UP Visayas takes stand after cheer draws trolls
The performance was staged at the UPV Cheering Competition, as part of its Pahampang Season, a venue for students to tackle social and political issues through creative cheers.
Screen grab from video of Skimmers performance posted on YouTube by Ruperto Quitag

UP Visayas takes stand after cheer draws trolls

Charmie Joy Pagulong (The Philippine Star) - October 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Students from the University of the Philippines Visayas have condemned the “threats” and “harassments” they have received online for criticizing the current administration, after a video of their team’s cheer routine at an annual competition was posted online.

The 18-minute video of the performance by the Skimmers – an academic organization of students from the Division of Humanities – was uploaded on social media and went viral.

The performance was staged at the UPV Cheering Competition, as part of its Pahampang Season, a venue for students to tackle social and political issues through creative cheers.

Their performance, which won the annual competition, highlighted press freedom, media killings and exploitation. It also tackled issues regarding the West Philippine Sea, Rice Tariffication Law, the Commission on Higher Education’s memorandum that removed Filipino, Panitikan, and the Constitution as core subjects in college, and the government’s call for mandatory ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps).

In a joint statement released by the University of the Philippines Visayas-University Student Council (UPV-USC), Local College Councils (LCC) and various student organizations in UP Visayas, all groups “strongly condemn the blatant acts of doxxing and harassment targeting members of the Skimmers academic organization, particularly its Governor and its Adviser.”

It added, “With the increased instances of redtagging by this oppressive state whenever the University raises awareness and action on societal issues, we will not and will never tolerate any kind of harassment or unjust behavior towards our constituents, whether we are facing a single troll or the whole Duterte administration. We won’t let this go unanswered. We are one with Skimmers. We are #OneUPV.”

The UP Visayas students issued the statement on its Facebook page after the video of the Skimmers’ performance “gained traction after certain groups and pages singled out a line in the performance condemning the Duterte administration’s inaction over the Philippine claim on the West Philippine Sea.”

The statement continued, “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. These threats are made more pressing and credible as the pages and groups supporting Duterte publicized some personal information of the Skimmers Governor and Skimmers adviser, making them a target.”

It also quoted Overseas Workers Welfare Administration deputy administrator and controversial blogger Mocha Uson’s post, sharing the Skimmers’ video, with the caption, “Let’s kill the President daw? Yan na ba talaga ang tinuturo nila sa University of the Philippines ngayon?”

A clip from the Skimmer’s video mentioned the line, “Let’s kill this president… charot.”

Uson’s post has 2,900 shares and 4,700 comments as of this writing.

The students said the attacks “intensified” when Uson shared the snippet of the Skimmers’ cheer and that it “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.”

Pagbutlak, the official publication of the UPV College of Arts and Sciences, also issued a statement, condemning the “nasty harassment.”

“We in Pagbutlak vehemently condemn the handiwork of the regime’s minions. Such handiwork seriously threatens established freedom of expression and right to speech of citizens under our Constitution,” itsaid.

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