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MASSCOMMUNITY Statement on President Aquino’s Third State of the Nation Address

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MASSCOMMUNITY Statement on President Aquino’s Third State of the Nation Address More than two years ago the College of Mass Communication was united by the event that took the lives of 58 people, including 32 media workers and one still missing. Setting aside differences, students, faculty members, administration, and staff stood for one goal: calling justice for the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre. Two years ago, a new leader was chosen to occupy the presidency, promising to steer the country towards the daang matuwid and vowing to serve the interest of the Filipino people in his inaugural speech telling the masses, “Kayo ang boss ko.” At present, two state of the nation addresses (SONA) have passed yet majority of the suspects of the Maguindanao Massacre remain at large. Recently, supposed state witnesses, six of them including relatives of witnesses, were killed consecutively during the past few months. Two SONAs have passed, yet family members of victims remain threatened. It has been more than two years, yet the culture of impunity in the country remains. We condemn the continued militarization of areas in the Philippines that has threatened the safety of Filipinos. We call on the immediate justice for political prisoners such as the college’s own Maricon Montajes, currently the youngest of all political prisoners, who had become a victim of militarization schemes and false charges. We stand on these acts as moves that threaten the security of residents in many areas of the country. In addition, victims of enforced disappearances Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, UP students alike, have yet to receive due justice. Their disappearance occurred during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in line with the Oplan Bantay-Laya, and now further continued by President Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan. Beyond the human rights violations in the country, education and social services remain deprived from the Filipino masses. The administration had been catering to pro-foreign, anti-Filipino policies, including the Conditional Cash Transfer program which serves as mere, temporary grant for the poor families instead of creating real opportunities and jobs for the people. Nevertheless, these families will grab the chance to receive the money, but the policy itself still does not comprehensively address poverty. We condemn the railroading of the K+12 program that caters to the globalization of the education system where graduates (if they may even reach graduation), are “produced” as service-labor for the benefit transnational and multinational companies, rather than promoting national growth and industrialization that will increase the nation’s means in providing for its own. The abrupt implementation of the program, whilst gravely lacking in needed facilities, raises doubts as to whether the program would appropriately suit the education system of the country as of the meantime. Meanwhile, State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), institutions which were mandated to provide quality and accessible tertiary education for the basic masses, for years have been left merely with scraps, and are pushed by the Aquino regime to generate their own income instead of providing ample subsidy to operate, thereby slowly privatizing and losing its public character. Globalization schemes in the education sector reflect the administration’s keen eye on the Public-Private Partnership Program (PPP), which promotes development of private establishments at the expense of unregulated consequences to the public, including price increase on basic commodities and services. The act liberates the government from its duty of amply ensuring the welfare of its people. As a media institution, Masscommunity believes that the College ought to serve as the voice of the people, and must lead in taking a stand on the issues at hand. The alliance, together with the different sectors in the College, calls against the contractualization of workers in many private sectors, including media workers in the industry. Contractualization decreases workers’ benefits and salaries, but provides enormous profit gain for huge industries. Workers must be secured of their means of livelihood and not treated as mere cogs to a machine nor capitals. In this year’s SONA, we, the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, call upon the administration to hold accountable suspects of the Maguindanao Massacre, to provide protection to the families of victims and witnesses, act upon the increasing human rights violations in the country, address the issues on economic security, social services and education, and develop concrete programs for welfare development of every Filipino. As a mass media community, we will not simply sit down and wait for change to happen, nor will we simply report obscure facts to the people. We, as citizens of this nation are obliged to act for change to happen and call on the administration to give ear to the cry of the masses. We call on President Aquino in his third SONA, to put into concrete action and policies his promises two years back. If the administration would truly act upon the vow he left the Filipino people, then the rightful action would be to side with his true bosses, the masses -- not the twisting system of global, local and private politics. JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE! END THE CULTURE OF IMPUNITY! STOP HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS! FREE MARICON MONTAJES AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS! NO TO K+12 AND COMMERCIALIZATION OF EDUCATION! EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES FOR ALL! END CONTRACTUALIZATION OF WORKERS! MAALAM. MAY PAKIALAM. MASKOM.

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