DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Students of the University of the Philippines Mindanao walked out of their classes on Friday against what they described as “anti-people” policies of the Duterte administration.
The UP Min students joined their counterparts in other UP campuses in a nationwide simultaneous protests on various issues against Duterte such as the implementation of TRAIN or tax reform law, drug war campaign, jeepney phase-out, proposed charter change, media attacks, break down of peace talks, human rights violations and martial law in Mindanao.
UP Mindanao University Student Council (UP-Min USC) vice-chairperson Prince Harvey Arellano said they walked out to condemn the “increasing fascism and the tyrannical, militarist rule” of the Duterte government.
Arellano cited killings of activists in Mindanao mostly farmers and indigenous people and other human rights violations “which intensifies since the declaration of Martial Law.”
He said President Rodrigo Duterte should directly address these issues that hound his administration.
Earlier this month, Duterte warned he would replace UP students who will join walkouts with “bright Lumad” students.
However, Arellano said they are not threatened by Duterte’s remarks.
“We are not afraid because injustices are being committed by this administration, its imperative for us to express our dissent,” Arellano said.
“It should be him [Duterte], who should be kicked out from his position,” he added.
The student leader called on his fellow youth to stand up against the “dictatorship” of Duterte, saying the youth and student movement has made history in toppling down the Marcos dictatorship back in the 70’s.
“We have proved that our collective might can land the people the fruition of their fight. We have proved that we fear no tyrant. We fear no fascist ruler. We have proved throughout history that no dictator has won against the revolting masses,” he said.
Meanwhile, Anakpawis representative Ariel Casilao in a statement lauds the student protest, “The successful protest of the students and youths are but a sign that they are not afraid of the Duterte government’s intimidation, threats and consistent attacks through social media of pro-government fake news peddlers accusing known youth leaders including their representative in Congress of various personal defamatory attacks and inviting violence against them.” (davaotoday.com)