It may be from UP Manila, but this speaks the minds of all Iskolar ng Bayan. READ ON.

Message:UP Manila University Student Council

PRESS STATEMENT
August 29, 2006

To Sec. Gonzales: To Be an Iskolar ng Bayan Is
To Serve the People Not GMA – UP Manila
University Student Council

The University Student Council of the University of
the Philippines Manila condemns to the highest
order the totally irresponsible statements of DOJ
Secretary Raul Gonzales against the premier state
university as a breeding ground of destabilizers and
naked runners. Last year, he has already been
rebuked by the Iskolars ng Bayan for uttering the
same tirades against UP, and yet has persisted in
insinuating those same statements against our
esteemed university.

There is a need for Sec. Gonzales to retake his
class in Philippine History for his utter ignorance
on the sacrifices of the Iskolars ng Bayan for the
restoration and development of democracy in the
country for more than forty years. During the First
Quarter Storm, if it were not for the marching
Iskolars ng Bayan, fighting side by side with other
marginalized sectors of society in those fateful
days before Martial Law, how shall the people
know that President Marcos would emerge as the
despot and dictator that he would become for the
next twenty years? Even during the darkest days of
Martial Law, the Iskolars ng Bayan were at the
forefront of the struggle against the dictatorship.
They trooped to the slums, the countryside and the
factories to empower the people to face the
dictatorship head-on that climaxed in the
Revolution in EDSA in 1986.

We need not look that far in our history to know
that Iskolars ng Bayan struggle and fight for a
worthy cause, unlike how Sec. Gonzales pictures
the university. In 2001, tens of thousands Iskolars
ng Bayan walked out of their classes and marched
once again to EDSA at the height of the ouster of
President Estrada over corruption charges. In these
historic events of our nation’s democracy and in all
other issues affecting education, the youth and the
rights of the people, the Iskolars ng Bayan have
remained true for the purpose of its existence – to
serve the people, in all the nakedness and sacrifice
that the Oblation represents, and Sec. Gonzales
ridicules.

He ought to be reminded that the gratitude for the
subsidized education of the Iskolar ng Bayan is not
to the government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It is
under this government that UP has suffered the
biggest budget cuts in its entire history, where
efforts to commercialize and privatize the university
continue to threaten our education. More so, it is
under this government that Iskolars ng Bayan doing
academic work in the countryside are abducted
and forcibly disappeared without a trace by
suspected military agents. These are all gross
violations of the Iskolars ng Bayan’s right to
education and academic freedom, of which Sec.
Gonzales is complicit to, for blindly defending an
illegitimate president that has never stood for the
rights of the Iskolars ng Bayan. With Sec.
Gonzales’ pronouncements that UP is a haven of
subversives, it is a tacit warning to the Iskolars ng
Bayan that even students are now being profiled
and subjected to surveillance operations by
government security forces as are media entities
critical of the government.

Contrary to what Sec. Gonzales claims, it is to the
Filipino people that the Iskolars ng Bayan owe their
education – through their taxes, their labor and
their produce. It is to the Filipino people that the
gratitude and allegiance of the Iskolar ng Bayan
belong. It is they that the Iskolars ng Bayan truly
serve.

The Iskolars ng Bayan are not cowering in fear with
the veiled threats of Sec. Gonzales against the
University of the People. Even if this means that
the Iskolars ng Bayan would have to sacrifice once
again against a repressive regime such as this in
the defense of democracy we all so hold dear – we
are game.

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