Academic strike? Duterte threatens to defund UP

The academic strike launched by Ateneo de Manila University students has reached President Rodrigo Duterte, and he's not happy about it.

In a meeting with Cabinet members on Tuesday night, November 17, Duterte threatened to cut funding for the University of the Philippines after being told about the academic strike.

"UP, fine, maghinto kayo ng aral (stop school), I will stop the funding," said the President in remarks aired later that night.

It was Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque who brought up the academic strike in the meeting.

"Sir, 'yung mga estudyante po na loko-loko na ayaw pumasok, nagpo-protesta, hindi raw sila magsu-submit ng academic requirements hanggang hindi natutulungan ang mga biktima ng typhoon," said a chuckling Roque.

(Sir, the crazy students don't want to go to school, they're protesting that they won't submit academic requirements until the typhoon victims are given help.)

Duterte's initial response was to tell students that they shouldn't worry themselves about typhoon response.

"You are taking the cudgels of the poor ahead of your time. That is not your worry, that is the worry of government. Kami, sabi ko nagta-trabaho kami (I said, we are working)," said Duterte.

He then advised students to "stop schooling" so as to "save money" for their parents.

Duterte red-tags UP

But Duterte used the opportunity to rant about his other beef with UP students.

"Walang ginawa itong ano kung 'di mag-recruit ng komunista diyan. Tapos nag-aaral kayo, ang gusto ninyong binibira ang gobyerno. Masyado naman nakasuwerte kayo," said the Chief Executive.

(They do nothing but recruit communists. Then you study, but you love to criticize the government. You're getting too lucky.)

He followed these remarks with a threat.

"Huwag talaga kayong matakot, manakot rather, kasi I will oblige you (Don't try to scare me because I will oblige you)," he said.

It was students of Ateneo de Manila University, a private school, who launched an academic strike starting Wednesday, November 18, to call out the government for its response to successive typhoons Quinta (Molave), Rolly (Goni) and Ulysses (Vamco).

The strike was also in recognition of how students affected by these storms would not be able to keep up with school work given the destruction of their homes, loss of gadgets, or access to power and internet. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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