President Duterte has threatened to cut off the funding of the University of the Philippines (UP) if the students refuse to go to class and instead participate in anti-government protests.
The President issued the warning after resenting that the state university has supposedly become a recruitment ground for communist rebels.
“”Yung mga eskwelahan, UP? Fine. Maghinto kayo ng aral (The schools, UP? Fine. If you stop going to school), I will stop the funding,” Duterte said in a televised address Tuesday night.
“Walang ginawa kung hindi mag-recruit ng mga komunista diyan tapos nag-aaral kayo. Gusto niyo binibira ang gobyerno. Masyado naman kaswerte kayo. Wag talaga kayong manakot rather, kasi i will oblige you (They do nothing but recruit communists there. You study there but you criticize the government. You’re lucky. Don’t provoke me because I will oblige you),” he said.
Duterte also took a swipe at the Ateneo students mounting an academic strike over the government’s alleged inaction to help typhoon victims. He initially told the students to let the government handle the disaster response before he dared them to “stop schooling.”
“You are taking the cudgels of the poor ahead of your time. That is not your worry. That is the worry of government,” he told the students.
Duterte assured the students that he and the rest of the government officials are working, disputing allegations that they were sleeping on the job. He said they should wait for the next typhoon and see if the aid extended by the government “is enough to your satisfaction.” If they are dissatisfied, he said the students can “protest again.”
Duterte later issued a challenge to the students to “stop schooling” to save on school costs. “Stop schooling. That will save money for your parents. Better make use of your time anywhere,” he said.
Prior to Duterte’s remarks, his spokesman Harry Roque brought up the academic strike of the Ateneo students during the meeting Tuesday. Roque branded the students as “crazy” for refusing to go to school until the government has given aid to the storm victims.
“Sir, yung mga estudyante na loko-loko na ayaw pumasok. Nagpoprotesta , hindi raw sila magsa-submit ng academic requirements hangga’t hindi natutulungan ang biktima ng typhoon (Sir, the crazy students refuse to go to school. They are protesting. They won’t submit the academic requirements until the typhoon victims are given assistance)” he said.
Roque earlier said the Ateneo students who will participate in the academic strike will fail if they don’t complete their academic requirements.