By Reynard Magtoto
LEGAZPI CITY, 25March2017 (BicolToday.com) – PNP-Baao informed the Nexus publication adviser that police officers will conduct continuous surveillance on campus publications as ordered by the Central Office of PNP according to report.
Terry Pitagan, adviser of Nexus publication, official student publication of Baao Community College in Camarines Sur went to the PNP office in Baao on March 24 and confronted the police at post.
Pitagan clarified the imposition of a memorandum barring student publications from attending activities of the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and their grounds in imposing such.
The police officer mentioned that a rally that was held, February, during the Regional Journalism and Arts Convention of CEGP Bicol in Ateneo de Naga University subjected the group of campus press to surveillance as such act, according to the law enforcer, is contrary to law.
The police officer at post told the publication adviser to stop joining CEGP activities because “rallying” was a part of their program.
Pitagan showed program of CEGP’s recent activity in Naga City and defended that conducting a rally was not part of any of CEGP’s events.
She said that rallying itself is not illegal.
In the Guild’s statement, CEGP Bicol Chair Jhoan Villanueva received a call on March 23 from the administrators of Baao Community College (BCC) that police officers were inquiring about Liyab, CEGP Bicol’s annual student press convention and asked the administrators of BCC if their students will participate in Lunduyan, CEGP’s Luzon-wide student press convention.
The police officers said the inquiry was an act of investigation for the security of the students. In addition, the police officers handed down a regional memo to the administrators.
On March 17, police officers in their off-duty uniform went to the house of Jan Joseph Goingo, CEGP’s Vice President for Luzon.
Goingo was not present at that time but he was informed that the police officers were asking information regarding his family.
At 3 pm of March 23, CEGP Vice-President for Luzon Joseph Goingo’s attention was called by the Ateneo de Naga University’s (AdNU) Office of Student Affairs (OSA).
Another police officer went to their campus to conduct an investigation to ThePillars, the official publication of AdnU.
The OSA informed Goingo regarding the inquiry of the police officer but did not disclose the staff who the police asked.
The police officer also asked the still unidentified staff regarding the whereabouts of Goingo.
The OSA also did not disclose the content of the regional memo of the PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) saying it was for the security of its students.
“These acts of the PNP is illegal and deplorable. To say that holding a rally, a peaceable assembly, as illegal is contrary to our freedom of expression as enshrined in our constitution,” said Jose Mari Callueng, CEGP National President.
According to Callueng, continuous military harassments to CEGP officers and members and other student publications are clearly a calibrated attack of the state under President Rodrigo Duterte’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.
“Their inquiries and investigations are blatantly part of operation triad─psywar, combat and intelligence,” he said. “It is obvious that the acts of harassments in the form of inquiry and investigation, and surveillance on Goingo, shows that the military targets student journalists in forwarding the government’s fascist counter-insurgency scheme.”
The Guild has been continuously subject to “psy-war” designed by previous Oplan’s─Bayanihan and Bantay Laya─aimed to attack progressive organizations.
The Guild denounces the continuous military harassment to student publications and red-tagging of CEGP officers and members in Ateneo de Naga University and Baao Community College this March.
“These attacks on campus journalists shows that the Duterte administration is only maintaining and intensifying the culture of impunity in the country,” Callueng said.
The 3rd day of Liyab, February 25, coincided with the Edsa 1 commemoration however there were no delegates of the CEGP Bicol’s event joined the rally in Naga City spearheaded by different progressive organizations.
According to CEGP-Bicol, their participants were busy in its classroom discussions on different journalistic skills.
‘Campus Press since Pre-Martial Law’
Before EDSA happened, Ferdinand Marcos shut down all newspapers, radio and television stations upon declaration of Martial law.
Martial law also shuttered for several years the campus press and blacklisted CEGP.
Campus press was an important component of alternative press in exposing human rights violations and other ills of the Marcos Dictatorship.
Campus publications were among the alternative press that defied the repressive measures of the Marcos regime and played a key role in the anti-dictatorship struggles that led to the ouster of Marcos during EDSA 1 in 1986.
CEGP contributed in “People Power” until the country has been regarded as one of the countries in Asia with free press.
According to Callueng, CEGP will keep its advocacy and orientation as a patriotic and democratic alliance of tertiary publications and will always be at the frontline in every fight of the Filipino people for their democratic interests.[BicolToday.com]