Fifth column refers to undercover agents operating within the ranks of an enemy to undermine its cause… Their activities include spying, sabotage… The term fifth column was first used during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) to describe the work of Francisco Franco’s followers in Loyalist Madrid. Emilio Mola, a general under Franco, said, “I have four columns moving against Madrid, and a fifth will rise inside the city itself.” – World Book, Volume 7
- Last September 24, more than two thousand students in Metro Manila alone walked out of their classes to protest a proposed P1.1 billion operating budget cut to State Universities and Colleges for next year. They were led by youth groups Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, Karatula, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, National Union of Students in the Philippines, and Kabataan Partylist.
- From October 1 to 8, the same groups held daily anti-budget cut protests in various gov’t agencies, culminating in a lightning rally inside Noynoy Aquino’s town hall meeting to report on his 100 days in office.
- By the 27th of the same month, Anakbayan calls for a ‘storm’ of protests against the budget cuts. This was reiterated by the Sept. 24 organizers on the 7th of November. By the 17th, more than a hundred youth organizations and personalities banded together to form the KILOS NA LABAN SA BUDGET CUT alliance.
- Meanwhile by November 14, the Akbayan-affiliated UP Diliman party, Alyansa, begins its barrage of online and offline propaganda calling for the removal of the campus University Student Council chairperson based on a clause in Diliman’s student election rules, instead of the Council’s constitution. In UPLB, the same barrage was done by their University Student Council, which is dominated by the anti-‘red’ Buklod party. The said parties are curiously absent when the KILOS NA alliance was formed.
- By the 18th of the month, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, with the support of its President, begins its strike. On the 24th, the Phil. Association of State Universities and Colleges announces its support for the mammoth December 1 rally to the Senate. And by 8am the next day, UP Diliman and Manila started their strikes.
- Only on 12:27 pm of that day did the UP Diliman Alyansa announce its ‘support’ for the strike. Yet the organization, or any of its individuals, was absent in the Strike program and in the program the next day. On the evening of that day, the first ever statement by any member of the UPLB University Student Council regarding the budget cuts were made: and it was not a statement by the entire Council, but only of the Chairperson.
- Going back to the 1st day of the UP strikes, at 3pm, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano visited the UP Manila strike area at the invitation of KILOS NA. There, he expressed his support for the anti-budget cut campaign.
- On the 1st of December, while 10,000 students, teachers, and SUCs’ employees held a rally outside the Senate, he and other Senators introduced an amendment adding P146 million to the 2011 SUCs’ budget.
- Around 3pm – At the invitation of the KILOS NA LABAN SA BUDGET CUT, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano visits the UP Manila strike area to express his support for the strike.
- During the evening – the UPLB USC chairperson releases a personal letter expressing ‘concern’ regarding the budget cuts.
- December 1 – 10,000 students, teachers, and SUC employees march to the Senate to demand the removal of the budget cuts. By the evening, an amendment adding P146 million to the total 2011 SUCs budget cut is introduced and adopted by the Senate.
- December 4 – UP School of Economics professor Winnie Monsod virtually echoes the statement of the Alyansa-dominated UP School of Economics Student Council in her column, calling for the removal of the UPD USC chairperson.
*Meanwhile, not a single statement has been heard from the ‘blue’ UP Manila party, or any of the student councils that it had dominated.