The Filipino people have been in the grief of terror amid stringent and inefficient lockdown measures for about nine months. Despite the seemingly unending calls for more comprehensive and compassionate approaches to the pandemic and natural calamities, the UP Manila and the Duterte Administration altogether dismissed the struggles of the students.

The student body has incessantly called for class suspension so as to divert their attention to extending relief assistance, particularly to the typhoon victims from Cagayan, Marikina, Rizal, Tuguegarao, Isabela, and Bicol. Several students from UP Manila were not even spared from the devastations brought by the calamity, yet they weren’t given a chance to focus on their needs. As usual, the administration has turned a blind eye to the real issues at hand. In forwarding appeals for deadline extensions and class suspensions, the onus has always been on student leaders and activists.

At a time where reassurance is critical, the UP Manila Chancellor is nowhere to be found. Time and again — the university has reiterated the irreconcilable value of “excellence” in education at the cost of the health and safety of the students. Much worse, they are under the impression that students can fast-track recovery once warning signals dissipate.

Education is supposed to be the conduit for change, not the chain. In a situation where lives are literally lost, the students are not supposed to negotiate their safety. It should be given.

At present, UPM students are still demanding the UPM administration to heed their needs and ease the burden of academic requirements, with the specific call: #NasaanAngUPMChancy.

The national government also remains deaf to the demands of the citizens. The aftermath of the disaster is only worsened by the lack of disaster preparedness. This could have been prevented if the administration had listened to the clamor of the masses. ABS-CBN could have helped the affected regions prepare for the typhoons. The Project NOAH and the National Calamity Fund could have been used to improve the country’s state of disaster preparedness. The banning of foreign-loaned dam construction and illegal logging could have helped lessen environmental destruction.

Decentralization of power is not a free pass for the Duterte Administration to let LGUs die in the nick of time. The government could have spearheaded an expedient process of resource allocation and distribution, but these were rendered impossible under our country’s debauched system.

The Filipino constituents are grappling with this government’s extreme incompetence. WE HAVE REACHED THE PEAK. We’ve been enduring the extremities of state negligence since time immemorial under this administration, and we have all fallen victims to the structurally-induced disasters that wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for a hazard-mapping — a basic tenet of leadership that they couldn’t exemplify in the first place.

The government must undertake the non-negotiable student’s offer to ACT NOW OR RESIGN.




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The Manila Collegian

The Manila Collegian

The Official Student Publication of the University of the Philippines Manila. Magna est veritas et prevaelebit.