Repression masked as ‘revamp’

By: Teejay Obsequio
November 06, 2017

Lyceum of the Philippines University’s school publication – The LPU Independent Sentinel currently holds no budget, editorial board, and members, making their publication completely dysfunctional.

This has come to the surface as the administration of LPU blatantly removed Sentinel’s collection of the publication fee, shamelessly postponed its transition of a new editorial board which they claim are moves to revamp the paper in the future.

Classes have started, preliminary exams have concluded in our neighbor school. Still, the application of new members for Sentinel remains postponed despite the calls of existing members of the publication for it to push through.  This is also despite, LPU Independent Sentinal Editor-in-Chief Jane Jessica Sy’s efforts for the transitional process which she started last April 28.

Dean of Student Affairs Jayson Barlan and the existing members of Sentinel have met last August 24. Dean Barlan shared LPU administration’s plans for the ‘renewal phase' noting that the publication is not fully recognized outside Intramuros and has not won any accolades and awards in comparison to other LPU campus papers, according to a published note by Sentinel on their Facebook page.

Last year, I had witnessed the LPU Independent Sentinel brought home the “Best Campus Paper” award in the First Gawad Inkstitution of the United Print Media Group. This was also the same night that The LANCE, our own school publication, has made a milestone in its 40th year as we brought home four awards.

“Sentinel has won many awards in its 32-year history, including accolades from the Catholic Mass Media Awards and the Gawad Inkstitution. It has also attended various events from the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and many others,” Sentinel EIC 2016-2017 Jessica Jane Sy said.

This only shows that Dean Barlan’s statement is merely a false accusation to justify their tyranny against LPU’s student publication. He even added that the reason for removing the publication’s budget was in order to fund the Sentinel ‘directly.’

Sentinel also revealed that in order for the LPU admin to save one’s neck in violating CHED policies in campus publications, Sentinel is planned to be replaced with a students’ page in “Tower” the administration run publication, LPU’s counterpart of Letran’s Knight Life.

It moreover disgusts me that Dean Barlan is trying to bail out of LPU admin tyranny against the Sentinel with his false accusations lame enough to justify their repressing moves to the abolition of the publication. If they carried the audacity to postpone the transition and dismiss the budget then try harder bailing out or better yet stop making the student publication dysfunctional.

Take note that this institution which offers a Journalism program teaching its students to be critical in seeking the truth and justice is the same institution trying to grab the right of their students to do so.

Kudos to the existing members of the Sentinel and its alumni in defending their rights to continue serving the LPU community information and critical thinking with independence which they and the rest of the campuses in the country deserves. 

The #DefendTheSentinel narrative may be occurring at the other side of the ‘Walled City’ but this heeds our attention. This is a despairing narrative of repression from those in power. Existing members of Sentinel showcased courage in defending their rights as student publication from any form of repression. If they can exert courage, you can too.

(First published on The LANCE's September Issue)