Mula noon hanggang ngayon, mayor na battleground sa UP politics ang STFAP/STS o socialized tuition. Dito nagkakaalaman kung sino talaga ang para sa estudyante at sino ang kontra-estduyante.

Ang karaniwang focus ng debate ay ang socialized tuition vis-à-vis kawalan ng sapat na budget para sa UP.

Ang basic premise ng STFAP/STS noong 1989 ay ang pagtanggap sa realidad na binabawasan ng gobyerno ang budget para sa edukasyon at serbisyong panlipunan. Kung may nominal increase man sa budget ay hindi pa rin ito sapat para sa kabuuang gastusin sa edukasyon.

Malakas ang impluwensya ng mga institusyon ng neoliberalismo tulad ng IMF-WB noong dekada ’80 sa mga programa ng gobyerno. Sa ilalim ni Cory Aquino, tinutulak ang pribatisasyon sa mga serbisyong panlipunan at pagbabawas ng subsidyo upang makabayad ng utang ang gobyerno ng Pilipinas. Kasama na ring sinulong ang liberalization at deregulation sa panahong ito. Itinaguyod din kasi ni Cory ang Automatic Appropriations Law ni Marcos kaya ang pinakamalaking gastusin ng gobyerno ang pagbabayad ng utang, hindi edukasyon.

Dahil may kakulangan sa pondo ang UP, kailangang humanap ng ibang pagkukunan. Ang kagyat na pinagkunan ng ay ang mga estudyante mismo, mula sa kanilang bulsa. Kinailangang magtaas ng matrikula. Ganito ang thinking ng mga dating pangulo ng UP na sina Angara at Abueva noong 80’s, parehon nagpatupad ng TFI noong 1984 at 1989.

Pero para hindi naman masyadong garapal, binihisan ang tuition increase at tinawag na “socialized tuition”. Kunwari ay may mabuting tunguhin– na yung may kaya ang magbabayad para sa walang kaya – pero ang totoong layunin pala ay ipasa sa estudaynte ang responsibilidad ng pagpondo sa edukasyon.

Anti-thetical o taliwas ito sa esensya ng pagiging isang state university ng UP. Inaalis nito sa estado ang responsiblidad ng pagpapa-aral sa kabataan. Tinatangap nito ang maling premise na hindi na lalaki ang badyet para sa edukasyon. Tinatanggap din nito ang maling prayoridad ng gobyerno na mas gusto pang maglalaan ng pondo sa mga programang wala namang pakinabang ang mamamayan.

Lumilikha din ito ng ilusyon na maaaring magkaroon ng social justice sa loob ng UP nang hiwalay sa kabuuan ng lipunan. Hinihiwalay nito ang mga UP students sa laban para dagdagan ang budget ng edukasyon at para baguhin ang lipunan. Sa ilalim ng STFAP/STS, kaya na ng UP magsarili.

Pinakamasahol na panlilinlang ng STFAP/STS ay ang taunang pagtaas ng matrikula habang papaliit ang bilang ng mga “beneficiaries”. Ang STFAP/STS ang pinakamasahol at pinakamapanlinlang na ekspresyon ng Tuition Fee Increase sa UP.

Nagaganap ang TFI sa pamamagitan ng rebracketting o kaya ang mga periodic na across-the-board TFI tulad noong 1989 (naging P200), 1992 (naging P300) , P1,000 nung panahon ni GMA at P1,500 sa panahon ni Aquino.

Kung talagang napakagaling ng sistemang STFAP/STS, bakit hindi umiiksi ang pila sa loan board? Bakit may mga pumapasa ng UPCAT na hindi nagtutuloy dahil sa taas ng bayarin?

Ano ang alternatibo sa STFAP/STS?

Mula noong hanggang ngayon malinaw ang alternatibo ng mga progresibo. Dagdag na subsidy sa UP para signipikanteng maibaba ang tuition. Dagdag na subsidy rin para palawigin pa ang programang scholarship ng gobyerno para sa mga estudyanteng wala talagang pagkukunan ng pambayad (yung mga STFAP Bracket 1-4 noon o Bracket E ngayon).

