks to bring food to share with everybody.

A program is being arranged with some prominent artists performing and a special message from Randy himself.  We are in need of sponsors who are willing to provide food and drinks for the event.  Please contact me at 09277404663 if you have any ideas on this.  A formal invitation will be sent through e-mail shortly.

We thank those who have already promised to send contributions please channel all donations to the following bank account:

Account Name:  Raymund and Edna Villanueva
Bank Name:  Bank of the Philippine Islands
Peso Savings Account Number: 4259-0013061
Bank Address:  BPI Diliman Branch

Thank you and hope to see you all on June 14.

Jaz Lumang
CEGP Sec-Gen 1992-1996

‘Arroyo statement on tuition vindicates student protests’ – campus press

May 27, 2008

May 27, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Reference:
Sarah Katrina Maramag, Public Information Officer, 09193486790
Vijae Alquisola, National President, 09162034402

‘Arroyo statement on tuition vindicates student protests’ – campus press
CEGP demands public apology from Arroyo, ‘moratorium on violent dispersals, harassment’

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) today said that Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo‘ s latest statement calling for a freeze in tuition hikes vindicates students’ protests.

The CEGP said in light of Arroyo’s recent statement, students who have endured violent dispersals, harassment and violations of students’ rights to assemble and freely express themselves on tuition and other education-related issues deserve no less than a public apology from schools administrators, authorities and the President herself.

“Students from all over are not the least bit appeased by Arroyo’s latest statement. While it vindicates students’ protests and actions against the rising cost of education, it does not guarantee that students’ rights will be respected from here on,” said newly-elected CEGP National President Vijae Alquisola.

Moratorium on violent dispersals, harassment and repression of students
“Pres. Arroyo owes students an apology. She should also order for a ‘moratorium on violent dispersals, harassment and repression of students,'” Alquisola said.

Alquisola said that countless violent dispersals and harassment of student leaders have been results of students’ assertion of their right to education.

He cited the police’s brutal dispersal during the government-sponsore d education summit last January of this year where six students were nabbed while 23 others were seriously injured.

Alquisola also demanded the withdrawal of false theft charges against Tandem editor Ma. Criselda Diocena. Tandem is the official campus publication of the University of Northern Philippines, and a member publication of the CEGP.

Diocena was charged with theft by UNP-Vigan which accused Diocena of stealing a computer CPU (central processing unit). Diocena has denied the charges and has cried harassment by school administrators because of her hard stance against the university’s proposed tuition increases.

Diocena was unable to get a clearance to take her final exams this summer and, as a result, is unable to enroll for the incoming school year.

The CEGP said that it is set to release a primer documenting other cases of harassment of students and repression of students’ rights in the following days. ###

COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES
Rm 305, National Press Club Bldg., Intramuros,
Manila, Philippines
Tele Fax.: 524-3937
Email: cegpnational@ yahoo.com
“To Write Is Already To Choose”

CEGP Press Release:CEGP condemns abduction, torture of former student leader

May 22, 2008

May 22, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Reference:
Vijae Alquisola, Deputy Secretary-General, 09162034402

CEGP condemns abduction, torture of former student leader

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) condemns in strongest terms the illegal abduction and emotional and physical torture of former student leader Randy Malayao by suspected Military Intelligence Group agents (MIG).

Malayao was CEGP Vice-President for Visayas in 1991-1994.

Malayao was forcibly abducted last May 15. Last May 20, he was presented by the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) to the media at Camp Melchor dela Cruz in Upi, Gamu, Isabela.

He was then brought to the Regional Trial Court in Tuguegarao, Cagayan and is now being held at the Cagayan Provincial Jail under murder charges.

Malayao is a Peace Consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Cagayan Valley. He was included as one of the co-accused in the killing of notorious martial law torturer Rodolfo Aguinaldo in 2003. Malayao denied the charges.

According to Malayao’s account as per human rights group Karapatan, “… he was grabbed by government agents as he went down the bus at around 9:45P.M of May 15.  He was shoved inside a vehicle, the model and brand of which he did not know.  He was immediately blindfolded… recalls that he could hear the sound of aircrafts passing above the place he was brought to…(h)e did not have any concept of time while under interrogation.  He said the military covered his head with a plastic bag while being hit in different parts of the body.  The soldiers threatened that he would be killed and that his mother will never see him again.  His blindfold was only removed when he was presented to media on the 20th of May, five days after he was abducted.”

“We are on one hand relieved while at the same time outraged by this development. Relieved that our dear alumnus is alive, outraged that he has been subjected to severe torture and his right to due process ignored and outrightly violated,” said Vijae Alquisola, CEGP Deputy Secretary-General.

“His being presented to the media by authorities after his five-day absence attests to the PNP and AFP’s extra-judicial and unlawful tactics in persecuting government critics. This is shameful and a cause for considerable alarm,” Alquisola said.

