|Sept 17 is National
Save The Press!
National Sign-up Day
What is STP?
STP refers to the Sept. 17 National Sign-up Day and means "Save the Press! Stop Tyranny and Plunder! Serve the People! Sobra na, Tama na, Pirma na!"
On that date (Sept. 17), booths or stations would be opened in across the country where students and common people could drop by and sign the STP unity statement.
It is also a fitting preparation for the peoples rallies on Sept. 21and beyond.
Save The Press!
We need to fight the Estrada governments war of attrition against press freedom. Attacks on newspapers and journalists are calculated to hide governments mishandling of national concerns and to limit our right to know matters of public concern. Press freedom is a democratic right. It is even enshrined in the constitution and international documents (i.e. International Declaration of Human Rights). More importantly, press freedom and democratic space we enjoy today are products of long and difficult struggles by journalists and the Filipino people.
One national newspaper (The Manila Times) has been silenced after a crony of the President bought it. Another one (Philippine Daily Inquirer) is currently under attack from the President and his friends in government, the movie industry and big business. Both are newspapers are known to be critical of governments flawed policies.
As a matter of fact, student newspapers across the country were the first victims of the clampdown.
Today, nearly 50 student newspapers remain closed. Some of them are the Lance of Colegio de San Juan de Letran, National of National University, Pintig ng Diwa of Philippine School of Business Administration-Quezon City
Across the country, over 300 student newspapers are either shut down or are experiencing other press freedom violations like censorship (Paulinian, St. Pauls College-Quezon City); meddling by advisers, by the administration or by pseudo-progressive student groups (The Communicator, PUP); police/military harassment (Tandem, University of Northern Philippines, Vigan, Ilocos Sur); non-collection or withholding of funds (Dataline, AMA Computer College, Quezon City); and expulsion/suspension of student journalists (Gazette, Divine Word College of Calapan, Mindoro).
If we look closely, the harassment against student newspapers looms as a big problem. It means that over 200,000 students in many schools are prevented from exercising their rights to press freedom.
If press freedom suppression goes on, we would soon have a crony press, just like under the Marcos dictatorship, which will only come out with news positive to the government. A muzzled press serves only governments seeking to hide much filth, muck and mud. It violates the peoples democratic right to free flow of information and ideas without any interference.
Stop Tyranny and Plunder!
All other signs point to the barefaced return to hated Marcosian governance through charter change or concord.
To summarize, these are the Estrada concords objectives: to grant 100% foreign control of land, utilities and media to clip the judiciarys power to review executive and legislative acts to snatch away the senates power to ratify or reject treaties to amend and water down the Bill of Rights to lift the term limits of all elective positions to shift from presidential toward a parliamentary form of government to allow the presidents reelection
These objectives are clearly must be opposed at all costs because these are: anti-people; entirely beneficial to a ruling few and big foreign interests; and swindle us of certain rights we fought to regain under the Marcos dictatorship.
But we must also remember that the Estrada government presides has also wrought so much shame and misery on the people: the Marcos grand comeback to power and their exoneration from crimes against the people the return of foreign military presence under the Visiting Forces Agreement unmitigated nepotism and corruption the imperialist stranglehold on various spheres of national life the collapse of the peace talks continued tuition fee hikes and repression on campus joblessness and a policy keeping wages way below peoples needs high prices of basic goods and consecutive increases in oil prices
Serve the People!
Young people have for many times responded to and served the best interests of the people. There are many examples: Jose Rizal and Marcelo del Pilar led the Propaganda Movement; Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto led the 1896 revolution; Emilio Aguinaldo headed the first republic; in 1970, young people joined workers and the in rocking the status quo in the storied First Quarter Storm. We are heirs of a revolutionary and pro-people tradition.
Young people have much to gain in fighting todays battles as we stand to inherit the mantle of leadership in the future. Surely, we wont allow ourselves to be given of legacy of corrupt, fascist, pro-imperialist government. This is so far away from our dreams of a better future.
Who may join STP?
Anybody. All Filipinos interested in defending press freedom and civil liberties may either sign up or may set up a booth or station on Sept.17.
It is also open to all types of student and youth organizations, press clubs, trade unions, peasant associations, social clubs, religious groups, cooperatives, etc.
What could we get from STP?
STP is a good opportunity of reaching a big number of students and common people, to raise their awareness and to have them join us in the fight for press freedom and civil liberties and against concord.
For student newspapers, councils and organizations, STP is a way of uniting among us regarding the threats to our rights, welfare and future. By doing so, we raise our level of unity and awareness and our fighting spirit.
Where can STP happen?
Anywhere. Especially in places where many people stay, gather, work or pass by. These include:
Ask friends or colleagues if they could help you. If you need permits, apply for them as soon as possible.
