• OMG! Hooligans in the State U!

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    The first time I heard about how a group of students successfully did a lightning rally against Budget Secretary Butch Abad at the UP Diliman School of Economics, I thought: good job!

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    Because to my mind, while any person, any government official, any personality, has the freedom to enter the State U and feel safe within its walls and fences, no government official—least of all the architect of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP)—should get away with coming and going in peace. I presumed that visiting as he was the School of Economics that Secretary Abad had been welcomed with open arms, complicit as that college has always been in prevailing political economics, no matter who the President is.

    Suffice it to say that I welcomed the news, no matter how flimsy the details were at that point, that student activists had mobbed him. Good for them I thought. And how silly of Secretary Abad to have expected any less of UP students. I would’ve been disappointed had he come and gone without some display of public disgust from the iskolar ng bayan.

    That’s entertainment
    Ah, but the spin was quick and easy, and it was what allowed for the most entertaining display of anti-activist sentiment this side of democratic Philippines. Secretary Abad said he was in fact willing to have a dialogue with the activists outside. He declared his collar had been grabbed, he feared for his life. He called them hooligans.

    And wow, did many shoot from the hip, maybe to defend Abad, but more importantly to take a stand against these students activists! How dare they! How disrespectful! How crass! How violent! Such hooliganism! They shuddered. Not everyone in the State U is like that, they declared. Those students are not the State University, they insisted.

    But pray tell, who is the State University? I shudder to think that it is the high-and-mighty voice of the Economics professors who condemned this student action and demanded a public apology. Who told the University Student Council (USC) and other student organization to disassociate themselves from these student activists.

    And then on Pinoy social media, it got really muddled in some katangahan. Or just such simplistic thinking, one could not but be aghast. Say those who decided to parallel this act of student activists with the violence inflicted upon them by the elements of government, i.e., Jovito Palparan. Where the decision is made to ignore the failed parallelism, and see it to its illogical end: how can activists demand justice against violence instigated against them, when they themselves are violent?

    Because you know, the disappearance and torture of activists is on the same level as being pelted with crumpled paper and coins.

    Civilized but pointless
    In the course of reading these anti-activist sentiments, with the School of Economics releasing a statement of disgust and too many others un-intelligently weighing in, what one gathers is an insistence that the State University be space for a specific and particular kind of debate and discussion.

    The kind that the School of Economics must have had with Secretary Abad in that Balitaktakan Series, where he spoke about how the National Budget works. Where the open forum was limited to five minutes, and questions were censored . . . este . . . filtered beforehand.

    That does not sound like a forum in the State U. It sounds like a conversation one would have with Malacañang. Or the kind that a press conference with complicit media participants would sell on nationwide television to be a democratic and free discussion. Which is precisely why activists hold protest actions outside of these purportedly democratic venues: free speech in these spaces is but an illusion. There is no place for real honest—if not angry—criticism here.

    And student activists know this to be true. We also all know how Secretary Abad would be allowed to evade questions about what fundamentally ails his budget process: the lack of accountability, the fact of patronage politics, the truth that it does not—will not—trickle down to those in need. One does wonder what that conversation with the USC and other student organizations was like. Because what kinds of questions were they allowed to ask? What kinds of answers did they get that we have not seen in a press release from the DBM?

    I take it that it was a discussion that was pointless. Because what do you need to learn about Abad’s budget process that has not appeared as an infographic on government sites? What question could have been asked of him that would’ve brought us to a better understanding of what ails this budget process, why it rationalizes the DAP, why there continues to be specific ala-PDAF allotments for each Congressman in the budgets of various departments?

    No wait, we wouldn’t have been allowed to ask those questions in this forum of decency and civility, where questions would be filtered, and dissenting voices necessarily suppressed.

    Critical protest
    Only those who go out to the streets with the flimsiest of causes, or merely because it is fashionable, would think of putting down this protest and dismissing it as merely violent or disrespectful. Any person who has studied in the State U with eyes wide open would know that student protest is guided by a very clear sense of the national state of affairs, the power relations between government and activists, the impossibility of engaging within the realms that are deemed acceptable, or decent, or respectful.

    Only those who think little of protest to begin with, who imagine it to be pointless and unnecessary, would unthinkingly take on the term hooliganism and run with it, like it did not come from a man like Secretary Abad. Like it did not come from a man who works in a government that dismisses criticism, that decides it is not worth listening to, that deems all critics mere destabilizers.

    And this is truly what offends me about those who have taken a stand against these student activists: their voices are now part and parcel of this government’s grand narrative against critics, a grand narrative that hews too closely to censorship, to the repression of the basic right to free speech.

    We know it to be true because critics are now being called hooligans.

    I’d rather be called a hooligan than be tagged a puppet.