Ibig sabihin, hindi tinatanggap ng mga estudyante ang maling premise na walang pondo para sa UP at sa sistemang edukasyon sa kabuuan. Anumang programa na naglalayong i-reporma lang ang STFAP/STS ay nangangahulugan nang pagsuko at pagtanggap sa kawalang prayoridad ng gobyerno sa edukasyon. Pagpayag ito sa pag-abandona ng estado sa responsiblidad nito. Hindi maaaring i-reporma ang programang sa umpisa pa lang ay komersyalisasyon na ang layon.

Hindi na bago ang tangkang i-reporma ang socialized tuition ng UP. Tinangka ito ng UP student movement noong 1990. Nagsikap gumawa ng sariling bersyon ng mas “demokratikong” STFAP. Pero nauwi lang ito sa pagtutulak ng rebracketting at mas mahol pa, nagbigay daan para sa pagtaas ng matrikula noong 1992. Kaya di nakapagtataka na ang mga sumunod na tangka ng reporma at rebracketting sa STFAP/STS ay nauwi din sa pagtaas ng matrikula.

Kung sasabihin ng ilan na mali naman na i-subsidize pa ang paparaming bilang ng “mayayamang” estudyante sa UP, ipakita natin na kasalanan ng STFAP/STS at ng pag-abandona ng pambansang pamahalaan kung bakit nababawasan ang bilang ng mahihirap sa UP. Kaya nga sinusulong natin ang pagbasura sa STFAP/STS, para madagdagan ang mga estudyanteng mula sa pamilyang low-income.

Sa kongkreto, dapat lakihan ang subsidy per student. Noong late 90’s ay sinasabing aabot ng P24,000 ang cost of education per student. Magkano kung gayon ang kailangan para mapaaral ang buong student population ng UP nang libre? Siguradong mas maliit naman ang halagang ito kumpara sa ginagastos para sa debt servicing at presidential pork. Bakit hindi kayang ilaan ito ng gobyerno?

Sa huli, ang pagkilos ng mga estudyante ang magtatakda kung magkaano sa aktwal ang magiging tuition sa UP. Ang malinaw, hindi dapat P1,500/unit ang binabayaran ng mga estudyante. Ang malinaw ay mali at mapanlinlang ang iskemang STFAP/STS. Hindi rin indispensable ng STFAP/STS. Hindi ito ang tanging paraan o balangkas ng pagbabayad ng tuition sa kasaysayan ng UP.

Sa 2019 ang ika-30 taon ng iskemang socialized tuition sa UP. Napapanahon na magkaroon ng malakas at sustenidong kampanya sa susunod na apat na taon para ibasura ang kontra-estudyante at kontra-mamamayang programa na ito.

"May sofa kayo? #BracketAKaNa"

philippines-us-special-forces-training-afp

Both the Board of Inquiry and the Senate Committee reports on Mamasapano point out US involvement in the botched operation to get Marwan and Usman, both wanted men by the US government.
The reports are official admissions by Philippine authorities that the US did play a role in the fiasco in Mamasapano. The reports refute earlier pronouncements by the US embassy that there was no US involvement in the operation. The Senate report in particular refutes the statements of the Department of Foreign Affairs that the operation was 100% Filipino.

The two reports however stopped short of truly uncovering the US role. They have given us more questions than answers. There should be another venue to probe the actual extent of US involvement in the police operation that claimed at least 67 Filipino lives.

Here are some questions that need to be answered so that a full accounting of the responsibilities of the principal actors in the operation can be made.

