Friday, March 07, 2008

Interview by the student paper of Mapua Institute of Technology

Interview by Thessa Quilalang

1. What do you think of the Lozada issue? (NBN-ZTE, Pres. Gloria)

Before I answer this question, let me state that I am a member of an alliance of scientists, technologists, engineers and other individuals who want the truth and want change, Scientists for Truth, Scientists for Change (STSC). I am stating this fact because we in STSC have already declared our analysis of and position on this issue.

The NBN-ZTE issue is not just an issue of large-scale corruption in the government. It shows the thinking of the current administration when it comes to modernizing our country. Even if corruption did not take place, why should the government rely on a foreign IT company to install a national broadband network? Our country has enough scientists, engineers and IT practitioners whose expertise can be tapped in order to do this. Based on the pile of exposes after exposes, we conclude that the government under Mrs. Arroyo is not really interested in developing a national broadband network but only wants the kickbacks along with the NBN-ZTE contract.

2. What can you say about the situation today? Regarding Mapuans's response to our national situation?

I cannot really generalize on MIT faculty, students, and staff's response to the current situation since I have not talked to most of them, but based on my discussions with some faculty members, students, and staff of MIT, I can say that many Mapuans are concerned about this issue. Being an academic institution, where debates and ideas are expected to flourish, it is but natural to expect MIT to make a stand on the issue. Many MIT constituents are already doing this. In fact, some of us are joining a coalition among academic and non-academic communities along Taft Avenue and in Intramuros area. It was publicly launched last February 28 at UP Manila. We expect more Mapuans to join this coalition since it is a venue to air all our grievances on the issue in a unified manner. They may want to contact me about this.

3. What do you think does this have an effect to you? Positively? Negatively?

The current corruption scandal affects us both positively and negatively. Negatively, massive corruption in the government deprives all Filipinos of the money and resources that could have been spent on education, health, and industrialization. Positively, it illustrated that what we have done in the two EDSA uprisings have not eliminated all evils in the government. We could look at it as an opportunity for all Filipinos to unite once again, and this time we will not stop until the government is totally clean and devoid of corrupt officials.

4. Does this hinder your profession?

As a research scientist and as a teacher, no. In fact, it gives me more enthusiasm to reach out to other scientists and teachers and unite with them in searching for the truth.

5. What do you think can you contribute as a Mapuan?

Mapuan or not, we are all needed to contribute to the resolution of this conflict, and we can do this by uniting with each other, by organizing ourselves.

6. What is your say to those Mapuans who are not interested on this issue?

Kung kaya nyo pa tiisin ang pangungurakot sa ating kayamanan, marami ang hindi na.

7. Ano ang masasabi ninyo sa reaksyon ng ibang mga estudyante about the ff:
a. Natatakot akong sumali kasi baka masuspend ako?

Wala akong nakikitang batas na nagbabawal sa pagpapahayag ng mga saloobin. Freedom of expression is enshrined in our Constitution, and this freedom is useless if we don't exercise it.

b. Bakit ako sasali eh wala naman akong alam sa issyu na yun?

Makialam. Bilang estudyante, pag-aralan ang mga nangyayari.

c. Sasama ako kapag sumama yung mga kaibigan ko?

Ipaliwanag ang sitwasyon. Mag-conduct ng mga study sessions about the issue and make a united stand with your friends.

8. Sa pagiging "repressive" ng mga students, ano sa tingin mo ang maitutulong mo/part mo in order to help Mapuan to be fully aware of the current situation? (national issue)

Maybe you mean "repressed", not "repressive", ang mga students. In situations like this, it is really up to those students who have more knowledge and deeper understanding of the issue to reach out to other students, explain to them, and unify them on a common stand and actions.

9. Message to Mapuans?

I expect Mapuans to be critical thinkers, brave, and patriotic. We should be seeing more Mapuans doing what should be done for the good of the country, and that is to voice out in public and join all sectors of the society in condemning corruption, demanding accountability, and searching for the truth. I am inviting them to STSC or the coalition Samahan sa U-Belt Para sa Tunay na Pagbabago ng Lipunan. Remember that the more parallel forces you have, the greater is the acceleration.


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