Malacañang to student protesters: the right to protest is respected, but do not skip classes

Malacañang to student protesters: the right to protest is respected, but do not skip classes

Malacañang clarifies its stand as against student protests.

The palace which have been peppered with criticisms from all fronts by the opposition regarding the statement of the President that he will replace protesting UP students with those from the Lumad communities in Mindanao.

“Earlier today, they walked out. Go ahead,” President Rodrigo Duterte said in reaction. “f you don’t want to go to school, get out of there because I will bring [indigenous] students who are bright and put them there. A lot of Filipinos want to have an excellent education.”  
UP students activists (photo credit to Philstar)

Malacañang is now making its stand on the matter very clear, that it  respects the decision of students of the University of the Philippines (UP) to hold political protests, it also urged them not to use it as an excuse to skip classes.

“Our position on the right of peaceful assembly and street protest has not wavered,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing.

Public displays of constructive criticism, including youth participation in protest, “ are allowed as part of full exercise of the citizens’ right to express their grievances”, Roque said.

“We however hope students will not skip or cut classes and use street protest as an excuse to neglect their studies,” he added.

In the same press briefing the spokesperson was also able to clear his name regarding the issue that in his days as a UP Professor he encourages his students to skip classes.

Roque  said that instead of holding classes inside the classroom of the university, they were held in the streets to be able to participate in rallies.

“I did not encourage them to skip class. What we did was we held class in the streets. That was not skipping classes,” Roque said.

Asked if he encouraged students to join protests during his teaching stint, he said it was a call for “critical thinking” in the university.   *

The Presidential Spokesperson, reiterates that  government authorities will always observe maximum tolerance and respect the protesters constitutional guaranteed right to peaceful assembly.

Report from PNA


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