#DefendPressFreedom Forum Live Blog here Feb. 6 10am #universityofthephilippines #UPDiliman CMC (see posts, comments section below)

(on mobile device: To stream today’s OPM, pls click “Listen in browser” on the soundcloud pod below …  )

#DefendPressFreedom Forum Live Blog here on Feb. 6, 2018, Wednesday at 10am -1:30pm at the University of the Philippines Diliman College of Mass Communication auditorium  (see posts, comments section below starting at 10:30am Feb. 6, for the live blog)

my notes: On the constant threats and warnings constantly, consistently, and unceasingly issued by President Duterte against Rappler, the Inquirer, ABS-CBN, and now the U.P. student movement, the President should take heed of what the Supreme Court  laid down in the leading case of Chavez vs. DOJ Sec Raul Gonzales G.R. No. 168338, February 15, 2008 on the warnings and threats issued by the then DOJ Secretary and the NTC that they would prosecute and jail all those who played the Hello Garci tapes by applying  the Anti-Wiretapping Law, the Supreme Court speaking through then Chief Justice Puno  held:

      CJ Puno: “ xxx It is sufficient that the press statements were made by respondents while in the exercise of their official functions. Undoubtedly, respondent Gonzales made his statements as Secretary of Justice, while the NTC issued its statement as the regulatory body of media. Any act done, such as a speech uttered, for and on behalf of the government in an official capacity is covered by the rule on prior restraint. The concept of an “act” does not limit itself to acts already converted to a formal order or official circular. Otherwise, the non formalization of an act into an official order or circular will result in the easy circumvention of the prohibition on prior restraint. The press statements at bar are acts that should be struck down as they constitute impermissible forms of prior restraints on the right to free speech and press.
        “There is enough evidence of chilling effect of the complained acts on record. The warnings given to media came from no less the NTC, a regulatory agency that can cancel the Certificate of Authority of the radio and broadcast media. They also came from the Secretary of Justice, the alter ego of the Executive, who wields the awesome power to prosecute those perceived to be violating the laws of the land. After the warnings, the KBP inexplicably joined the NTC in issuing an ambivalent Joint Press Statement. After the warnings, petitioner Chavez was left alone to fight this battle for freedom of speech and of the press. This silence on the sidelines on the part of some media practitioners is too deafening to be the subject of misinterpretation.
       “The constitutional imperative for us to strike down unconstitutional acts should always be exercised with care and in light of the distinct facts of each case. For there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to slippery constitutional questions, and the limits and construct of relative freedoms are never set in stone. Issues revolving on their construct must be decided on a case to case basis, always based on the peculiar shapes and shadows of each case. But in cases where the challenged acts are patent invasions of a constitutionally protected right, we should be swift in striking them down as nullities per se. A blow too soon struck for freedom is preferred than a blow too late.

      “xxx (T)he petition is GRANTED. The writs of certiorari and prohibition are hereby issued, nullifying the official statements made by respondents on June 8, and 11, 2005 warning the media on airing the alleged wiretapped conversation between the President and other personalities, for constituting unconstitutional prior restraint on the exercise of freedom of speech and of the press. xxx SO ORDERED.”

#UniversityofthePhilippines #UPDiliman UP Students issue a comeback to Duterte’s threat (see comments below)

UP Students issue a comeback to Duterte’s threat: _ _ _ _ (see comments below) 

   University of the Philippines students issued a comeback to Duterte’s threat that he would “give their slots to bright Lumads” because of their walkouts yesterday on calls of “Defend Press Freedom”, “Fight Charter Change”, “Uphold Civil and Political Liberties”, and “Oust  D_ _ _ _ _ _ _!” — by using what they learned inside and outside the classroom (see posts of UP students below)…



Identities verified by blog admin (copy-pasted from the comments section below, embedded in the order that they were posted):

From K: “Mga ka-DDS!! Wag kayong magpapauto sa mga UP Student na yan kasi binigyan naman sila ng 6 na unexcused absences. Dapat kasi tinanggal na nila yun!!! Dapat kasi nag-aaral na lang talaga sila kahit break!!!

