Tan: Government only serves a few

University Student Council (USC) Chairperson Titus Tan said June 12 that the government serves only the interest of the few, amid the House Resolution (HR) 1109 issue.

In an e-mail sent on the said date, the standard bearer of Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan (KAISA) described this attribute of the government as “our systematic problem.”

Tan said that the sovereignty of the people will be a factor in fixing this problem.

“I believe that we have to heavily rely on the sovereignty of the people to a government meant to serve the people. This will play a strong role to correct our systemic problem: yung characteristic nga ng government natin that serves only the interest of the few,” said Tan, who attended the June 10 rally against HR 1109 in Makati.

Tan further said that there is no guarantee that the congress will not abuse the power to change the constitution.

“The Constituent Assembly to change the constitution is again, composed of the Congress. Do we have any guarantee na hindi ito aabusuhin ng congress natin? We don't have any, given the characteristic of the congress,” said the USC chairperson.

The USC chairperson also explained how the HR 1109 could have been thwarted.

“Was the passage of the HR1109 preventable? The answer lies in the manner of voting: Yung AYE and NAY. This is characteristic of the lower house,” said Tan.

“…Nakakatakot isiping inuna nila ito kaysa sa ibang bills na beneficial for the people,” he added.

The bills that were put behind the priority list of the congress are the Right to Reply and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER).

The Right to Reply Bill states that “all persons, natural or judicial, who are accused directly or indirectly of committing, having committed, or are criticized by innuendo, suggestion or rumor for any lapse in behavior in public or private life shall have the right to reply to charges or criticisms published in newspapers, magazines, newsletters or publications circulated commercially or for free, or aired or broadcast over radio, television, websites or through any electronic device.”

The said bill will affect all journalists and non-media practitioners.

On the other hand, the CARPER bill, also known as House Bill 4077, seeks to extend the program for another five years.

The CARPER bill was passed the final reading on June 4, which was considered by farmers and agrarian reform activists as a “miracle.”

The University of the Philippines Diliman USC argued that there is no “genuine agrarian reform” yet, in a statement released on June 5 questioning the urgency of the passage of HR 1109.

“In the midst of a global financial crisis wherein there is a massive layoff of thousands of Filipino workers both in the Philippines and abroad; when genuine agrarian reform is still out of reach of our Filipino farmers; and the costs of oil, basic goods and services, and education are continually rising—we see clearly where our Congressmen have chosen to turn a blind eye: that there is absolutely no need for Con-Ass,” said the USC.

The College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Student Council (CSSP SC) condemned the passage of the said resolution, saying that HR 1109 is “blind to the needs of our country.”

The council called on the students to “remain vigilant and hold keen interest” in the issues in the country.

“We urge each and every student to exhaust all means of political involvement to stop this unnecessary controversy,” said the CSSP SC.

Article by: Monica Joy Cantilero