A group of students of the Bacolod City College in Brgy. Taculing, Bacolod City staged a protest noontime yesterday outside the school campus demanding that the city government spare them from politics.
They chanted “BCC be free” and held placards saying “Spare us from politics, BCC be free”, “We demand sufficient facilities,” and “BCC is an academic institution, not a political institution.”
BCC Supreme Student Government president Leonisa Tomas yesterday said they are asking the present administration to spare the college from politics. It removed BCC administrator Johanna Ann Bayoneta and plans to replace her with someone who is not qualified, she said.
They are also demanding that they be provided sufficient facilities and services, she added.
Tomas said that as SSG president, she has been deprived of the privileged to sit in the Board of Trustees during several meetings.
“Since the student body has no representative in the BOT, how will they know our problems if they deprive us of our right?” she asked.
Tomas claimed that Mayor Monico Puentevella met with them after some students reportedly showed up at the Bacolod plaza during the filing of certificate of candidacy of two major political parties on Oct. 15 and asked who should be held responsible.
She said she took responsibility for them but denied that she asked them to go there for the signing of clearances since this was done at BCC, she said.
The students voluntarily went to the plaza to show their support for Israel Salanga, who is an alumnus of BCC, since that is their right, Tomas said.
Salanga is running for councilor of Bacolod under the Grupo Progreso of the Nationalist People's Coalition led by Bacolod Rep. Evelio Leonardia who is running for mayor of Bacolod.
Former SSG president Jovelyn Canoy said one of the reasons they staged a rally is the removal of Bayoneta who is being blamed for her alleged failure to stop the students from showing their support during the filing of COC.
Bayoneta was on leave that day, yet they immediately removed her without due process or any valid reason, she said.
Canoy said Bayoneta was stripped of her powers since 2013 when the new administration came in.
They said they also demand that BCC provide them qualified and competent instructors.
Canoy claimed that classes were supposed to have started already but this has been delayed because the administration is screening instructors to ensure they only hire people who will be loyal to the administration, regardless if they are qualified or not.
There were many qualified instructors they did not hire while those who are qualified and not identified with them, were fired, she said.
“We ask to be spared from their political drama since the students are only here to study and to pursue their dreams,” Canoy said.
They are aware that the BOT of BCC chaired by Puentevella is powerful. But they should not compromise the quality of education, she said.
It is time to get BCC back because it is not owned by politicians. It belongs to the students who are poor, she said. They should leave BCC to run as an independent institution. It should not be influenced by politics even in decision making, she added.
Canoy said BCC was founded in 1997 and it was Leonardia who signed the charter establishing BCC as an educational institution. But they have nothing to do with political affiliations since they only want to study, she said.
She said Salanga, their alumni president, was also deprived of sitting in the BOT, together with Tomas.
Bethel Seneneng, a BCC faculty member, said the protestors should have secured a permit. Their rally is illegal and they should not disturb the peace and order in the campus.
They will be identified and meted sanctions by the office, she said. Classes have not yet started because of the late submission of teachers of grade sheets of students, she added.
Executive assistant Ramon Viva said the mayor wants the BCC free from politics so he met with the students leaders when he heard they were being used. He believes that the students should not be used for partisan political interest.
Viva said they should address their message to those who used them. They should remember that the government is partly subsidizing their tuition fees and it is the same government they are protesting against.
He also claimed that they have quality teachers now compared to before and that almost all their teachers have doctorate degree.
Vice Mayor Greg Gasataya said the city and the students should sit down to discuss the problem. He believes that each student has the right to express himself.
He hopes their studies will not be affected and that the city should find out what motivated them to stage a protest, he said.*CGS
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