“Pero tama nga naman si Du30 kasi dapat naman talagang mabigyan ng pagkakataong mag-aral ang mga Lumad na di nakakapag-aral dahil ibebenta na raw ung lupain nila :(((

“Tapos seseryosohin nanaman nila ung mga jokes ng ating presidente. Di talaga makaintindi yang mga UP Students na yan kaya tuloy nahihirapan pa ang spokesperson niya na klaruhin ang mga sinasabi ni Du30.

“Di to fake news !!!! Blog ko lang to kaya I am entitled to my freedom of expression.” 

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From M: “While I am not a fan of skipping classes, according to the university’s rule on absences, we, the UP students, are entitled to having a maximum of 6 absences per semester. Surely, my fellow UP students, who also fought for #FreeQualityEducation for all, recognize the privilege of having a UP education, and are aware of the consequences of walking out of their classes. I believe that whatever consequences they might face are far less important than the problems that we face as a nation and I thank my fellow UP students for bringing awareness through going out on the streets. Also, at this point, I don’t really take Duterte’s big mouth seriously. The next thing we can expect from this administration is probably a statement telling that Duterte was just joking, or that he’ll order the bombing of Lumad schools in Mindanao again. Truly, this administration is full of inconsistencies.” 

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From L: “On a speech that was held in Davao City last Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to kick out students from the University of the Philippines (UP) who will continue to protest against his administration and its policies. The said students have walked out of their classes as part of their protest, and Duterte reasoned out that these students should be kicked out because they were wasting taxpayers’ money for not attending classes. His statement  received criticism from the protesters, saying that his actions show sensitivity towards criticism against him.

“Duterte has a point in his statement. All students enrolled in any university have the responsibility to do what is required by the institution. It goes without saying that a student is expected to attend most, if not all, of the classes, or he or she will be left out in terms of the learning process. Also, because taxpayers do subsidize most, if not all, of a UP student’s tuition, UP students should really attend their classes. Taxpayers are working hard for their families and their country, and it would be bad if students will make those efforts simply go to waste.

“However, this does not excuse the negative impact of the Duterte administration’s policies and actions. While the time lost on walking out of classes could have been used for classroom learning, it cannot be denied that the freedom and liberty of the people is in danger. Given that the administration has been expressive of its opposition against criticism, the time lost from classroom learning is a small price to pay if it means that the rights of the people will still be in place. Government officials under Duterte’s administration have historically tried to tone down the implication of his statements afterwards. This is usually because his statements’ received backlash. Criticisms, therefore, play a significant role in keeping the balance in check.

“Still, UP students still need to attend their classes as much as possible. Being a UP student is no use if he or she will not become a UP graduate, anyway.” 

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From S: “The University of the Philippines has a university rule that UP students are given maximum number of 6 absences for every class, and if a student goes over the said absences, automatically the student will receive a failing grade. On this note, I don’t think that our President cannot strip off the privilege of a student to study in the university for skipping their classes because as a UP student I know my boundaries and consequences of skipping classes. If no one will take a stand, or shout to the nation the change we need then who will? As an Iskolar ng Bayan, it’s our responsibility to take stand in the injustices that the government is doing in our country. The students who walk out of their classes does not simply skip class and do nothing, they skip class to fight for change. We cannot just accept and accept all the things the government is saying, most especially our president, even though we know they are doing something wrong. No one has the right, even our president, to take away our privilege in stating and standing for our own opinion.” 

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From I: “Well, it’s nice to know that President Duterte is, at the very least, thinking about the lumad community and their need for quality education. Remember, this is the same man who vowed to bomb lumad schools a few months ago. Talk about a change of heart.

“As far as I’m concerned, the thought that President Duterte needs to take the the slots of UP student-activists and forfeit them to deserving lumad students shows just how broken our educational system is. In the first place, no Filipino should be denied of quality education. So if the State is truly upholding its responsibility to provide free education, then no student, may they be activists or lumad, should be out of school at all.” 

