President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to stop funding for the state-run University of the Philippines if students proceed with their threat to hold a mass protest by not attending online classes.
“Stop schooling? That will save money for your parents. Better make use of your time anywhere. Sige. Iyong mga eskwelahan, UP? Fine. Maghinto kayo ng aral. I will stop the funding. Nandiyan ‘yan,” said Duterte in a Tuesday night briefing.
Duterte said he has no qualms about defunding UP since it is allegedly a recruitment ground for communists.
“Tapos nag-aaral kayo ang gusto ninyong binibira ang gobyerno. Masyado namang nakasuwerte kayo. Huwag talaga kayong matakot — manakot rather kasi I will oblige you,” he added.
Duterte told students to be more objective in assessing government’s response to disasters.
“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, nagtatrabaho kami.Bantayan na lang ninyo ‘yung mga bagyong dadating at tignan ninyo ‘yung mga nangangailangan ng tulong na hindi natulungan, then you protest again,” he said.
It was not UP students, but rather students from Ateneo De Manila University, who started calls for an academic strike to protest the government’s supposed dismal response to the succession of typhoons which hit Luzon this month.
Faculty members from UP only urged the university administration to end the semester now due to challenges in distance learning for students, particularly those in areas affected by disasters.