  1. Was Aquino, as commander-in-chief and chief architect of foreign policy, at any time aware of the involvement of the US in the plans to get Marwan? Did he allow US participation all the way to the Tactical Command Post which was the nerve center of the entire operation?
  2. Who exactly were the six Americans at the Tactical Command Post? Were they mere private contractors and if so, which US agency hired them? Were they from the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines? Or the CIA or FBI? Napenas called the Americans his “counterparts”, implying that they were acting in some official capacity on behalf of the US government. Who was Allan Katz or Allan Konz? What is his designation?
  3. Did the US extend funding for this operation? This question is relevant because the BOI says the P100,000 budget claimed by SAF Director Napenas was unrealistic. If the operation did not go through regular chain of command, Napenas must have gotten funding from somewhere else. Was it the US who was funding the operation? How will this be audited, if at all?
  4. What exactly were the six Americans doing at the Tactical Command Post? Were they simply watching from monitors or giving orders to their Filipino counterparts? Why would one American have the audacity to order a Filipino general to fire artillery? Was this the type of relationship he had with the SAF? Under what existing military agreement are these Americans able to participate in a combat operation by being at the Tactical Command Post?
  5. If indeed the US was able to provide real-time information on the location of the Filipino troops and other armed groups, why was there a problem with providing grid-coordinates so that the Philippine military could rescue the surrounded SAF troopers, particularly the 55th SAF? Is it true that the sole focus of the US forces were the 84th Seaborne because they had the evidence of Marwan’s death?

The Board of Inquiry created by the DILG to look into the Mamasapano operation released its report today to the public. Here are the five biggest losers as a result of the report.

  1. President Benigno Aquino III –  It was he who approved Oplan Exodus, which the BOI would describe as a plan that was defective from the start. It was Aquino who allowed the participation of the suspended PNP Chief Alan Purisima in the operation, thereby violating the PNP chain of command and the Ombudsman suspension order. It was Aquino who did not give any guidance insofar as the peace negotiations with the MILF was concerned. The BOI report exposed as lies many of the statements initially given by the President, including the claim that Purisima was merely a consultant on operational jargon and that as president, he did not personally approve the plan to get Marwan.
  2. General Alan Purisima – If Aquino was the one who approved Oplan Exodus, the suspended Purisima was its implementor, along with SAF Director Getulio Napenas. Purisima no longer was part of the chain of command. He had no authority coordinating meetings and giving instructions to PNP personnel. He had no authority coordinating with other agencies and officials. Purisima also took it upon himself to coordinate with the AFP Chief of Staff, which he obviously failed to do. Purisima, not the PNP OIC, was the one updating the president at the early stages of the fighting in Mamasapano.
  3. Gen. Getulio Napenas – The former SAF director knowingly violated the chain of command by taking orders from the suspended Purisima and by not reporting to the PNP OIC. The BOI also thought that the plan presented by Napenas was doomed to fail. The BOI did not agree with the time-on-target concept of Napenas, which the BOI said was incompatible with the protocols of the PNP.
  4. The US government – Despite denials by the US embassy, the BOI report pointed out that the US government was involved in the Mamasapano operation, particularly in intelligence gathering, real-time intel, as well as medical evacuation. The BOI report affirmed that there were 6 Americans at the tactical command post of the SAF on the eve of the operation, during the operation and up to the time of the evacuation of the wounded. The BOI report also affirmed that the principal evidence of Marwans’ death, his finger, was brought to the FBI and not to the PNP. The BOI report exposes the US government as having lied about its real involvement in the bloody operation. It could be assumed that the PNP SAF were reporting directly to their US counterparts and that, in an anomalous turn, the US already knew of the Marwan operation ahead of local officials such as the PNP OIC and the DILG secretary.
  5. DILG secretary Mar Roxas – After releasing the BOI report to the public, Roxas blames Purisima for the Mamasapano fiasco but DEFENDS the President. His statements to the media today were untenable to say the least. The conclusions of the BOI report were pretty self-explanatory yet Roxas chose to look the other way when it came to the liability of the President. So pathetic was Mar that one reporter squirmed at his statements exonerating the President. He could have gained much respect if he had taken an independent stance and not kissed the butt of the President. But alas, Mar blew his chance. Not even his showdown with Junjun Binay can save his political stock now.

