The performance also called attention to the Rice Tariffication Law and the call to make military training mandatory.
Screen grab from video of Skimmers performance posted on YouTube by Ruperto Quitag
UP Visayas students take stand after adults take line from cheer routine literally
(Philstar.com) - October 20, 2019 - 11:43am

MANILA, Philippines — A college cheer routine highlighting social issues has led to online harassment from bloggers and social media users supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte—including Mocha Uson, deputy executive director of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration—who took offense at lines in the performance like "Let's kill this president charot!"

The harassment, which has included spreading personal information about the student organization's officers, has prompted the university student council and college student councils of UP Visayas to issue a unity statement condemning the online attacks against college students who performed at a school event.

According to the statement, the cheer routine by the Skimmers—according to its Facebook page, the organization is "composed of students taking up BA in Communication and Media Studies and BA in Literature" — was part of a competition to kick off UP Visayas' Pahampang Season.

"Their performance highlighted press freedom, media killings, and exploitation. It also took up issues on the West Philippine Sea, Rice Tarrification Law, [Commission on Higher Education]'s Memorandum that removed Filipino, Panitikan, and the Philippine Constitution as core subjects in college, and the government's call for mandatory [Reserve Officers Trainings Corps]," the UPV Student Council said.

Clips from the performance spread on social media over the weekend "after certain groups and pages singled out a line in Skimmers' cheer condemning the Duterte administration’s inaction over the Philippine claim on the West Philippine Sea," the council also said.

'Charot'

Included in that portion of the performance is a line "Let's kill this president charot" done with movements inspired by K-pop group BLACKPINK's "Kill This Love." In most contexts, "charot" is a slang term to indicate somebody is joking.

"The line's satirical nature did not sit well with Duterte supporters as they took their threats and harassment to Facebook and launched different attacks against Skimmers and its cheerers," the student council said. It said some online accounts also "publicized some personal information of the Skimmers governor and Skimmers adviser, making them a target."

Some social media users accused the students of inciting to sedition, a crime under the Revised Penal Code of making speeches or statements "that tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing the functions of his office, or instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or incite rebellious conspiracies or riots, or which lead or tend to stir up the people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the government, or who shall knowingly conceal such evil practices."

The UPV students said attacks against members and officers of Skimmers "intensified when Mocha Uson herself shared a snippet of the Skimmers' cheer on her personal blog, with the caption 'Let’s kill the President daw? Yan na ba talaga ang tinuturo nila sa University of the Philippines ngayon?'."

They said Uson's post, which has been shared more than 2,000 times, "has inspired Duterte supporters to send video threats to several Skimmers cheerers, post their photos without consent (which is a clear violation of the Data Privacy Act), and redtag the University along with its University Student Council."

RELATED: CHR warns of grave implications of red-tagging groups

Red-tagging refers to the practice of labelling activists and dissenters as enemies of the state and communist rebels, a practice that the Commission on Human Rights warns puts people who are red-tagged in danger.

UP, which has a long history of activism and of speaking out on social issues, has long been labelled as a school where communist rebels are recruited, an assertion that the university's administration rejects and that is not representative of the diverse communities within the university system. 

"The University of the Philippines Visayas – University Student Council, along with the Local College Councils and various student organizations in UP Visayas, strongly condemn the blatant acts of doxxing and harassment targeting members of the Skimmers academic organization, particularly its governor and its adviser," the students said.

Organizations within UPV have also issued their own statements of support for Skimmers while social media users have also voiced support on Twitter through the hashtag #HandsOffSkimmers. — Jonathan de Santos

RELATED: How activists respond to being tagged as rebels

MOCHA USON REDTAGGING UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES VISAYAS
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