VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez (The Freeman) - November 21, 2020 - 12:00am

The University of the Philippines is currently in a recovery period. Meaning, there is suspension of classes in whatever form to give way to campuses affected by the series of typhoons that ravaged the country. Those unaffected are encouraged to find ways to help those who have lost so much from the calamity. There are groups however, that find the period not enough as a break but want to end the semester indefinitely.

They called for the ending of the current term in UP now until the president is ousted, until he steps down from his position. While it is their right to complain and air out their grievances, this call may be somewhat radical. It could be their choice to be left behind by a semester to forward their cause or lobby to the officials of UP until their concerns are being heard. But instead of looking at this as a democratic practice, the president has threatened the students behind these groups and the faculty members supporting them to stop funding the state university. I could only roll my eyes.

How many more institutions and companies will this person continue to threaten? We live in a time where one word is enough to tear down an already established edifice. Is that even acceptable? Every day I hear these words, all the more I feel scared. Not because a lot of people are depending on UP for a living and a lot of students are benefitting from the free and quality education it is giving but because the manner of threatening is becoming very normal. What's sad is that there are still those who support such decisions.

By defunding UP, great professors and teachers will lose their bread and butter. Research for the betterment of the country will also lose its funding. We will be the joke of the whole world that our own state university has lost its prestige because the government refused to fund it, despite numerous laws supporting it. But UP isn't the only concern now, but also the squabble between the president and the vice president. It has now become a national interest that shows everyone else how disunited we are as a people. Even those with good intentions are being ruined, all because of politics.

This is a time where we should unite to help those in need after the typhoon. As we approach Christmas, we should keep in mind that it isn’t about who gets more likes and photo opportunities neither about who has given more but who has the greatest intent to help. It’s sad that our country has turned into a whole circus with the president's ire for the vice president. I can only close my eyes and let this pass.

Waiting for a year or more in this administration is still quite a long time to wait. But we can change things, I hope so. If they decide to defund UP, I don't know what uproar it would cause. Maybe lay low on the threatening and move towards a more unified Philippines.

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