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To Be Free

EdCArt_GG

Democracy and the freedom of speech is the present generation’s favorite right. If this is repressed even just a bit, they cry foul.

Right now, some campus publications in the Philippines are hindered in their right to free speech.

Due to the campus press freedom violations, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) held a rally last Aug. 24 at the University of the Philippines (UP) Dilliman to support the Philippine Collegian fight in upholding the democratic rights.

The Campus Journalism Act of 1991 states in Section 5 that the Department of Education or the school administration shall not “withhold the release of funds sourced from the savings of the appropriations of the respective schools and other sources [and]…shall be released automatically to the student publication concerned.”

CEGP reported that “conflicts of interest” between campus publications and school administrations will always result to “repression of student democratic rights.” Furthermore, CEGP stressed that there are more than 800 campus press freedom violations during the Aquino administration, and 322 of which are “inconsistencies and suppressions of funds.” Jose Mari Callueng, CEGP national president, said that three-fourths of the 322 cases of publication fund controls are experienced by state universities and colleges. The Philippine Collegian (UP Dilliman) and The Catalysts (Polytechnic University of the Philippines) are among that experience budget suppression.

The Weekly Sillimanian (tWS) applauds the Silliman University (SU) administration for not suppressing tWS’ right to free speech. We believe that the healthy relationship of the SU administration and tWS only shows that campus press freedom in Silliman is alive and well.

Campus press freedom is one of the highlights of democracy and of a freedom-loving country. Freedom of speech is like a bird. Its purpose is to fly and roam skies. Cage it and it will try to escape. Suppressing freedom of speech is the bird. Let it fly. Let it be free.

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