From: The Ilocos Guilder
December 21, 2007
We, the members of the campus press, express our unity and solidarity to Tandem, the Official Student Publication of the University of Northern Philippines- Vigan and the UNP students in their struggle for campus press freedom and the students’ right to know.
We affirm that press freedom and the peoples’ right to information are among the fundamental rights and liberties that should be respected and upheld at all times as mandated by the 1987 Philippine Constitution Bill of Rights.
We believe that the closure of Tandem as UNP’s Official Student Publication is an attack to the academic rights of the students as well to the campus press.
We denounce the efforts of the UNP Administration headed by its President Dr. Lauro Tacbas and the Dean of the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) to systematically shut down Tandem by suspending its mandatory collection, closing its office and consistently harassing its staffers.
The illegal tuition and other fee increase this first semester of Academic Year 2007-2008 has resulted to the clamor of students for affordable and quality education. The Tandem has exposed the commercialization of education in the university by publishing statements and issues concerning the illegal fees increase, but the UNP administration has used its tight belt in facing the issues of the students.
The guards continuously harass Tandem staffers and other student leaders opposing tuition and other fee increases, and the repressive measures of the University against Tandem. Dr. Tacbas and Dean Arce’s move to appoint Mr. Nolito Ragunjan as Coordinator for Student Publication without any consultation to the staffers also violated the provisions of the RA 7079 or the Campus Journalism Act of 1991 on selection of advisers. The administration also did not acknowledge the Editorial Policy of Tandem.
Towards the end of the 1st Semester, the OSA issued a Memorandum suspending the mandatory collection of Tandem. Also, Dr. Tacbas confiscated Tandem’s bankbook after a dialogue with the staffers and threatened Ma. Criselda Diocena, the Editor-in-Chief of Tandem. During the semestral break, the UNP administration has closed the Tandem Office.
We also denounce the results of the Referendum initiated by OSA Dean Arce that has brought confusion among the students with its content directly assaulting the Tandem without undergoing due process.
The UNP administration has no doubt disregarded BASIC ACADEMIC RIGHTS guaranteed by their STUDENT CHARTER. With their systematic closure to Tandem, it is clear that they are doing all the means to halt the student publication from exposing their anti-student policies.
We join in solidarity with TANDEM in denouncing all forms of student repression innate in an educational system that is commercialized, colonial and repressive.
We, MEMBERS OF THE CAMPUS PRESS, CRY FOR DUE PROCESS FOR TANDEM AND CALL ALL CONCERNED INSTITUTIONS especially the COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION to:
REOPEN TANDEM AND ALL CLOSED PUBLICATIONS!
UPHOLD CAMPUS PRESS FREEDOM AND THE STUDENTS’ RIGHT TO KNOW!
STOP CAMPUS REPRESSION!
JUSTICE FOR ALL VICTIMS OF CAMPUS PRESS FREEDOM VIOLATIONS!