Professors fear ‘militarization’ may invite abuse vs students, teachers

Marje Pelayo   •   August 22, 2019   •   727

MANILA, Philippines – Teachers and professors in Metro Manila are opposing the proposed police and military presence in campuses across the country.

According to University of the Philippines (UP) Chancellor Mike Tan, the alleged militarization of educational institutions in the country may impact the students’ freedom of speech and may induce fear among schools.

Tan said, however, that the military and police may still decide to do some lecturing or organize fora inside campuses even in UP.

“Hahanap lang sila ng co-sponsor sa isang organisasyon ng UP, (They just need a co-sponsor from UP organizations),” Tan said.

Still, this cannot be used as avenue for government troops and police to remain inside school premises, he said.

This may lead to abuse, according to Tan, not only against students but against teachers and professors.

He cited the case of Leonardo Co, a University of the Philippines botanist who was killed in a crossfire between government troops and communist rebels in 2010.

“Medyo nakaka-disturb na bakit laging kung may UP students sa labas, ilang accounts na ang nabanggit kanina. Si Leonard Co na pinatay nga na siya ay isang professor namin. Sa Palanan[town], mga botanists na nagreresearch, mga math professors na nasa math na tutulungan ang mga teachers, hinarass din sila,” Tan argued.

(It’s quite disturbing why UP students are usually being involved. There had been several accounts cited. One of our professors here, Leonard Co, was killed. Botanists in Palanan who were doing research, math professors who were assisting the teachers, were harassed.)

“Kung kaya nilang gawin ito what more kung nakapasok sila sa campuses namin. That is our fear. Yan ang tinatawag naming militarization, (If they can do this, what more if they enter our campuses. That is our fear. That’s militarization,)” he added.

Dr. Danilo Arao, meanwhile, argued that students become activists because of their critical thinking, awareness of the issues and because they want to exercise their freedom of speech.

 “They are just using the label of communism as a convenient excuse to quell whatever critical thinking people may have here in this university as well as in other universities,” the professor said.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), for its part, said they are not against student activism.

DILG Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya argued that the government is just being serious in curbing the recruitment of students or minors to join the communist CPP-NPA-NDF’s armed wing.

Nevertheless, the UP Chancellor assured that they are monitoring movements and activities of school organizations in their respective universities and they are willing to cooperate with authorities whenever necessary. – MNP (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Walking for hours to reach work, home shouldn’t be part of ‘new normal’, Poe says

Robie de Guzman   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday called on the government to provide assistance to employees who are walking for kilometers from home to work and vice versa due to the still limited public transportation means amid the quarantine.

In a statement, Poe lamented reports on employees having to walk for hours to reach their workplaces and go home after the government eased the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) last May 16.

While the senator acknowledged the workers’ commitment and perseverance, she said this “must not be part of the ‘new normal’” amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

“There’s no doubt about the commitment and perseverance of our workers to return to work to provide income for their families and help shore up businesses sidelined by the pandemic,” she said.

“But the daily commute and walk must not exact a toll on our workers — exposing them to the dangers in the streets and unfavorable weather conditions,” she added.

Some workers reportedly struggled to reach their workplaces on Monday when businesses and offices resumed partial operations after Metro Manila was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Poe said the government should do all it can to “alleviate the daily sufferings of our workers in getting to work” as public transportation services remain limited.

The senator also stressed that the “no work, no pay” employees will be most affected by this situation.

“Especially woeful are the situation of no-work, no-pay employees, who will not earn anything for the day if they fail to show up, or will be meted with deductions if they come late,” she said.

Under the MECQ guidelines issued by the government, select business establishments and offices have been allowed to resume half of their operations with limited workforce. Skeleton workforce and work from home arrangements may also be implemented.

The Department of Trade and Industry earlier urged employers who were allowed to resume operations to provide shuttle services to their employees.

PNP urges mall security execs to require quarantine passes, limit number of customers

Robie de Guzman   •   May 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday urged mall security managers to require quarantine passes from its customers to improve the implementation of social distancing measures and avoid mass gathering in malls.