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    16 Comments

    1. We must let our students demonstrate and speak. I am always on the students side. In this case they acted controlled and non-violent. Congrats!

    2. Mareng Winnie kasama sa nagnanais parusahan ang mga UP HOOLIGANS! Dapat batuhin din siya, Huwag bato mas mainam tae ng pusa!

    3. To be very basic, I want to be called a hooligan as I do not see anything good in this government

      Rather than be known as yellow!

    4. As an alumnus of UP, I say hooray to student hooliganism, if only to expose the ineptness of this Administration, more especially the temerity of this guy Abad to lecture on how to manage the national budget which he in fact bastardized by coming up with a new budget creation – the DAP. Like Ms. Santiago, “I’d rather be called a hooligan than be tagged a puppet”.

      • True. Then let the true-blue HOOLIGANS be counted. Stand up against this government of blatant thieves. No matter how hooligans we are, we need to rise against these puppets.

    5. Abad is g0ing ar0und campuses selling his crime. He knows he’s taking a risk d0ing this. St0p your false sense 0f appropriateness – it doesn’t apply here. He deserves t0 be pelted by hard objects every time he peddles his lies.

    6. UP, UP UP !!! True Guardians of freedom and civil rights. Now branded as hooligans, i, too, would rather be called a hooligan than a puppet made to dance on a string.

    7. If only we have millions of this type of hooligans to turn these corrupt and colonial Philippine society upside down..this country would have a chance of greatness.

    8. jose hernani m. parco on

      hey Mr. Abad honoured Sire, listen and listen well have you forgot? what the “hooligans” students did was done in “good faith”! sounds familiar isn’t it?

    9. hooligan daw, sannamagan, ikaw na (taong bayan) ang ninakawan tapos nahuli ang ginawang pagnanakaw tapos ayaw aminin at ang pinakamasakit ay tuloy pa rin ang ginagawang pagnanakaw ng harapan. bale wala lang ang hatol ng sc na illegal ang ginawa at ngayon ay tuloy pa ring ginagawa. e ano pa ang recourse mo kung harapan ka ng ninanakawan???

    10. Hooray to the UP students who stood up against A Bad and down to those who condemns their actions! I hope they will not surrender to the demand of their President and Prof. for an apology. At least these students were standing up against the brain of corruption in govt. Maybe those UP authorities are likewise corrupt as the person they are siding with!

    11. Amen to that! Shame on those ex-freedom fighters daw during Marcos’ time…they are now the oppressors…Sila na yung tinutukoy sa ating pambansang awit na “Mga Nangaapi”…Mga Manlulupig! Shame on them. Mga modern day Makapili!

      • the tides have turned. i remember how marcos and ronnie nathanielz humiliated abad on tv. as you folks say – kanya-kanyang panahon lang yan. i was one among the thousands in edsa in 86 and looking back, i SPIT on those people i was willing to give my life for.

      • Many UP students during our youth activism days in early 70s were very fond of wearing shirts with Che Guevarra’s potrait, very fond of talking in English farmers and urban workers didn’t understand. Yet when confrontation with the military ensued, did they fight? No! Students of not-so-popular schools did (PCC, FEU, MLQU, Lyceum, and many others).

    12. Yes, it is better to be called a hooligan for expressing their frustrations for evil acts of misusing nation’s treasury than to be puppets of these evils of giving away unaccounted billions of money to corrupt lawmakers, to rebels in the name of peace process, bribery. While nations billions are nowhere to be found, our basic needs like MRT/ LRT are breaking down, electricity becoming scarce threatening us filipino people to shoulder the high cost because of inefficiency and poor management and planning of our bureaucrats who has long been warned and have accomplished nothing, who have thrown billions of pesos for discarding newly built bataan nuclear plant supplying 600+ MW by the late Pres Cory Aquino that would just need to be fueled and switched on just like South Korea have and added more nuclear plants to ease the lives of their people, because maybe marcos name was there, thanks to marcos for building 20 power plants in his 20 years which provides our electricity today compared to maybe zero power plant built for the next 30 yrs after marcos. marcos maybe corrupt but he has built a lot of infrastructure that alleviates the lives of people. These power problems has impacted job creation, for investors shy away investing in manufacturing for uncertainty of power supply; impacted basic commodities cost rising due to high electricity cost, surge of criminalities because maybe of hopelessness of so many people. Flood control project cancelled by Noynoy was another burden to filipinos who should have been relieved if noynoy have it completed by belgian company who now files a 7 billion case to philippine government for cancelling a signed and valid contract during the time of GMA which project should have been completed by 2012, because of this, poor manilenos time and again sufferred the flooding in 2012, 2013, 2014 with philippine bracing to pay 7 billion if the 150 years belgian company suit will succeed. God help philippines.