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From C: “Palaging bumabalik sa akin ang tanong na “bakit nga ba tayo naging ‘Iskolar ng Bayan at para sa Bayan’? Dahil lahat ng mga ginagawa natin ay magrereplika ng paglilingkod natin sa pagpapa aral sa atin ng bayan.

“Ngunit nito lamang nakaraang araw ay pinagbantaan ng Pangulong Duterte ang mga mag-aaral ng UP, na sumasama sa mga welga, na papalitan niya ito ng mga batang Lumad mula sa Mindanao.

“Kaya lamang nagkakaroon ng mga ganitong pamamaraan ang mga estudyante ng UP sa kadahilanang may mali silang nakikita sa pamumuno ng kasalukuyang rehimen. Para saan nga ba’t kinakalaban nila ang nagpapa aral sa kanila? (sabi ng mga Ka-DDS)

“Unang-una, hindi sa gobyerno nanggagaling ang pinapa-aral sa mga iskolar ng bayan, kung hindi sa buwis na ibinabayad ng BAYAN.

“Pangalawa, kinakikitaan na isa lamang itong pagbabanta dahil sa takot ng pangulo sa mga kumukwestiyon sa pamamahala niya. Hindi ba’t kagaya lamang ito ng ginagawa niya sa kasalukuyan, kung saan nanganganib na mawala ang kalayaan ng press (na isa sa mga pinaglalaban ng mga estudyante ng UP sa kanilang welga)?

“Sinabi rin ng pangulo na “Many Filipinos want a good education?” Sa tingin niya ba hindi siya kukwestiyunin ng mga batang Lumad kung ito ang ipapalit niya sa mga mag-aaral ng UP? Lalo na dahil sa mga pagbabanta ng gobyernong ito na ibenta ang kanilang mga lupa’t sakahan sa mga dayuhan?

“Hindi magiging kumpleto ang tatak na “Iskolar ng Bayan” kung walang kumukwestiyon sa mga kamalian na ginagawa ng gobyerno.” 

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From B: “While the 1987 Philippine Constitution recognizes the freedom of speech, expression, and of the press, President Rodrigo Duterte once again threatened this freedom by leaving remarks to UP students who “walk out” of classrooms to protest.

“Walk-outs are done by the community to protest against the wrongdoings of the government and the faults of society. With the excellent quality of education we have in UP, thanks to the taxpayers, we are woke and brave enough to stand for what is right, for the marginalized and for the voiceless. This is our promise as our mantra says “Serve the People”. Many people might not understand the principles of protesters but the hardship and sacrifice to cut classes are all for The People.

“UP students are only allowed up to six absences according to the university standard. As long as they are responsible with their own education, there is nothing wrong with it. In fact I believe that education is not limited in school. These students who walk out of classes are in fact wiser and more competent about social issue and the truth about political matters we have in the society. They even fought for the rights of Lumads who Duterte mentioned in his speech.

“The logic doesn’t sound good to me, not only as a UP student, but also as a citizen. It is our right to speak up when there is something wrong. To me, his speech sounded like “Shut up, UP students, you are exposing to the world how bad I am.”

“Well, I guess, we’ll just have to wait for a few days till his subordinates attempt to cover up his statements as a joke or as a false statement, and eventually blame media, once again, for being wrong. Will we ever get used to this?” 

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From J: “Last February 1, students of the University of the Philippines Diliman took to the corridors in protest of the Duterte administration’s repressive policies. An often-held practice of Iskolars ng Bayan, the walkout last Thursday called to defend press freedom, fight charter change, and uphold civil and political liberties.

“Such actions are not new in the politically charged atmosphere under the current administration, more so in UP Diliman where students and faculty alike enjoy academic freedom and take pains to be aware of and outspoken about relevant social and national issues.

“As can be expected, the strongman President did not take the demonstration lightly. During the Indigenous Peoples Leaders’ Summit in Panacan Davao, he made a very strong statement saying that he would grant UP student the “privilege” to stop attending school. Instead, said Duterte, he would give the UP slots to “bright” Lumad students.