Together with your friends, set up simple but attractive booths or stations.
Inform the CEGP about your efforts. We could ask the media to cover your sign-up efforts.
Included in this kit are copies of the unity statement and some mini-posters to be used on and before Sept. 17. You may innovate and come up with the most imaginative booths and stations.
Unable to set up a booth,
Circulate the unity statement among our family members, friends, officemates, classmates, fellow church members and other interested people.
Volunteer your extra time.
Attend activities leading to Sept. 17 in schools. Several fora, symposia, exhibits and concerts that are lined up.
Organize such activities.
Send email or text messages to friends regarding STP.
Join the CEGP or alliances like SOLIDARIDAD (Advocates of Press Freedom), Y3C (Youth Against Cha-cha, Curtailment of Press Freedom and Cronyism) and PEOPLE RESIST (People Against Rising Tyranny).
Help by supporting STPs finance and logistics. Send in your contribution (cash, check or in kind) and help us reach more students and people.
Who heads STP?
It is a project of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines.
Founded in 1931, the CEGP is an alliance of over 750 student newspapers that promotes the patriotic and democratic aspirations of students and the people. It is the acknowledged national center for the advancement of campus press freedom.
It figured prominently in defeating the Marcos dictatorship. Together with other progressive youth organizations, it led the 1981-82 Democratic Reform Movement that removed military/police detachments on campus and restored student newspapers, councils and organizations.
Its long and lively history of struggle and service earned for the CEGP a place at the forefront of the student movement.
Today, the CEGP heads a campaign to: 1) reopen all closed student newspapers; 2) establish student newspapers in schools without any; and 3) end all campus press freedom violations on campus. It has also stood against Estradas clampdown on national newspapers. It launched last July the One Million Signature Drive for Press Freedom.
The CEGP is a convenor of the Sept. 21 Committee, PEOPLE RESIST (People Against Rising Tyranny) and Y3C (Youth Against Cha-cha, Curtailment of Press Freedom and Cronyism). It also spearheaded the formation of SOLIDARIDAD (Advocates of Press Freedom).
The CEGP is also a member of the Asian Students Association (ASA) and the National Center for Philippine Media (NCPM).
Contact the nearest schools student newspaper or the CEGP National Office.
2443-A Vision St.,
(63-2) 0917-9484489, 0918-8938550,
(63-2) 1388-96260, 1481-129006
STP: A Call to Unity and Action
No better path to unbridled dictatorship can be provided than with the unmitigated acts towards a manipulated and controlled press. Such is a stark reality today with the closure of the Manila Times, the ensuing attacks against the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the wholesale butcher of student-run newspapers. Such is reminiscent of Martial Law when a free press was silenced in favor of a crony press.
We hold the Estrada government entirely liable for the clampdown on mass media especially the critical voices. A muzzled press serves only governments seeking to hide much filth, muck and mud. It violates the people's democratic right to free flow of information and ideas without any interference.
Stop Tyranny and Plunder!
All other signs point to the barefaced return to hated Marcosian governance.
In the guise of uplifting the lives of the poor majority, the Estrada government's Concord in fact aims to remove constitutional provisions safeguarding land, utilities and media from foreign control. Concord also aims to clip the judiciary's power to review executive and legislative acts. Thus, the constitution will be rededicated to unbridled imperialist pillage of the economy and patrimony, among other equally bad projects.
Under the pretext of curbing crime and terrorism, the Concord seeks to mutilate the Bill of Rights so measures like warrantless arrests, wiretapping and illegal detention can be freely used against individuals and groups critical of the Estrada government.
And in an unmitigated display of Marcosian lust for power, Estrada government's Concord aims to lift the term limits of all elective positions, to shift from presidential toward a parliamentary form of government and to allow the president's reelection.
On top of these, the Estrada government presides over the Marcos' grand comeback to power and their exoneration from crimes against the people, the return of foreign military presence under the Visiting Forces Agreement, unmitigated nepotism and corruption, the imperialist stranglehold on various spheres of national life and the collapse of the peace talks.
For the people, this government has only brought militarization, subhuman wages, unemployment, high prices of basic goods, endless oil price hikes, unrestricted tuition fee increases, demolition of dwellings, forced migration and other unspeakable hardships.
Puno na ang salop! Dapat nang kalusin ang isang pahirap at nangangarap na diktador!
Serve The People!
The people, especially the young people, cannot and will not readily accept any of these. We have been shamed, exploited, deceived, suppressed and asked to sacrifice far too long. We will not allow the present and future generations to suffer the depredations of a fascist, corrupt and pro-imperialist government and the rule of the enemies of truth, freedom and democracy.
Enough is enough. We will fight back for us and for our future.
"Sobra na! Tama na! Pirma Na!"
updated: 20 September 1999
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