UP Visayas denounces threats against students over critical cheer routine

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
UP Visayas denounces threats against students over critical cheer routine
The performance of a group called Skimmers, students of Communication and Media Studies and Literature at UP Visayas, criticized the Duterte administration's policy on the West Philippine Sea.
Screen grab, YouTube / Ruperto Quitag

MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines Visayas has defended its students after receiving online attacks over a cheer routine criticizing the Duterte administration.

In a statement released Sunday night, UP Visayas pointed out that the annual cheering competition in the university contained satirical commentaries and forays on current national issues and university policies.

The university noted that the satirical cheers and yells were made "all in the spirit of fun, understanding and camaraderie."

"In UP Visayas, we encourage our students to think critically and allow them to exercise their freedom of expression," the statement read.

UP Visayas also said it assures their students of protection while inside the campuses.

"We remind them to exercise prudence in their actions, thus, we denounce all forms of threats and harassment hurled against them," UP Visayas said.

A video clip that went viral on Twitter showed a group called Skimmers, an academic organization of students taking up Communication and Media Studies and Literature, criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte's policy towards China.

"Welcome to the Philippines, province of China! Digong, Digong — yes China. Scarborough Shoal? Yes China. Spratly Island? Yes China," the students chanted.

At the end of the 29-second clip, the Skimmers chanted "Let's kill this president charot!" to the tune of BLACKPINK's "Kill This Love."

The Skimmers, who won first place in the university's cheering competition, also tackled issues on the Rice Tarrification Law, CHED's memorandum to remove Filipino as a core subject in college and the proposed mandatory ROTC.

Bloggers and social media users supportive of the president took offense of the cheer routine and resorted to online attacks against the students, some even red-tagging them.

The UP Visayas University Student Council and student organizations have received a unity statement against harassment against members of the Skimmers.

"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," the student council said. 

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