Sunday, February 6, 2011

The UPV University Student Council's Official Statement on the Love Nature! Park

4 February 2011

“Education in this country has abdicated its responsibility as an agent for social change. Instead of acting as a catalyst in the birth of new ideas, instead of performing the function of critic of society, our educational system fosters conformism and adjustment to the status quo.”

-         Renato Constantino, Dissent and Counter-consciousness

 The UPV University Student Council's Official Statement on the Love Nature! Park

Before the previous year ended, the UPV Administration, through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development (OVCPD), presented a new project to be constructed inside UPV Miag-ao which covers around 19.6 hectares of the total land area of the campus – the Love Nature! Park (LN!P). This is a support facility that would, according to the administration, suffice the needs of the university in terms of budget as well as a laboratory for students. However, amidst the verve of the Administration to make this project materialized, basic needs of the constituency have not been realized.

Because of the commercialized, colonial and fascist characteristics of our educational system, various anti-student and anti-people policies have been implemented in academic institutions – increases in the tuition and other fees are rampant; imposition of different laboratory fees has been collected; idle assets are being leased to private agencies and corporations for business purposes; students’ rights are being casted off. And in recent years, this has been apparent in our very own university.

As the highest body of students, mandated to be at the forefront when their rights and interests have been stamped down, the UPV University Student Council strongly opposes the newly BOR-approved Project Love Nature! Park in UPV Miag-ao Campus. Aside from the issue of non-consultation (genuine) with the students and other sectors in the university, we believe that such is not a necessity in the University but a scheme to affirm and further the rampant commercialization policies and schemes to slowly and eventually privatize our education. This is a clear manifestation of the abandonment of the state in their financial responsibility to allocate higher budget for State Colleges and Universities and to the whole education sector.

We believe that the University of the Philippines – Visayas, as well as all other units system-wide, does not need a commercial park to be established in the campus. What we need are additional laboratories and equipment that are updated and efficient. What we need are facilities, dormitories and expansion of our college buildings which we deem academically significant for us to flourish. Thus, the argument that the LN!P serves as a laboratory for students remains only a MYTH and a divisive tool to split the lines of the students and the rest of the constituents. For where can you find the needed laboratories inside an airsoft or camping grounds or in the great outdoors?

Yes, we have vast lands which were not utilized for years and years. Yes, the university is in dire need of a higher budget to maintain its services and daily operations. However, our vast lands are meant for academic purposes, not for any business intentions. With the LN!P, the University widely opens and stripped off itself to private entities which are profit-driven rather than service-driven; private entities which are not accountable to the UP community but to their investors. Since it’s one of which is open to public, and given the present condition where the university lacks funds, it is to be expected that services for students will not be of utmost priority unless the needs and demands of the market has been satisfied.

We are cognizant of the fact that a large amount of our budget was cut. Nonetheless, it does not follow that leasing our idle assets such as our vast lands can answer this problem. Still, the best solution for this is to assert and continue our legitimate fight for greater state subsidy. The UPV Administration must look on the material condition of the university to find just and appropriate solutions for the problems.

We believe that in order for the University to maintain its function as the premier public academic institution for the people, it must maintain its public character and must genuinely uphold the interests of its constituents. It must therefore be responsive to the dire needs of its constituents and the people and critical in forwarding them rather than going with the current and accept the present flow of time. Hence, implementing projects where the interest and academic growth of the students and all other constituents is undermined over the interest for profit is an act of infidelity to the broader masses. The gradual deflection of the university into a private institution is a grave felony that only serves the few.

Thus, we call on all Iskolars ng Bayan as well as all other sectors in the university, to unite in the fight against commercialization and privatization of UP. Let us once again be at the forefront in asserting our rights for democratic access and governance. We have already proven that our collective action is the decisive force to initiate tangible and effective change. Our December 1 Movement against the Php1.39 Billion Budget Cut to UP stands evident to that. Let us continue our fight with much stronger, broader and higher unities within our line.

Iskolars ng Bayan, the conditions to further our struggle already lies clearly before our very eyes. Together, let us move forward with clenched fists. Let us move forward and regain the once University of the Philippines for the people with our will, determination and correct principles!

PRIORITIZE the urgent needs of the students!
OPPOSE AND STOP the Love Nature! Park!

NO to Commercialization of Education!
NO to State Abandonment!

UPHOLD THE PUBLIC CHARACTER OF UP AS A PEOPLE’S UNIVERSITY                                                             


The UPV University Student Council is a member of the Katipunan ng mga Sangguniang Mag-aaral sa U.P. (KASAMA sa UP), the first, broadest and most comprehensive student council alliance in the whole UP System and the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), the widest nationawide alliance of student councils.

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