Cheer dance group UPV Skimmers stirred controversy after a video of their cheer routine, which contained chants questioning some of the administration’s policies, went viral on social media.
Screengrab, YouTube/Ruperto Quitag
Cheer dancers, admin supporters have free speech — Palace
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Cheer dancers from the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) are free to criticize the Duterte administration but the President’s supporters are also free to react to their performance, which included tirades against government policies, Malacañang said yesterday.

Cheer dance group UPV Skimmers stirred controversy after a video of their cheer routine, which contained chants questioning some of the administration’s policies, went viral on social media. 

The UPV Skimmers, which won their school’s annual cheering contest, criticized the proposal to revive the mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps, the removal of Filipino from mandatory subjects in college, the administration’s handling of the West Philippine Sea row, among other policies. 

But the portion of the performance that drew the most reactions was the chanting of “Let’s kill this President, charot (joke),” in apparent reference to the Chief Executive’s favorite verb in speeches. 

Duterte’s supporters have slammed the UPV Skimmers for the performance and even went as far as questioning the things being taught in the state-run university.

Previous reports said some of the students who joined the cheer dance are now being harassed and are receiving threats. 

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said it is natural for Duterte’s supporters to react negatively to the UPV Skimmers’ dance routine.  

“For them (Duterte’s supporters), it seems that they (cheer dancers) are not joking. It seems like a job but they are criticizing the President.

That’s very natural reaction for supporters of the President,” Panelo said. 

Asked whether Malacañang would tell Duterte’s supporters to lay off the students, Panelo replied: “It’s a free country; as I said, they can react too.”

Panelo said the students may just be joking when they talked about killing the President. “But as you said obviously, they were joking.

It’s a free country; they can dish out jokes, criticisms,” Panelo said. “Eh si Presidente rin ‘di ba nagsabi siya na nag-kill. Baka ginagaya lang nila si Presidente (The President also jokes about killing people. Maybe they are just copying the President),” he added. Panelo previously said Duterte’s remark about killing people should not be taken literally and should just be viewed as an expression of his readiness to bring criminals to jail.

UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES VISAYAS UPV SKIMMERS
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