Students set up camp against commercialization in UP-Diliman

This article is available in Pilipino

The University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman students set up an encampment this May 30 to protest against the university’s worsening commercialization and the scheduled opening of a new mall in its Quezon City campus. They were joined by campus vendors who will be greatly affected by the entry of large private businesses into the campus.

The camp of students and other sectors of UP-Diliman will last until tomorrow morning. They will again protest at the opening of the meeting of the Board of Regents to voice their opposition to the commercialization scheme.

The UP Not for Sale Network, the group spearheading the activity, said it will hold a series of discussions and programs tonight. Groups and students will also hold cultural performances in solidarity.

They demand keeping the services within UP-Diliman affordable. They strongly oppose the CBMS Retail Business Development Consultancy to run the commercialized nature of Diliman Mall. PowerMac, UCC, Robinsons and other private large businesses are set to occupy the said mall.

“The ‘soft-opening’ of Dilimall will happen in August, when there are no students on campus,” the UP Not for Sale Network said. They said this seems to be the way to force the opening of the commercialized space without resistance.

Instead of big businesses, the administration should support vendors and small businesses in the former Shopping Center on campus that burned down in 2018. The vendors demand being given priority to Diliman Mall with cheap rent.

On April 24, it will be recalled that the network barricaded the campus following the surprise clearing operations conducted by the Quezon City Department of Sanitation and Cleanup Works and the Department of Public Order and Safety in some parts of UP Diliman.

Local agencies confiscated and scattered the vendors’ paraphernalia in Area 2, including stalls, tables, chairs, plants and signs, because they allegedly overstepped the designated area covered by their stores. Vendors said they were not notified of the clearing operations. At the same time, clearing operations were also conducted in Dagohoy St.

The network said the clearing operations are definitely part of the UP administration’s strategy to soften the ground for the feared closure of Area 2 and evict the shopping center stallholders from their place in the Old Tennis Court for the opening of Dilimall this year.

The mall built in UP is part of the overall framework of the UP Master Development Plan (MDP) approved by the Board of Regents in 2014. The zealous privatization and commercialization of the entire university stem from this plan.

AB: Students set up camp against commercialization in UP-Diliman