“This is not the first call-out issued by the Commander-in-Chief to student activists. However, it is especially ironic seeing as Duterte also previously threatened to bomb Lumad schools. So, does Duterte really care about Lumad students or simply only bring them up when convenient to his powerplay.

“Furthermore, despite the university policy prohibiting students from exceeding absences in more than 20% of class time (often calculated as no more than 6 absences in one semester), the repeated usage of the powerful student walkout holds its place in the UP’s tradition of critical thought and action. As many instructors and professors are sure to attest, there are many lessons better learned outside the classroom.

“Duterte, know this: we see beyond your shallow threats. We will not be silenced. 

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From Q: “We are so accustomed to hearing threats from our President like “‘If they are obstructing justice, you shoot them (referring to human rights activists opposing drug war)” or “.. We will file– terrorist, murder, lahat. Arson with murder. Lahat na, because I would consider them criminals already (referring to CPP-NPA).” Then, his subordinates will surely use their default excuse like it was “just a joke” thing.

“This is almost formulaic in PDuts term. He should know that what’s coming out in his mouth (being the commander-in-chief) is taken seriously.

“However, it is still unacceptable. This is exercising freedom of speech and the right of the people to peaceably assemble. He should recognize that.” 

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From J: “From history, Duterte is barking at the wrong tree

“57 years after Diliman Commune happened, students from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman have received yet another threat–this time, coming from the current president, Rodrigo Duterte.

“Progressive student groups and advocates from UP Diliman staged a walkout from their classes yesterday in protest against the “US-Duterte Regime”, and the multifaceted problems that come with it. Soon after, during the National Indigenous People’s Summit in Davao City, the president lashed out at UP students for “walking out” and threatened to expel the students to give way for “bright” Lumad students.

“ quote “These UP students keep on walking out of their class. Earlier, they walked out of their class. Fine. Those who don’t want to go to school, get out, because I will bring the bright native people there. I will enroll them there. Many Filipinos want a good education,” close-quote, said Duterte in a mix of English, Filipino, and Bisaya, as reported in ABS-CBN News.

“The president’s rhetoric in lashing out against his detractors is nothing new, and surprisingly, he always gets away with it: Senator Leila de Lima, a senator critical of Duterte’s policies, is now in jail; while Rappler is in legal peril after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) cancelled its Certificate of Incorporation.

“While these things have proven that what Duterte wants, he gets, he could think for this time that he might be barking at the wrong tree.

“Student politics is almost as intriguing and intense as the national one; and for decades, many student movements shaped the Philippines that we now see today.

“The Diliman Commune

“The prelude to the Martial Law began in UP, when students and workers began to strike the then-President Ferdinand Marcos in protest of the three-centavo hike in oil prices in 1971. The protests led to incarceration of UP student leaders, and would later on, be the precursor to the declaration of Martial Law in 1972.

“This event is now commonly known to students as the Diliman Commune.

“In fact, when Duterte lashed out at UP students yesterday, it is when the first day of the Diliman Commune started: the nine days were one of the peaks of student activism, and the greatest result of collective action.

“UP and Citizen Activism
“Since then, UP has been at the forefront of student and citizen activism, standing up for the rights of the oppressed and the marginalized; it has also taken its position on national issues that concern the society as a whole.

“Despite massive scrutiny from the public eye, UP students have never been silent about the issues that not just concerns the studentry, but also the whole society.

“They were able to make people resign, move and pass laws. When they fought for democracy and stood up for what’s right, the Marcos patriarch resigned.

“Pro-people vs “pro-people”

“He kept on maligning the people who fight for the rights of Filipinos as people who just want to destabilize and destroy the country’s peace and order (as if there’s any, in the first place). He kept on saying that he’s for the people; when in fact, most of his policies and promulgations were basically not.

“Many of his economic policies, including TRAIN law, were designed to malign and alienate the poor in its current state. His combatant actions to proliferate drugs has been proven to be ineffective and wrong. His “sympathy” for the Indigenous Peoples turned out to be a faux: many IPs are still tortured, abandoned, and worse, killed in their homelands.

