UP's Philippine Collegian reports 'attempted surveillance'
The Philippine Collegian, the official student publication of UP Diliman, said an initially unidentified man attempted to enter its office on the evening of Nov. 16, 2019.
BY-NC-ND/Butch Dalisay

UP's Philippine Collegian reports 'attempted surveillance'

Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - November 17, 2019 - 2:34pm

MANILA, Philippines — A man tried to enter to enter the office of the Philippine Collegian to conduct an "inspection", the official student publication of UP Diliman, on Saturday, it said.

UP Diliman Police have confirmed the incident but told Philstar.com that investigation is still ongoing and an incident report is not yet available.

"Isang hindi-kilalang lalaki ang nagpumilit pumasok sa opisina ng Philippine Collegian sa Sampaguita Residence Hall, bandang 9:30 ngayong gabi,” the student paper, also known as the Collegian or Kulê, posted on its social media accounts late Saturday night.

(An unidentified man attempted to enter the Philippine Collegian office at the Sampaguita Residence Hall around 9:30 p.m. tonight.)

The man reportedly had companions in front of the neighboring College of Home Economics Annex.

“Nang kausapin ng mga miyembro ng Collegian ang lalaki, sinabi nitong kailangan nilang mag-inspeksyon sa loob ng opisina para diumano sa surveillance. Kasalukuyan silang nasa waiting shed sa tapat ng dormitoryo," the report read.

(Upon confrontation by Collegian members, the man said he and his colleagues needed to conduct an inspection at the office for alleged surveillance. The group is currently at the waiting shed across the dorm where the paper’s office is located.)

The Collegian posted another report hours later that the man, who by then had been identified as Wilfredo Manapat, 28, was in UP Diliman Police custody.

UP Diliman maintains its own police force for campus security

“Paliwanag ni Manapat sa pulisya, hinahanap lamang umano niya ang kanyang mga kasamahan noong mga oras na iyon. Taliwas ito sa kanyang naunang sinabing nais niyang mag-inspeksyon para sa surveillance,” the Collegian posted around 2:00 a.m. on Sunday.

(Manapat told the police that he was only looking for his colleagues at the time. This account differs from what he told Collegian members.)

The Collegian said the police only took Manapat into custody since he was the only one who attempted to enter the student paper's office. Manapat's companions, who were found at the waiting shed in front of Sampaguita Residence Hall were released.

The Collegian also reported that it was attempting to communicate the incident to Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan.

Philstar.com tried to reach the Collegian and the Office of the Chancellor for comment but they have yet to respond as of this post.

The Union of Journalists of the Philippines-UP, the NUJP’s student arm based in the university, denounced the incident as an act of “blatant intimidation against student publications.” 

"This is a clear attempt of state oppressors to unnerve media entities that maintain a line of reportage reflective of the real social-political situation of the public," the organization’s statement posted Saturday evening read.

The incident happened on the eve of the 1st National Students' Day at UP Diliman, which Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año had cautioned against joining, saying it is not government-sanctioned.

He said on the state-run Philippine News Agency that "leftist groups are taking advantage and riding on the observance of the National Students’ Day ... to fuel distrust in the government and duly constituted authorities and advance their communist agenda."

The Commission on Higher Education initially endorsed the activity, but has since walked that back, saying it was "released due to circumstantial oversight."

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines, one of the organizers of the 1st National Students' Day, said in August that "student publications are becoming a subject of repression and suppression."

It said then that "the vanguards of light and truth in various campuses are [becoming] the next targets of control by the government and school administrations."

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