Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila students hit admin over claims of repression
MANILA, Philippines– Students of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) wore black armbands and shirts as part of a silent and peaceful protest against the university’s administration on Friday, February 15.
According to PLM’s official student publication, Ang Pamantasan, the protest is against the “recent incidents of ‘repression’ in the student body”. It is also in solidarity with the Black Friday protest made in the spirit of defending press freedom.
Kabataan Partylist said students suspected or found to be participating in the silent protest were questioned and taken pictures of by roving University Security Office guards (USG). Students' names were also recorded.
Update [11:53 am, Feb 15]
Kinuha ang mga pangalan at kinunan ng litrato ng USG ang ilang mga estudyanteng may itim na armbands.
Tindig lang, mga ka isko’t iska! Walang dapat ikatakot! #ResistTheAttacks pic.twitter.com/ARzd6a0yBl
Update [11:53 am, Feb 15]
Ang Pamantasan also reported PLM students from the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights (STAND-PLM) and Tugon were held in detention at the Office of Student Development and Services (OSDS).
No details were shared regarding the detention.
On Wednesday, February 13, a thread detailing claims of student repression in PLM started gaining traction on Twitter.
The thread featured submitted claims from PLM students about how the university administration is calling critics of the school to report to the OSDS without an explanation and threatening consequences to their academic standing in the school. There were also claims that some PLM staff have advised students to avoid taking part in the protest or anything pertaining to it.
In light of the administration’s response to the silent protest, students, along with Anakbayan-PLM, held an indignation rally in front of the PLM gate at 2:30 pm.
According to Jose Mari Callueng, the National President of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, a hearing will be conducted on February 15 to discuss possible expulsion and other sanctions the administration deems necessary to members of the PLM Supreme Student Council (SSC) who issued progressive statements on attacks to democratic rights. Those who participated in the silent protest may also face the same thing.
“This is outright student repression,” he said.
The complaint against PLM SSC officers came from an official statement about PLM thanking Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada for the achievements of the school and the school's board passers. This was posted in the PLM SSC Facebook page on January 15.
The complaint states that "the purpose and use of language made by the PLM SSC in that official statement has been purported to be discourteous against the university and its officials."
The PLM SSC has since clarified its intention for posting a statement. "Hindi kailanman intensyon ng konseho ang personal na pag-atake sa mga bahagi ng PLM, bagkus ay bigyang pansin ang mga bagay na may kinalaman lamang sa kanilang responsibilidad sa pamantasan," it said.
(It was never the intention of the council to personally attack PLM, but rather to pay attention to issues involving their responsibilities to the university.)
Callueng also questioned why the PLM SSC should still seek the permission of an adviser prior to posting an official statement of the student council.
"The mandate of the student council emanates from the students themselves. Should the council seek approval, it is not that one of the school administration but that of the students that they represent," he added.
On February 12, Saranggola Productions cancelled its open mic at PLM on Valentine’s Day due to complications between its partner, the PLM SSC, and the administration. Despite early preparations, submission of requirements, and constant follow-ups, the administration “repeatedly returned the papers due to ‘lack of merits.’”
“We would like to condemn the harassment these student leaders are getting by only giving their hearts in the name of public service,” Saranggola Productions said.
They also urged PLM students to stand up for their peers.
“Your student leaders are, anyway, facing malicious charges due to their position so we hope you check on them because some of them may not graduate. They are being harassed to retract their recent statements. We hope you stand up for them,” they said.
Rappler reached out to PLM but they declined to comment on the matter.– Rappler.com