“What activists show is not to malign the president but to count his shortcomings and produce with a nationalised and a pro-people agenda. So far, nothing has happened, and the intimidation turns out to be as worse as ever.

“The Marcos Redux

“Since his election, Duterte seems to spin a Marcos redux: bashing retractors, oppressing the opposition, changing the political landscapes, and scrutinizing activism and maligning it to “communism”.

“His unwelcoming, disillusioned intimidation of the opposition is nothing short of an excerpt from a Marcos playbook; and if we look at what history shows us, Duterte is not looking good. 

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From T: “These youths are calling out for a true and better change for the country yet they are met with the threats of the president. However, what is usually followed by the threats of the president? His subordinates claiming that it was just a joke. Let us remember on the time when Duterte threatened to abolish the Commission of Human rights back in August to which his subordinates claimed later on was just a joke. On the same month, he threatens to pull out of the United Nations and his subordinates did the same thing – claim that the presidents “threats” were just joke. So after this threat from the president, it will be no surprise if we are met with tomorrow’s headlines stating “Duterte’s threat to UP students – only a joke”.” 

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From J: President Duterte recently gave his insights about UP students “walking out”. Walk-outs are done to express the current state of our government and to fight for the oppressed people in the country.

“As UP students, we should not get blinded with issues this government is doing. How can we just sit inside a classroom and see many people struggling because of his poor administration?

“UP students are given maximum of 6 absences per semester. This is a free world, walking out or not is our choice.

“Duterte also mentioned that the slots of UP students who walk out will be given to Lumads. There is no need to give our slots, because in the first place FREE EDUCATION should be given to all.

#FreeEduk #EndStateFascism 

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On T: “On February 1, 2018 several UP Diliman students walked out of their class to join a protest against the Duterte regime. In response, Duterte threatened to give the slots of these students (who would walk out of their class and join a protest rather than staying in class to study) to bright Lumads. In UP, there is a university-wide rule where students are given one third of their classes to be absent in. For example, if the class meets twice a week, students can have six absences (either excused or unexcused) throughout the entire semester. It is then the choice of the student as to how he/she will use these absences. This applies to choosing to walk out of their class in protest instead of attending class. How often do these walk-outs happen? It’s not an everyday thing, unlike what outsiders believe. They protest when they see the importance to do so. These students walked out and protested for the National Day of Protest against Tyranny and Dictatorship. They did not simply walk out of class because they didn’t want to learn but rather because they see the greater need for change and to fight against what is crippling our nation – they do so by protesting. This is how they express themselves and they should have the freedom to do so without all the criticism and threats.” 

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From D: Last February 1, 2018 progressive groups organized the National Day of Walkout against Tyranny & Dictatorship joined by students of different schools and universities such as the University of the Philippines Diliman.

“On the same day, President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to kick out the UP students who participated in the said protest. “If you do not want to go to school, get out of there because I will bring indigenous peoples (IP) who are bright and put them there” the president said in his speech. Not only did the president warn the students to be kicked out, he also expressed his willingness to give them a year off school and to give the lumads and IPs a government funded school grant in other prestigious universities like Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and De La Salle University (DLSU).

“This is what “Free Education For All” means to the president – guaranteeing no tuition fee for the students but warning them of taking it back once his administration is opposed by the students. Perhaps free education is not free at all especially that there are still some students who pay so much for education.

“Threatening the students of their slot in the university will not stop them from fighting for every right of the Filipinos – from the right to education to even larger issues in the country. I will always look up to these students who sacrifice their classes for a larger cause such as fighting for the sacrifices of the farmers, fishermen, the working class, and more. Hands down to students who only have a maximum of 6 allowable absences and who uses it wisely, fighting for the people.” 

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(For students of marichulambino: This is an optional exercise worth bonus points, those without any response will also be given points; class members are required to apply relevant class topics such as: the right to a free and independent press; the function of the press; the duty of members of the press; etc.)