Letter requesting support for Dr. Encanto

To all members and alumni of the UP Journalism Club
To all students and alumni of the UP College of Mass Communication

Dr. Georgina Encanto, who was dean of the UP College of Mass Communication from 1984 to 1990, has been nominated for the presidency of the University of the Philippines System. This is the first time that anyone from our College has ever been in contention for the highest post in our University.

I would appreciate your support for her, not only because she is member of the faculty of UP-CMC, but also because she has the vision, plan of action and the will to carry that plan out to extricate the University from its present crisis.

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Howard’s end?

Australia’s prime minister John Howard has called for elections on October 9. Howard, already one of the longest-serving of Australia’s prime ministers, will seek a fourth term for his conservative government. The Labor Party, led by political newcomer Mark Latham, has vowed to highlight “the failures of the Howard government, the dishonesty, the attacks on Medicare, the loss of affordable education, the way it has made Australia less safe in the war against terror,” while “putting forward positive solutions for the benefit of the Australian people.”

Although the Australian elections will take place a month before the US elections, they’re not likely to be of concern to many Filipinos, who’re currently less focused on the fiscal crisis that isn’t a fiscal crisis than on where the next meal’s coming from, and how to survive the wet season. They should be concerned, or at least interested. What kind of government Australians elect could be crucial to the rest of Asia including the Philippines.

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The key is in the exemptions

Only the corrupt officials of which we have a plentiful supply, and our super-secretive police and military who regard an informed public as a threat to national security and public order oppose, if only in secret, the public’s right to access government records. It’s in the Constitution in the first place, and has been upheld by Philippine jurisprudence so often those who object to its exercise would also be going against the law.

In this country of contradictions, this is its blessing and its curse. Like press freedom—to the exercise of which information access is crucial, and which even the clueless support because it’s politically correct—even those who have something to hide will swear commitment to it. Again like press freedom, those actually opposed to it because they fear exposure resort to extra-legal means to frustrate it.

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To whom it may concern

Although A few years his junior, I met Jose Ma. Sison in the University of the Philippines years ago, in the Philippine Collegian, of which he was research editor during the editorship of Leonardo Quisumbing, then a law student, and who’s currently a Supreme Court justice. A liberal through and through with dreams of a law career, I nevertheless ended up editing Sison’s second book, Struggle for National Democracy (his first book was a book of poems).

The editing task was itself a struggle. Although an English literature major (he was then an MA student and an instructor in the Department of English), Joe, as he was then plainly known among friends, wrote in a prose style we in the esoteric circles of the UP Writers’ Club thought peculiar.

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