UPD students, other stakeholders stage protest at class opening

UPD students, other stakeholders stage protest at class opening

A student-led protest was held at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman on February 6, coinciding with the start of classes for the second semester of the academic year 2023-2024 and the 53rd anniversary of the Diliman Commune.

Students, faculty, and concerned sectors gathered at UP Diliman’s Palma and Quezon Halls to join the demonstration dubbed ‘First Day Fight,’ aimed at raising awareness about the challenges facing the country and the UP community.

These include issues surrounding the public utility vehicle modernization program, difficulties in securing units for courses, displacement of vendors on campus, and lack of designated spaces for student organizations.

“The rights of the people must be the priority of the state and the University over profit. Capital and commercial interests are rapidly encroaching, continuing to haunt the lives of many Filipinos. The national government’s drastic transformation of livelihood, public services, and spaces for the sake of profit disenfranchises the public from their own rights,” the UP Diliman University Student Council (USC) said in a statement.

“The University is not separate from the wider struggle of the masses. With the opening of the new semester, the UP Diliman community continues to face the same issues it must address,” the USC added.

Rise for Education Alliance member Ted Narciso expressed dismay over the continued persistence of years-long problems within the University.

“Salubong sa bagong semestre sa atin ngayon ang samot-saring problema na kinakaharap ng buong UP community… Hirap na hirap [táyong] kumuha ng subjects. Every sem na lang, ganito táyo. Kailangan pa nating magmakaawa para lang makakuha ng units. Ganiyan ang nararanasan nating mga estudyante kada bagong semestre,” Narciso said.

(Here we are, as we face a myriad of problems at the start of the new semester… We’re having a hard time enrolling in subjects. It’s like this every semester. We even need to beg just to get units. That’s the experience we students have every new semester.)

In an interview with DZUP, Samahang Manininda sa UP Campus President Narry Hernandez voiced concerns about the impact of recent administrative decisions on small vendors within the University.

“Ito rin ‘yung magiging dahilan ng unti-unting pagkawala ng kabuhayan ng mga maliliit na manininda sapagkat binibigyan ng pagkakataon ng administrasyon na makapasok ang malalaking negosyante dito sa loob ng Unibersidad, samantalang dapat maisaalang-alang ng administrasyon ‘yung mga serbisyong ibinibigay ng mga maliliit na manininda sa napakatagal nang panahon,” Hernandez told DZUP.

(This will also be the reason for the gradual loss of livelihood for small vendors because the administration is giving opportunities for big businesses to enter the university premises, when the administration should be considering the services which small vendors have been providing over a long period of time.)

UP Diliman Chancellor Edgardo Carlo Vistan II addressed protesters during the program at Quezon Hall, promising to engage in formal discussions on the issues raised.

UP ComRes hosts int’l conference on media, communication

UP ComRes hosts int’l conference on media, communication

The University of the Philippines (UP) Department of Communication Research (ComRes) hosted this year’s Communication Research International Conference (CRIC), with the theme “MediAgenda: The Mediatization of Communication in Asia,” last November 17-18 at the UP Cine Adarna.

CRIC 2023 was a collaboration with nine international partner universities, predominantly from Southeast Asia. It attracted over 700 attendees, including presenters and speakers from nine countries and 57 institutions. The two-day conference featured six plenary sessions and 21 parallel sessions.

International partner universities included four from Indonesia (Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Komunikasi Dan Sekretary Tarakanita, Universitas 17 Agustus 1945 (UNTAG) Surabaya, Universitas Atma Jaya Yogyakarta, and Universitas Multimedia Nusantara), two from Taiwan (National Chengchi University and National Taiwan Normal University), and one each from Malaysia (Sunway University), Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), and Thailand (Chulalongkorn University).

ComRes organized the conference to create a platform for both students and educators to showcase their media and communication research outside traditional classroom settings.

Keynote speakers for this year’s conference included Professor Mirca Madianou of Goldsmith University, in London, Associate Professor Younbo Jung from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and ComRes Chair Associate Professor Randy Jay Solis.

The opening ceremony was honored by the presence of UP Diliman Chancellor Edgardo Carlo Vistan II, Dean Fernando Paragas of the UP College of Mass Communication, and Quezon City (QC) Assistant Administrator for General Affairs Rene Grapilon, representing QC Mayor Joy Belmonte.

CRIC, evolving from the Communication Research Student Conference and later the National Communication Research Conference in 2012, has grown into an international forum since 2016, which aims to foster academic dialogue and research collaborations across Asia and beyond.

UP, media group organize forum on PH press woes

UP, media group organize forum on PH press woes

The University of the Philippines (UP) Department of Journalism (Journ), in collaboration with alternative media group AlterMidya, organized a forum discussing the challenges confronting the Philippine press, November 7.

