Counter-insurgency in campuses? Students flay marine-deployment in UP
by ANAKBAYAN *Friday, Jun. 23, 2006 at 8:35 AM*
"Is this part and parcel of the Arroyo administration's P1 billion counter-insurgency program? Considering the government's malicious red-baiting and baseless accusations against legal and progressive institutions, we fear that even UP students and faculty are now targets of counter-insurgency"
Militant youth group Anakbayan today expressed deep concern over the deployment of a Marine platoon inside the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman.
The youth group received reports from the University of the Philippines-University Student Council in Diliman of 'undue military intervention' in campus security. According to the UP-USC, marine troops are being designated to replace the Special Service Brigade (SSB) in charge of maintaining 'peace and order' inside the campus.
The Marine platoon is now stationed in the DMST headquarters in UP.
"Unlike the arnis-bearing SBB who were relatively unarmed and harmless to students and the whole UP community, active military presence in UP portrays an entirely different scenario and a twisted definition of 'campus security,' said Eleanor de Guzman, Anakbayan national chairperson.
She added, "Students, parents and UP residents are alarmed over this. Military presence inside UP was last experienced during the martial law years. Martial law na ba?"
"Is this part and parcel of the Arroyo administration's P1 billion counter-insurgency program? Considering the government's malicious red-baiting and baseless accusations against legal and progressive institutions, we fear that even UP students and faculty are now targets of counter-insurgency," said de Guzman.
The whole UP community is known for its critical stance against the Arroyo government, especially after the declaration of PP 1017. The UP administration then declared the campus a 'political sanctuary' to those being assailed by the Arroyo government.
"This may set a precarious precedent in other campuses. Schools and universities are being transformed into garrisons."
Students from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta. Mesa have also complained of army troops seen lurking inside the campus.
Books not bullets
The youth group also said that it is unfortunate that the Arroyo administration is hell-bent on quelling student dissent but continues to ignore students' legitimate qualms on the state of public tertiary education.
"Because of Ms. Arroyo's continuous 'cash spree' on questionable programs for her political survival, the education sector is being forced to eke out on a ridiculously low budget. This drives state colleges and universities to employ income-generating and commercialization schemes at the expense of students," said de Guzman.
Recently, UP students have been protesting against a system-wide imposition of a 100 percent library fee increase (from P400 to P800). The UP College of Medicine has also protested against a whopping tuition fee increase for this academic year.
The youth group demanded that Ms. Arroyo re-channel her P1 B counter-insurgency fund to education and other basic services instead. ###