2 UP teachers arrested in protest vs P2.2-B budget cut
MANILA, Philippines – Local police arrested two UP Visayas (UPV) teachers Thursday afternoon in Iloilo City, in a protest action against the reported P2.2 billion cut from the state university's budget for the next academic year.
The Philippine Collegian reported that UPV Literature instructor Erick Aguilar and history instructor Gretchen Velarde face charges of "illegal assembly" and "civil disobedience."
They were detained at the Iloilo City Police Station 1, according to the Philippine Collegian, citing a report from the UPV student council.
Students condemned the arrest, stressing that fighting for their right to education "is not a crime."
In a statement, the alliance of UP student councils described how the local police tried to stop the protesters from reaching the Iloilo provincial capitol.
"Anti-riot police blocked the path of the students, faculty, and other sectors as part of 'security measures' for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summits to be held in the city," Kasama sa UP said.
Other leaders of the protest were also brought to the Iloilo City Police Office for "interrogation," the group added.
UPV student council chairperson Stephanie Lucena said the alleged police harassment "was "a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed right of students to assemble and protest in order to assert their legitimate demands."
Various members of the UP community across the country held rallies on Thursday to stop the cut, the biggest drop in its budget under the Aquino administration in 2016.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is proposing P10.9 billion for the UP system next year, from the P13.14 billion in 2015, while the total proposed budget for all state colleges and universities (SUCs) increases. – With a report from Voltaire Tupaz/Rappler.com