The Filipino people may end up losers too in the end if we do not act now to hold accountable those responsible for Mamasapano. The BOI report merely affirmed what we already knew and suspected. To take the position of Roxas, to act as if the President was not at all responsible, is to deny the evidence staring us in the face. It is to accept without the least resistance, the lies and excuses of those who are liable for the tragic incident.

We have had enough. Now more than ever, Aquino must go.

“Yellow” Logic

Posted: March 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

Pag critical sa BBL, tawag agad ay “enemy of peace”.

Pag kontra sa palpak na CARP, ang tawag agad ay pro-landlord.

Pag kontra kay Aquino, kampi daw kasi kay Binay.

Pag kontra sa US, pro-China agad ang turing.

Yellow logic is quite similar to the George W. Bush mindset. “Your’re either with us or against us.”

It is simplistic and non-sequitur. It insults our collective intelligence and covers up the wrongdoings of the current dispensation. Sila lang lagi ang tama. Lahat tayo ay mali.

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Sir, the times demand that you come out and fully explain the involvement of President Benigno Aquino III and his buddy Gen. Alan Purisima in the botched Mamasapano operation. It is not enough that you quietly take all the blame. That would be dishonoring the memory of your men. That would not bring their families closure.

Sir, what really transpired during your January 9 meeting with the President? What were his orders to you and Purisima in relation to Mamasapano?

You have to explain why you followed Purisima’s order of not coordinating early enough with the other government agencies. You have to explain whose idea really was the time-on-target coordination and what the reaction of the President was to this recommendation. You have to explain why you followed the orders of a suspended general. We all know that Purisima’s words were not just mere advice. Purisima’s words seemed to be backed up by some authority emanating from the President. You said so yourself during the Senate hearing. You had no choice but to follow since Purisima was directly in touch with the President.

At this point, Sir, you have nothing to loose. But more than that, you owe it to the nation to come out with the truth. More than 40 days have passed since Mamasapano and we’re still asking questions. Can you help by providing us real and complete answers?

Dear Mar,
It has been a difficult 40 days for the Filipino people and the families of all those who died in the Mamasapano incident. I could imagine it has been a difficult period for you as well.

I heard your radio interview today as you announced that the Board of Inquiry report will be out soon and that you also sought answers to the questions on everyone’s mind. I also saw your TV interview and how you said that despite being kept in the dark about Mamasapano, you think it was still the President’s call and that you seemed to accept that. But you said it, seemingly with a heavy heart.

Both in the radio interview and in the Senate hearings, you always stopped short of bringing the issue of accountability to the President. Reasonable people believe that the President, in assigning his suspended buddy Gen. Purisima, violated the Ombudsman suspension order as well as the PNP chain of command. This violation, which was the basis of the utter lack of coordination among government agencies, proved to be fatal for the SAF.

How can you be so blind to this basic conclusion when it is already staring you in the face? You of all people should know this.

How can you stand the constant lying of the President; when he said that he would wait for the BOI probe on why you and Gen. Espina weren’t informed, when clearly he already knew WHY you weren’t informed. Aquino after all coordinated only with Purisima throughout the entire planning, preparation and execution of the operation to get Marwan. Aquino already knew of Napenas’ recommendation that Espina and the AFP would only be informed “time on target”, meaning you and the PNP chain of command will be kept out of the loop up to the last minute. How can you accept the lie that the President was only consulting Purisima about the jargon of the operation, when text messages reveal that Purisima was providing updates to the President and that the President in turn was giving instructions to Purisima.

Aquino even said in his first televised addressed that he previously discussed the Marwan operations with you, yet in the briefing with Napenas on January 26, you clearly said you had no idea of previous attempts to get Marwan.