Police Lieutenant Col. Guillermo Eleazar, chief of Joint Task Force Coronavirus (JTF CV) Shield, said mandating quarantine passes from customers entering malls will follow government’s guidelines in allowing only one person per household to go out and get essential goods and services amid the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

The PNP met with security management in malls in the National Capital Region earlier in the day to discuss the implementation of health and safety protocols following reports of crowding and lack of physical distancing when the malls partially opened on May 16 in MECQ areas.

Eleazar said the mall security managers were also reminded to strictly limit the number of people allowed to enter the malls as stated in the government’s guidelines.

“So una yung maximum number of customers, dapat yun lang ang papasok lang sa loob… It could be computed base doon sa 1 customer per 2 square meters doon sa mga open areas,” he said.

Mall security managers have also been urged to designate drop off and pick up points to ensure that those entering malls are allowed to avail goods and services.

Metro Manila is under MECQ until May 31.

Under this setup, select businesses and offices will be allowed to resume 50% of operations and workforce, provided that minimum health standards will be implemented.

The guidelines also state that only essential and non-leisure shops will be permitted to open, including hardware stores, office supplies and clothing and accessories stores.

The number of customers allowed inside the stores will also be limited, and elevators will only be allowed to ferry 50% of its total capacity with occupants observing social distancing measures.

Free mall WiFi connection will be disabled and air condition temperature will be regulated to 26 centigrade to discourage loitering and lingering of peopleinside the mall.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has earlier warned that malls partially opened during the MECQ will be ordered closed if they fail to implement social distancing measures. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

‘No quarantine pass, no entry’, imumungkahing ipatupad sa shopping malls na nasa MECQ areas – Eleazar’

Robie de Guzman   •   May 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Isusulong ng Joint Task Force for Coronavirus (JTF CV) Shield ang mas maigting na pagpapatupad ng “no quarantine pass, no entry” policy sa shopping malls na nasa ilalim ng modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) gaya ng Metro Manila.

Sa isang panayam, sinabi ni JTF CV Shield Commander Police Lieutenant Guillermo Eleazar na nakatakda silang makipag-pulong sa security managers ng malls sa Metro Manila upang ilatag ang kanilang suhestiyon upng mabawasan ang pagdami ng mga taong nagpupunta sa malls sa gitna ng community quarantine.

“Kapag wala kang quarantine pass, ibig sabihin hindi ikaw ang pinayagan ng local government unit na mag-represent ng household mo para pumunta sa sa mga establisyimento na permitted to operate,” ani Eleazar.

Imumungkahi rin nila na huwag papasukin ang mall goer na may hawak ngang quarantine pass ngunit naka-rehistro naman sa ibang lugar.

“Ang quarantine pass mo taga-Caloocan ka pero nasa Mandaluyong ka, hindi ka pa rin papapasukin,” paliwanag ng opisyal.

Ginawa ni Eleazar ang pahayag kasunod ng mga ulat na dumagsa ang maraming tao sa shopping malls na nagbukas na nitong weekend matapos ilipat sa MECQ ang Metro Manila at iba pang lugar sa bansa.

Kabilang ang malalaking malls sa mga establisimyento at opisina na pinapayagan nang mag-bukas ng kalahati ng kanilang operasyon at workforce.

Alinsunod sa guidelines na inilabas ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, kailangang maipatupad ng mga kumpanya at opisina ang minimum health standards kagaya ng physical distancing, temperature checking at face mask-wearing.

Nakasaad rin sa guidelines na essential at non-leisure stores lang ang pwedeng magbukas, kabilang na rito ang hardware stores, office supplies at clothing and accessories stores.

Limitado lang din ang mga pwedeng pumasok sa loob ng mall, hindi rin lahat ay puwedeng sumakay ng elevator, at dapat ay nakasara ang WiFi connection at mahina ang aircon upang maiwasan ang pagtambay sa loob ng establisimyento.

“Ang maximum number na allowed sa mall, considering sa computation of the common areas na ang formula daw don na sinasabi nila ay 1 customer per 2 square meters ngayon pag yung bilang na yun ay naabot na, wala nang pappasukin unless may lumabas na iba,” ani Eleazar.

Nakasaad rin sa guidelines na kada 30 minuto magsasagawa ng disinfection sa comfort rooms at kailangang may distansya ang mga upuan sa labas ng restaurants para sa mga customer na naghihintay ng takeout order. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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