Campuses Now Virtual Garrisons as Soldiers Harass, Spy on Students

He said red tagging has become a common strategy in the UP-LB campus since the military’s presence became more and more felt. During their February 2009 student council elections, the Samahan ng Kabataan para sa Bayan (SKB), a party alliance of 55 organizations, became the target of military propaganda. Bundles of leaflets, which accused the SKB of being a communist front, were found near their school buildings and classrooms. Some leaflets were sent via registered mail to faculty members. The leaflets were signed by an obscure organization with the name, Save the Youth Against Communism and Terrorism Movement, which according to Acuña, does not exist in UP-LB campus.

Acuña said this is simply an old military tactic to cripple mass organizations, which are very active in their campus.

With the continuous privatization of state universities and colleges, youth and student organizations have been at the forefront in struggling for free and accessible education for all. Along with these, they also actively participated in battling corruption. During the ‘Hello Garci’ scandal, an election fraud issue that hounds the present administration and last year’s revival of charter change, the youth once again came out in the streets to protest.

As for PUP, Panganiban said, even the Prudente-Enrile-Ramos accord, which supposedly guarantees that soldiers would not be allowed inside the university is being disregarded. This, he said, is being done to cripple the operations of progressive student organizations and to spy on and harass student leaders.

But despite this, Panganiban of PUP said, their membership continue to increase. “They [the military] are giving students more reasons to believe that our advocacies are genuine.” (Bulatlat.com)

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