Yesterday, while I was browsing my facebook account, online news and blogs, a friend’s chat message popped out asking if what I thought about the anti-TOFI rally in PUP last March 24. Although I wasn’t there, I’ve been following the protest actions in UP and PUP ever since the controversial burning of chairs that has been subjected to a lot of discussions and comments especially in facebook. My friend and I exchanged a lot of messages, trying to explain the actions of the students from UP and PUP. I quoted a lot of status and comments from facebook to help him understand more. Before he logged out, he thanked me for clarifying the issue. I’m just hoping that he really was clarified.
After the controversial “violent” and “radical” rally in UP Diliman, PUP and the CHED’s office (where students from the two universities met), I read some posts of the account and views on what happened during those rallies like Anton Dulce, Floyd Tiongson and Danny Arao‘s posts. I also read posts against the paint bombs, burning of chairs, destroying CHED’s gate, and other actions tagged as violent. After reading all of those posts, I was further resolved of the form of mass action the UP and PUP protesters resorted to.
History has taught us that mere dialogues, petitions and other similar actions are empty without the support and mobilization of the sectors concerned backed up with enough pressure from them to win a certain struggle. History also taught us that when these actions have been continuously ignored and tyrannical rule insist on its ways, what students did in UP and PUP, how “violent” and “barbaric” it may be, is always an option.
The attempt to railroad the approval of P.E. fees and other fees increase in UP and the proposal to increase PUP’s tuition that was blocked because of the protests is just a tactical victory, but a victory nonetheless which is a result of the mass actions. If it weren’t for the protests, I wonder what happened to those proposals.
After the tactical gains, the PUP and UP protesters (even the non protesters) should be more vigilant. The fight doesn’t end there. Given with our experience of promises from powers-that-be, CHED Chairman Angeles’ promise not to allow any increase in fees is not a guarantee.
But what happens if he doesn’t fulfill his promise? If another the PE and other fees increase will be railroaded by the BOR? Will it end up with another “violent” and “radical” mass actions? What other options do the students have?
No wonder a lot of our fellow Filipinos choose a higher form of struggle.