the politics of hope

Many UP students, especially the older ones, sadly proclaim that our University is indeed a microcosm of Philippine society in general, especially in regards to politics. The candidates with the best programs, platforms, track records, and analysis & stands on issues lose out to those with lots of money and easy on the eyes. We see Miriam (back when she wasn’t that crazy) in ’92 and Roco in ’98 and ’04 lose to Ramos and Erap and Gloria, respectively. We see the parties that opposed Tuition Fee Increases, abduction of UP students, and Admin meddling in the PGH lose.

Additionally, the political parties that dare to criticize Administration wrong-doing are subjected to black propaganda, surveillance, and other forms of harassment. We see MAKABAYAN partylists such as Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, and KABATAAN sustain more than a thousand casualties at the hands of the military. We see the reds in UPLB being harassed by the military itself.

Then comes this year’s UP student council elections. In UP Cebu and UP Baguio, the reds are elected as the majority in their respective councils. In UP Diliman, the positions of chairperson and vice-chairperson are reclaimed. Many students, as well as alumni, jubilantly proclaim No! UP politics is not subject to the same rottenness of national-level politics!

In UP Diliman, the anti-student parties have been at the helm of the student council for two years running. During that period of time, the student council known to be outspoken in important issues such as Hello Garci, human rights violations, and the ZTE-NBN deal fell silent. At the same time, anti-student measures such as a proposed new Student Code met little or no opposition from the Council. Even in terms of ordinary activities, the Council did little.

In comes the Reds with their themes of collective action and bringing about change: it strikes a chord not only because the 2010 elections is fast approaching, but because it draws a similarity  between the rottenness of those who rule in campus and national politics.

In response, the Blues came out with the most ridiculous claims.

They claimed to have organized the historic protest in Dec.15, 2006, when their member-organizations were having parties while the rest of the students were literally at the barricades.

They claimed to have opposed the Tuition & Other Fee Increase when they immediately accepted it and instead simply tried to add “revisions”. The same “revisions”, which in the form of the STFAP, would only benefit one out of every 100 students in UP.

They claimed to have done-this and done-that, when in truth, their Council incurred debts while one of them was the head of the Ways & Means Committee. They claimed to have done-this and done-that, when in truth, he was at the UP Fair to shake hands with the audience and not to help the organizers. They claimed to have done-this and done-that, when in truth, he was only in his college’s activities to introduce himself to the guests and not help the organizers. They claimed to have done-this and done-that, when in truth, it was one of his rivals from the opposing party who did what he had claimed to do.

They even claimed to have fought for the extension of the voter registration period. Something which I, as a staffer of KABATAAN Partylist’s Rep. Palatino, could easily disprove and something which really really offended me.

With the result of the elections in the said Campus, the Diliman students have sent a resounding message and have turned their backs on the politics of deception, superficiality, incompetence, and support of the status quo. They have affirmed that only the kind of politics that dares to speak out and act on campus and national issues is the kind of politics that actually delivers.

But it ain’t over yet: the politics of deception, superficiality, incompetence, and support of the status quo, might still work its magic on UP Tacloban and UP Manila, whose elections are schedule for March 2 and 5, respectively. Everyone, not just the students from the said campus, must keep a wary watch on the developments. Especially since one fraternity in the latter campus is known to publicly and physically harass and intimidate its opponents.

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