Alquisola said that regardless of his political affiliation, Malayao should not have been illegally abducted and tortured ‘under any circumstance. ‘ “He has apparently been working underground for more than a decade and his contemporaries and fellow Guilders respect his choice. The AFP and PNP still had no right and license under law to do to him or anyone what they did.”

“The CEGP hands to Malayao its deepest respect for his determination to stand up to his convictions, even under torture and duress. He is still what he was and more when he served us our student leader.”

Malayao was the Editor-in-Chief for two consecutive years of Mangingisda, the official campus publication of UP Visayas in Miag-Ao. He is also a brother and alumnus of the Beta Sigma fraternity in the UP Visayas.

He was elected CEGP Vice-President for Visayas during Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino’s term as CEGP President in 1991-1994. ###

COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES
Rm 305, National Press Club Bldg., Intramuros,
Manila, Philippines
Tele Fax.: 524-3937
Email: cegpnational@ yahoo.com
“To Write Is Already To Choose”

UNP sues student publication editor-in-chief

May 22, 2008

VIGAN CITY (May 14) — The University of Northern Philippines (UNP) administration filed a criminal complaint for theft before the City Prosecutor’s Office here against one of its student leaders.

Docketed as I.S. Number 08-049, UNP alleged that in January 11, 2008, their student stole the computer central processing unit (CPU) of Tandem, its official student paper from the locked and the barricaded publication office.

In the complaint-affidavit filed by Mr. Nolito Ragunjan, Coordinator for Student Publications of UNP-Vigan, accused Ma. Criselda Diocena, 23 years old, of taking the CPU outside the office without permission from the administration. His complaint was supported by an affidavit signed by Warren Rafal stating that Diocena took the CPU, issues of Tandem and other personal belongings out of the office.

Warren Rafal, in his affidavit said he asked permission on January 11, 2008 from the administration to open the office, which was locked by the UNP administration since October 2007. The school president Dr, Lauro Tacbas allowed them to enter the office provided they will only get some receipts.

The CPU brought to the UNP Student Resource Center (SRC) still within the UNP premises.

Diocena and Rafal were Editor-in-Chief of Tandem and Student Regent respectively, active student leaders and one of those who led the campaign against tuition and other fees increase and other repressive policies of the university administration.

As of press time the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) Director Dr. Gilbert Arce has not issued any clearance for Diocena and she has not been allowed to take her final examinations.

Meanwhile, Rafal had to plead with the UNP administration to be able to enroll. Both Diocena and Rafal were also sued by the administration for robbery earlier but the case was not pursued.

Also, last March 2008, Dr. Joel Beleno of the UNP College of Health Sciences sued Jeric Pelayo, the standard bearer of Alliance of Concerned Students-Partido ng Demokra-tikong Mag-aaral (ACS-PDM) for slander.

Desperate attempts

According to TANGGULAN Youth Network for Civil Liberties and Human Rights spokesperson Reizell Santos, the cases filed against Diocena and other students leaders are desperate moves of the UNP administration to silence the students who are conscious of and are upholding academic freedom; for their rights and the welfare of their fellow students.

Santos stressed that these cases are the reaction of UNP administration to the steadfast campaign of the publication and student organizations against the increase of tuition and other fees; and against campus repression.

“The UNP administration opts to suppress the basic rights of the students to protect its interest from the growing clamor against its tuition and other fees increases. It clearly shows its disregard for academic freedom that we should enjoy.” Santos concluded.

Santos also added that the guards and administration officials constantly harassed Diocena and her colleagues during the peak of the campaign that led to the barricading of their office . To date, Tandem office is still locked-up. The UNP administration has opted to produce a new publication, The Blazers.

Diocena admitted that they took the receipts, issues of Tandem and personal belongings out of the office and brought them to the Student Council Office so that they can be read and utilized. “Mr. Rafal suggested that we also bring the CPU out of the office and because we still have files saved in the computer for the next regular issue of TANDEM.” She furthered.

Diocena said she does not have access to the Student Resource Center where the CPU is now found, Mr. Ragunjan has unlimited access to it so that he can have the CPU anytime he wants. “I never intended to take the CPU for my own use. Even the accompanying affidavit of complainant Ragunjan’s supposed witness, Warren Rafal, states that the CPU is and has been at the Student Resource Center at the UNP premises” she stressed saying that if his interest was to protect the property of UNP, Mr. Ragunjan has all the means to verify himself that the CPU subject of his complaint has not been taken away from his watch.

The Diocena and Pelayo’s cases were brought to the attention of various institutions such as the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Committee on Education and Culture of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur, Committee on Education of the City Government of Vigan and the Office of Congressman Ronald Singson. # Rod Tajon for NORDIS