Ex-UP president holds dialogue to resolve Mt. Province school row | Inquirer News

Ex-UP president holds dialogue to resolve Mt. Province school row

/ 09:34 PM August 12, 2011

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet—Former University of the Philippines president Emerlinda Roman on Wednesday led a dialogue between the faculty and students of the Mt. Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC), Bontoc elders and the college president they had forced to resign, to end the standoff that had disrupted the school’s operations for five weeks.

Roman met the teachers and students and MPSPC president Nieves Dacyon in a closed-door session hosted by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd). She declined to be interviewed pending the outcome of the dialogue.

Roman allowed the protesters and Dacyon to gather for an informal “tongtongan” (community dialogue) to allow them to thresh out the issues “they could settle themselves,” said George Lumiwes, president of the MPSPC Alumni Association.


Classes at the MPSPC campus in Bontoc town resumed on Monday, after the students and Bontoc residents were told that a tongtongan had been scheduled this week, he said.


“People in Manila will find this strange, but the whole Bontoc village has been roused up against Dacyon [allegedly because of rumors that she has disparaged the community]. That is very true. They all want her to leave because [they believe] she has shamed the community,” said Lumiwes in an earlier interview.

Lumiwes, who is also an employee of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in Bontoc, said the protesters were also appeased by resolutions passed last week by the the town councils of Bontoc, Paracelis, Sadanga, Sagada, Bauko and Sabangan that urged Dacyon to take a leave of absence to defuse the tension.

Lumiwes, who will sit as

MPSPC trustee following his election last week as MPSPCAA president, said two key issues required a mutual decision between the “ili” (community) and Dacyon.

The first is whether Dacyon should take a leave of absence while the second issue involves the criminal charges that may be filed against teachers and students who led the protests from the end of June to the first week of August, he said.


Dacyon was forced to resign on July 1 by protesters who broke through her office during the second week of the rallies. She was reinstated on July 6 by the MPSPC board of trustees and the CHEd.

The National Bureau of Investigation began investigating the protesters last week on the request of CHEd.

Blaine Bilatlat, chair of the MPSPC student grievance committee and a protest leader, said the charges that may be filed against them, as well as their own administrative countercharges against Dacyon, were the topic of the afternoon negotiations on Wednesday.

But Dacyon  refused to relieve herself of her duties as president, leading to a deadlock.

Members of the MPSPC board of trustees, who joined the dialogue, proposed to deputize another college official to take charge of campus operations while the dialogue continued in Bontoc, Lumiwes said.

Lumiwes said the MPSPC crisis began on the last week of June when MPSPC students complained about new school fees. On the same week, the faculty began protesting the termination of an accounting instructor after only a week’s work.

Lumiwes said Bontoc elders are very protective of the school.

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The MPSPC started as the Mt. Province Community College in the 1970s, which produced teachers and midwives for the Cordillera. It achieved state college status in 1992 through a law authored by the late Mt. Province Rep. Victor Dominguez, and has developed other campuses in neighboring towns. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

TAGS: Conflict, Mt. Province, School

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