4 Carolinians may face disciplinary action for supporting in recent GSO strike
The case of the four students from the University of San Carlos (USC) who were filed with a complaint from the USC school Director of Student Services, Fr. Emmanuel Sarabia, SVD was further investigated with a second hearing on June 30, 2014, Monday at the BOT Conference Room, USC Downtown Campus.
Still a closed hearing, only the four students and representatives from the Administration, Fr. Emmanuel Sarabia SVD, Director of Student Services, Fr. Eleno P. Bucia, SVD MA, Vice President for Administration, Mr. Felicisimo Alingasa ADM, Student Affairs Services, Student Discipline Officer for Main Campus, and Mr. Teodis Buma-at, Student Affairs Services, Student Affairs Officer Department for Talamban Campus. Department representatives, Mrs. Marie Tabotabo, Mrs. Araceli Culibra and Ms. Grace C. Magalzo were also present.
The reported first hearing called upon by the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) was on June 16, 2014, after the first two students, Ken Ecarma, Vice President of the Supreme Student Council (SSC) and Justin Gular from the Student Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (STAND) were identified by the administration through pictures taken as those who took participation in the picket line of the USC- General Services Employees Union (GSO) on their 6th day on strike last May 27, 2014.
The strike occurred when the USC administration closed the General Services Office which is in charge of maintenance of the physical facilities in the university citing cost-cutting measures in preparation for the effects of the K-12 in 2016.
Soon after, Alem Garcia, member of the Kabataan Partylist-USC Chapter (KBP) and Kathleen Abugan, member of Anakbayan USC Chapter were also identified.
“It is our inherent right to freedom of speech and expression that is why we gave our full support to the workers.” says Ecarma.
The Administration cited that the students have violated provisions mandated within the university according to Article IV Section 2.5.7 under Major Offenses: Campus and Public Distrubance: Staging or organizing rallies, strikes, pickets or demonstration against the University without valid permit. The administration called for the act as grounds for expulsion for the absence of permit issued to strike. The students expressed that they were at the picket to sympathize and show solidarity with the struggle of the workers and was not bashing the university. However, they raised concerns such as the K-12 reform on the educational system, transparency of fees and the implementation of the contractualization law among others in relation to the GSO lay off. The administration found these sentiments to be off tangent to the concern with the GSO workers’ lay off.
A Press Conference transpired immediately after the second hearing with media representatives from TV5, Sunstar and ABS-CBN at the Bayani Muna Office, Parian at 5:00PM.
France Kevin Degamo of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) Cebu Chapter was there to sympathize with the four Carolinian students.
“This is not an isolated case. This is a manifestation of campus repression, a clear move to silence the progressive student movement and a violation of the democratic rights of the students enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution which is the highest law of the land,” said Degamo.
The four students have stated that they are not afraid to get expelled for practicing their rights as a student and as a citizen of the country. They ask for the support of the whole student body in the fight against campus repression.
The administration is currently deliberating their final decision on the case.