The forum titled “Pressing Boundaries: Challenges in Journalism Amid a Shrinking Democratic Space” was held at the UP College of Mass Communication Auditorium focused on the perspective of alternative media practitioners.

UP Journ Associate Professor and Bulatlat Associate Editor Danilo Arao shared insights into the persistent culture of impunity in the Philippines, especially concerning journalists.

“Out of more than 190 countries, 12 ang nása listahan at nando’n táyo sa tinatawag na ‘Notorious 12.’ Nagsimula ang Global Impunity Index, 16 years ago… Since the first time na in-establish ito ng Committee to Protect Journalists, nandoon na táyo, noon pa man,” Arao said.

(Out of more than 190 countries, we are in the ‘Notorious 12.’ We have been on that list since the Global Impunity Index was established by the Committee to Protect Journalists 16 years ago.)

“Sa framework ng human rights violations, kinikilala rin ito ng United Nations, kahit isa lang ang human rights violation at a particular timeframe, pinapakita nito iyong pagiging malala ng estado, sapagkat hindi naprotektahan ang kahit isa lang,” he added.

(In the context of human rights violations, even a single case at any given time highlights the severity of the state’s failure to protect its citizens, as recognized by the United Nations.)

The forum also featured insights from UP College of Fine Arts Professor Renan Ortiz, who shared his experiences and aspirations as a cartoonist for Pinoy Weekly. He voiced a hopeful vision for the future, expressing a desire for a more diverse and profound discourse in the field.

“Sana matupad, sana sa hinaharap maraming kartunista, sana mas maraming platporma, mas maraming uusbong na babaeng kartunista, para mas malalim na talakayan,” Ortiz said.

(I look forward to seeing more cartoonists, especially women, emerge, offering deeper discussions across various platforms.)

AlterMidya’s Avon Ang issued a call to action for the youth, encouraging the next generation of journalists to press on despite adversities.

“Sana tanggapin natin ang hámon na bílang kabataang mamamahayag, hinahamon táyo ng sitwasyon sa kabila ng pananakot at kahirapan, magpapatuloy táyo,” Ang urged.

(Let’s embrace the challenge as young journalists, to continue our work despite intimidation and hardship.)

The event concluded with a candle lighting protest in front of UP Plaridel Hall. Media workers and students gathered to demand justice for journalists killed in the Gaza Strip, symbolizing their solidarity and commitment to press freedom.

UP DSCTA holds conference on freedom of speech in Asia

UP DSCTA holds conference on freedom of speech in Asia

The Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts (DSCTA) of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Arts and Letters (CAL) held the “Freedoms of Speech in Asia: Speech Communication Conference 2023” on October 26-27, at UP Diliman’s Malcolm Hall.

The conference aimed to explore the various roles of speech across Asia as a concept, action, performance, process, and system of thought. The event sought to challenge prevailing perspectives that have impacted the appreciation of speech communication and spoken practices across the continent.

“This conference dedicated to ‘freedoms of speech’ in Asia probes this freedom in the plural with the goal of embedding its value in a broader horizon of gestures, expectations, and meanings, as well as making it relevant to diverse types and figures of speech that come into experience in everyday life in Asia,” the DSCTA said.

“To situate speech as a concept and a practice in Asia is to encounter multiple histories of suppression: from colonial conquests that subjugated local traditions and communities, imperial tutelage that structured collective ways of life and expression, Cold War interventions that antagonized homegrown ideological formations, political orders that stifled dissent and critique, through the current algorithmic regimes that distort the public sphere and its opportunities for discussion and deliberation,” it added.

“Questioning these frames of mind that have had deep and damaging effects not only on the vitality of speech communities but also on the valuation of oral traditions and spoken practices in the region, the DSCTA initiates a conference that accounts for the myriad ways that Asia actually enables and is, in turn, enabled by speech as an idea, an act, a performance, a process, and a system of thought and action.”

In his opening remarks, UP Diliman Chancellor Edgardo Carlo Vistan II emphasized the importance of freedom of speech in the historical and academic context of UP Diliman. He highlighted the University’s commitment to creating an environment where free speech, debate, and creative expression are not only protected but also celebrated.

“The phrase ‘freedom of speech’ is significant in the history of the country and of UP Diliman. Our various halls have served, and continue to serve, as venues where free speech, debate, argumentation, and creative and critical expressions are shielded from suppression and—more importantly—celebrated as cornerstones of the University’s identity and vision,” Vistan said.

“[The holding of this conference] is also a message of resistance to infrastructures and political actors in the context where freedom of speech, not only in the Philippines but in Asia, are limited and suppressed through various forms of disinformation and misinformation, historical distortions, and human rights violations,” he added. 

“Together with the DSCTA, the University partakes in its effort to resist against these challenges through various scholarly and creative outputs, and more so, extension of public service beyond the University.”