How can you convince people of your leadership qualities when you meekly accept that you were left out of the loop in Mamasapano; that when you reported to the President, all he texted was “thank you” along with the reminder that you shouldn’t publicly discuss details of the operation?

Mar, it is not enough to tell the public that you didn’t know of the operation in Mamasapano. It is not enough to claim ignorance. That does not establish the accountability of those who knew. That does not render justice to those who died.

Mar, your current position is untenable and downright pathetic. How long will you go along with the lies? How long will you allow yourself to be treated like a presidential doormat? How do you expect people to respect you as a leader when you allow yourself to be disrespected by the person you claim to serve?

Are you still waiting for Aquino’s endrosement for 2016? Seriously, do you think that would do you any good?

But this is not just about you and your personal political ambitions. There is a lot more at stake here. By allowing yourself to be part of the grand cover up, you disrespect the memories of the men who died under your watch. You commit a great disservice to the Filipino people. And you again show us what kind of a leader you are in the face of a crisis.

Mar, please do yourself a favor. Please do everyone a favor. Stop defending Aquino. Make a stand. Give up your post as a sign of protest. In doing so, you will gain a lot more respect now than you ever did during the last 5 years. ###

 

After talking with the AFP generals in Zamboanga about Mamasapano, Aquino proceeded with his original schedule of visiting the Zamboanga blast site.

In an interview today on DZMM, AFP Chief of Staff Gregorio Catapang who was with the President in the morning of January 25 said that he did not inform the President of the ongoing Mamasapano encounter as he did not think it was yet that important compared to Aquino’s original agenda in Zamboanga. Aquino was already in Zamboanga at 8am while the firefight between the PNP SAF and various armed groups was ongoing.

It was only at 2:00 pm says Catapang that the President asked him what was going on in Mamasapano. By this time, the entire 55th SAF was already overrun by armed groups, having sent their last radio transmission.

News reports say that it was around this time that Aquino met with the military officials who were with him in Zamboanga. The meeting caused a delay in the President’s itinerary. Aquino would emerge from the meeting with the AFP officials and proceed to the Zamboanga blast site at 3:30pm and a hospital visit.

Catapang tells DZMM that he was not the one who informed the President and that Aquino was the one asking the questions in the afternoon of January 25. Strangely, it was only then that Catapang started updating Aquino of developments in Mamasapano up to 11:30pm that day, when the President had already returned to Manila.

At today’s Senate hearing, Catapang, DILG secretary Roxas and DND secretary Gazmin all said that they were not the ones who informed the President of the unfolding crisis in Mamasapano.

If not Catapang, Roxas and Gazmin, who then was updating the President? When did the President know of the Mamasapano crisis and what did he do upon finding out? Only the president can answer this question.

It certainly appears that someone else, very likely the suspended Alan Purisima, was updating the President. If the President was indeed informed earlier of the incident, what did he do? Why did it take him between 1pm and 2pm to meet his military officials in Zamboanga, at which time the entire SAF blocking force was already decimated. And why did the President simply went on with his original itinerary as the crisis was unfolding?

Was Purisima giving Aquino assurances that the crisis was being handled? If so, why was Aquino taking advice from a suspended official? Was Aquino simply clueless as to the gravity of the situation in relation to the lives of his own men and in relation to the peace process? The guidance he reportedly gave AFP Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. GenRustico Guerrero .was to exert “best effort” in the rescue of the SAF.

The situation in Zamboanga also raises questions about the role of Purisima. If indeed he was the one informing the president and even AFP’s Catapang, it only shows that the operation was being run by the suspended PNP official.

When Purisima was asked by the Senate on whether or not he informed the President at any time about the debacle in Mamasapano, he avoided the question and instead requested for clearance from the President.

That answer alone tells us a lot about what was going on and who the President was listening to all the time.

The Aquino-Purisima clique is at the center of the Mamasapano incident. The two share responsibility for the bloody incident. The two cannot invoke executive privilege to cover up their involvement. ###