Photo courtesy: Philippine Collegian

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte warned to cut funding of state-owned University of the Philippines (UP) if it persists in recruiting students to join the communist group.

“Maghinto kayo ng aral. We will stop funding. Wala nang ginawa ang mga (ito) kundi mag-recruit ng mga komunista diyan. Tapos nag-aaral kayo kung gusto ninyong bira-bira ang gobyerno. Masyado namang maka-swerte kayo (Stop schooling. We will stop funding. All you do is recruit communist members. You go to school then attack the government. You’re too privileged),” the President said.

Despite this, the University of the Philippines Student Council seems unfazed and according to its council chairman Froilan Cariaga, they will push even more for the early termination of the current semester.

“Duterte’s threats to defund UP ignore the very reason UP is calling for the end of the semester,” Cariaga said in a statement.

About 234 faculty members and over 3,000 students have already signed the petition to ‘end the semester immediately,’ — a call for academic relief following the damage caused by the recent typhoons to the remote learning system in several areas in the country and the impact of the prevailing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

As for the students of the Ateneo de Manila, the President advised them to just stop schooling if they want after launching an academic strike.

Several students refused to submit any school requirements since Wednesday (November 18) in condemnation of what they claimed as the national government’s “neglectful response” to typhoon-affected communities and the COVID-19 situation in the country.

Huwag kayong pumasok (Then don’t go to school). I suggest to you, stop schooling. You wait for another typhoon and see if the help that we extend is enough to your satisfaction,” President Duterte said.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, meanwhile, said he explained to the president that the proponents of the academic strike were Ateneans and not the members of the UP community.

“He also, I think, somehow confused the proponents of this academic strike. I explained it was the Ateneo students advocating the academic strike,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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