CAL Dean Jimmuel Naval discussed the conference’s role in reinforcing DSCTA’s commitment to fostering a vibrant scholarly culture within the College and the broader academic community. 

“[This] affirms DSCTA’s pivotal role in developing a vibrant research and scholarly culture in CAL, the University and the Philippine nation. The DSCTA is proactive in emphasizing the role of speech communication in forging social relations, bridging cultural differences, and understanding a communicative dimension of all sorts of phenomena,” Naval said.

“I acknowledge the commitment of the DSCTA to continue the ecology of communicative knowledge and practice in the Philippines through sustained scholarship and research, educational endeavors, and strategic partnership with public and private institutions.”

The conference featured two keynote lectures, two plenary panels, and six general panels. Ateneo de Manila University Associate Professor Jozon Lorenza and De La Salle University Manila Professor Cheryll Ruth Soriano served as keynote speakers. UP College of Mass Communication Dean Fernando Paragas and UP DSCTA Chair Oscar Serquiña Jr. participated as panelists in various sessions.

Several delegates shared their key takeaways from the conference. They emphasized the need for better political punditry in the Philippines.

“We need to further popularize political punditry because it’s very important, especially these days,” journalist and Marshall McLuhan Fellow Christian Esguerra said.

“There’s an explosion of opinion and, paradoxically, that means there’s a greater need for more informed, better-sourced pundits. We need more and better sources of opinion,” John Nery from Rappler and the Ateneo said. — with Samir Liao and Max Salvador

AI, creativity intersect at UP Diliman forum

AI, creativity intersect at UP Diliman forum

Makati-based independent advertising agency The Huddle Room, in collaboration with the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Mass Communication (CMC), held on October 26 this year’s Creative Conversations or CreaCon at the UP CMC Auditorium.

The forum brought together creative and tech leaders to explore the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and creative processes. They are ShareIt Country Director Ghay Mondejar-Saputil, tech startup Chief Marketing Officer Vandy Pesarillo, and University of Asia and the Pacific School of Media and Marketing Professor Robert Cortes.

Mondejar-Saputil delved into the concept of data-driven creativity, exploring its key aspects including audience insights, personalized approaches, marketing optimization, collaborative creative processes, and the generation of creative content. “It’s really about harnessing the power of information so you could fuel innovation, ignite imagination, and bringing to life your ideas,” she explained.

“There really is a benefit in using the tools… It’s like you’re able to amplify the ability of one man by billions. Whereas before, you’re only relying on the knowledge of maybe one, two, three, four, or five persons, you can now tap on the knowledge of hundreds of thousands of people,” Mondejar-Saputil said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“Before, you would have to search for that [data]. Like really understand your audience. Now, it’s really available to you. But in the future, [perhaps] the machine just determines who is the right audience for your product or for your service.”

She also provided a brief history of AI, dating back to the 1940s. She underscored that AI is not a recent development, contrary to popular belief.

Pesarillo emphasized the collaborative nature of human-AI partnerships in creative endeavors. Pesarillo encouraged attendees to view AI as a ‘brainstorming buddy.’

“Think of human-AI collaboration as a dynamic duet, where humans and AI join forces to create something extraordinary. This collaboration is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for staying competitive,” he said.

Pesarillo highlighted that the collaboration between humans and AI plays a significant role in amplifying creativity and ideation. He pointed out that this partnership not only boosts efficiency and productivity but also offers unparalleled access to extensive datasets and resources.

“AI can suggest fresh ideas for a marketing campaign. AI streamlines photo manipulation, storyboarding, and video editing, saving hours and allowing more time for creative polishing. AI unlocks the treasure trove of the internet for writers,” he said.

“The dawn of human-AI synergy is here. It’s just beginning. It’s in its infancy. And, I want everyone to actually be part of this revolution,” he added.

Cortes, on the other hand, spoke about ethics and transparency in AI-driven advertising.

He also talked about AI’s role in easing human tasks. “Because of AI, we human beings can get to the more important things that human beings should do. And that’s being creative, being loving, being responsible.”

“AI has really made life easier for us. But also, we know—we are realistic—that not all are positive effects. Moreover, we don’t know what these effects are. Not all, at least. And so, we watch and see and we reflect and we assess and we choose, and we act. This is, I suggest, the kind of deep ethics we need to practice as we consider AI in our daily lives,” Cortes added.

UP CMC Dean Fernando Paragas reflected on the impact of AI on knowledge creation. “While AI is not new, its generative modality appears to contest our own capacity to create art and text, synthesize information, and perhaps discover new phenomena,” he noted.

Joining the speakers were UP Department of Broadcast Communication Chair Alwin Aguirre and The Huddle Room Executive Creative Director Ryan Rubillar who served as panelists. — with Jan Matthew Domingo

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