Thursday, September 21, 2006

0 Chronology of the Assault

A Timeline on the Collegian Controversy

April 20: The Office of the Chancellor issues a memorandum on the procurement of supplies and services. Mandated by the Government Procurement Reform Act or RA 9184, it states that procurement by government units amounting to P250,000 and above shall be done through a bidding process administered by the UP administration.

June 11: As is the practice of previous terms, the Collegian, selects its printing press autonomously after canvassing price quotations from various presses. The cost per copy is P3.

June 15: Supplies and Property Management (SPMO) officer in charge Prof. Virginia Yap calls the attention of the Collegian editorial board (EB). In a meeting, she explains the necessity of the Collegian to undergo a bidding process to be facilitated by the UP admin based on the Chancellor Sergio Cao’s memo deriving mandate from RA 9184. The editors reiterated their stance that the Collegian does not fall under the UP admin or any other government unit, which Yap questions.

June 24: Recognizing the publication's deficit accumulated from the previous terms, which amounts to more than P200,000, and with pressure from the UP admin for the current term to pay for this deficit, the EB again canvasses for a cheaper printing press. The new press complies with the Collegian’s adjusted budget of P2.85 per copy.

July 8: The Collegian, again with pressure from the UP admin, submitted to the Chancellor two budget projections deliberated by the EB, one reflecting actual projected expenses, which amounts to P2,431,000; the other showing reduced expenses to comply with the tight budget and to partially offset the accumulated deficit, which amounts to P2,059,850. The Chancellor then recognizes the latter.

July 18: Since the UP admin still holds the release of the payment for the publication’s printing expenses, the Collegian requests the admin to recognize the EB’s autonomous selection of its printing press. The EB reasons that the canvassing was properly done, even according to the processes mentioned in the Chancellor's memo, except that it was not facilitated by the admin.
The Collegian then begins to conduct its autonomous bidding process to undertake greater scrutiny in selecting a permanent printing press.

July 27: In a letter, the SPMO states that the question on the Collegian's independence still has to be addressed, while reiterating that the publication should comply with the admin’s facilitation of the printing press selection.

August 25: The EB informs the UP admin of the result of its autonomous bidding process. The new printing press, which the Collegian has sealed a contract with, still conforms to the P2.85 per copy and was required to submit pertinent documents such as DTI registration, Mayor’s permit, etc. The EB also reiterates its position that the Collegian is an independent student institution, with funds directly and solely coming from the students, and is thus not covered by the Chancellor's memo or RA 9184. The EB also invoked a provision in the implementing rules of the Campus Journalism Act saying that the selection of the printing press shall be conducted by the editorial staff either through canvass or public bidding.

August 25: Student Regent Raffy Jones Sanchez raises the Collegian's concerns in the Board of Regents’ meeting, where, according to Sanchez, Roman commented that the Collegian staff should collect its own funds if it were to assert its autonomy. Roman then refers the Collegian's concerns to Chancellor Cao and Vice President for Administration Martin Gregorio.

August 28: The Collegian requests for an immediate dialogue with Roman, after learning that payments for printing expenses incurred since its first issue was still denied.

September 1: The Collegian meets with Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Elizabeth Enriquez, together with Diliman Legal Officer Atty. Percival Cortez, as well as officers from the SPMO, Diliman Accounting Office, and Office of Student Activities. In the meeting, Cortez staunchly declares that the Collegian does not have fiscal autonomy, given that its funds paid for solely by the students are completely handled by the admin. Enriquez advises the EB that unless the publication agrees to the admin-facilitated bidding, its funds will never be released.

September 3: In the 10th Systemwide Students' Congress, student organizations from all UP units nationwide who attended the congress co-sponsored and approved a resolution opposing the implementation of RA 9184 to all student institutions and formations.

September 4: The Collegian writes to Cao to endorse the immediate release of the payment for the printing of all the Collegian’s released issues, as without such payment and without guarantee for payment of subsequent issues, the printing press can no longer proceed with the printing of subsequent issues. Cao replied the same day, and implicitly denied the release of funds as he questions the autonomy of the publication.

Excerpts from the Campus Journalism Act (CJA) of 1991

Sec. 4. Student Publication – “...editorial board shall freely determine its editorial policies and manage the publication's funds.” Sec. 5. Funding of Student Publication – “In no instance shall... the school administration concerned withhold the release of funds sourced from the savings of the appropriations of the respective schools and other sources intended for the student publication. Subscription fees collected by the school administration shall be released automatically to the student publication concerned.”

Excerpt from CJA’s implementing rules and regulation

Rule IV, Section 4: Printing of the Student Publication – The printing of the student publication by a private printer shall be conducted by the editoriboard and the student publication staff through canvass or public bidding.”

Source: Philippine Collegian.net

Autonomy Image: Kule0607 on DeviantArt

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