From what has been happening in the University of the Philippines (UP) campus in Diliman, bad mannered, Red-leaning student activists, who constitute a mere noisy minority among the student population, are behaving as if the campus belongs to them.
Adding to the problem is the presence of numerous spoiled brats in the campus who drive their own cars in disregard of campus traffic rules, particularly in the no-parking and no-waiting zones. Many of them keep their engines on in parking lots while waiting indefinitely, also in violation of campus traffic regulations.
One can readily tell the communist student activists in UP by the way they dress up, which means dirty jeans and leather sandals, and the way they speak, which means anti-government mantras and accusations of human rights violations.
Their academic standing also gives them away — they take six or seven years to finish a four-year college course because they have to shift courses repeatedly due to bad grades and habitual absenteeism.
They also love to hang out at Vinzons Hall, home of the Philippine Collegian, a reputable publication in the 1960s until it became a propaganda piece of the local communists and ended up virtually unread by UP students and faculty alike.
One pavilion at Vinzons Hall has a mural depicting an armed communist amazon fighting a military tank. Handmade posters reciting Red mantras dot the facility.
Some students who aren’t communists occasionally join Red events, either unaware that they are rubbing elbows with hardened communists, or in the hope of riding on the Red political bandwagon and getting themselves elected to the student council, which is nice to include in a student’s curriculum vitae.
Several years ago, Red student activists in UP Diliman pelted Budget Secretary Butch Abad with stones, coins and other hard objects after he delivered a speech at a forum at the UP School of Economics. Abad was formally invited as a guest speaker by the students who organized the forum.
Although that incident was very embarrassing for UP, the Red activists never apologized for their display of ruffian behavior. UP officials and several students opposed to the campus communists denounced the maltreatment of Abad.
Since then, many officials from the administration are reluctant to accept speaking invitations at UP Diliman.
Last 6 September, the Red student activists in UP Diliman struck again. This time, they were joined by similarly inclined faculty members.
Upon learning that Irene Marcos-Araneta, the youngest daughter of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, was at the opening night of a theater production at Palma Hall that day, the radicals staged a protest haranguing the Marcos daughter and threatening her safety.
The UP Diliman student council boldy claimed Marcos-Araneta is not welcome in UP, citing petty reasons like, “It’s September, which is the month during which President Marcos placed the entire country under martial law in 1972.”
The radicals leading the student council also said the presence of Marcos-Araneta in UP is “an outright assault on the identity of UP and its scholars who shed blood to defend that identity.” Really now.
Particularly repulsive to civilized norms was the radical group’s anger at Marcos-Araneta’s assistants and UP security personnel who took steps to protect her from harm in the hands of the violent protesting mob.
Among those who protested Marcos-Araneta’s presence was UP faculty regent Judy Taguiwalo, whose appointment to the Cabinet years ago was rejected outright by the Commission on Appointments.
Undoubtedly, these bad mannered activists and their Red allies in the faculty ought to be told that the UP campus is government property and nobody has the power to prevent any person from peacefully attending an event inside its premises. The UP campus does not belong to these radical elements. Its democratic space belongs to everyone, regardless of their political belief or affiliation.
After Liberal Party presidential bet Mar Roxas lost in the 2016 election, LP party leaders held a meeting inside the UP Diliman campus. The radicals did not protest their presence in UP. This clearly shows the close ties between the LP and the communists.
The incident with Marcos-Araneta only strengthens the need to have a more visible police and military presence in UP Diliman.