The University of the Philippines (UP) community on Wednesday, November 18, slammed President Rodrigo Duterte over his threat to defund the university because the institution supposedly does “nothing, but recruit communists.”
“Duterte’s threats to defund UP ignore the very reason UP is calling for the end of the semester,” University Student Council chairman Froilan Cariaga said in a statement.
“The criminal neglect towards the pandemic and back to back calamities has made remote learning impossible for many students and professors,” he added.
At least 234 UP faculty members and 3,000 students signed a petition urging the university administration to “end the semester immediately” due to remote learning woes, worsened by the consecutive typhoons that battered the country in the past weeks. (READ: UP faculty call to ‘end semester immediately’)
The faculty members said that the struggles of the academic community will not be over unless Duterte steps down.
In his late Tuesday night address, Duterte said that he would defund UP if students go on academic strike. (READ: Academic strike? Duterte threatens to defund UP)
“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)
In a statement, Anakbayan UP Diliman Spokesperson Ajay Lagrimas said that Duterte “only exposes himself as a fascist further with this statement.”
“It is clear: Duterte has no intentions of serving the people. And now, he attacks the legitimate calls of the youth with baseless accusations in an attempt to silence their growing dissent. Attacks like this further justifies our action, and continued neglect will only push more and more UP students to the streets,” Lagrimas said.
It was the students of Ateneo de Manila University – home to the children of many politicians and government officials – who launched an academic strike starting Wednesday, November 18, to call out the government for its inaction in relation to successive typhoons Quinta (Molave), Rolly (Goni), and Ulysses (Vamco). – Rappler.com