Academic duties  

VERBAL VARIETY - Anne Fe Perez - The Freeman

In a few days, some of the students in college will return to their classes. This time it will be more challenging, as the mandate is to return face-to-face. Unlike a hybrid setup as before, most institutions are now adapting to how the world is now full-blown open. The thoughts of COVID-19 are now marred as inoculation has proven to ease the number of critical cases.

With the influx of students and individuals coming in and out of the metro to attend classes, comes odd legislation from the Cebu City Council to enforce security. Councilor Abellanosa has penned an ordinance requiring all academic institutions to submit their calendar of activities to the Philippine National Police. The intention was to give additional security to these areas during marked dates when an audience of more than a hundred is set to attend. To make it very compelling, he wrote a clause about penalties for failure to comply.

Although, I can totally see the need to secure students and their faculty, it is in a way trying to restrain the academic activities that they want to do. Some events aren't set in stone during the start of the school year. Should a mass gathering occur due to pressing events in society, does this mean the academic institution is liable for failure to inform the police in a calendar that is supposed to be submitted before the start of the year?

The points raised during this ordinance's public hearing holds true. The institutions should strengthen their own security and not give them the bulk of the duty to the state force. Imagine, the policemen have to take care of the general public's peace and order on top of law enforcement, special operations and other big events in the city. We lack the number of personnel compared to the number of civilians in the city alone. Even for the decades-old Sinulog and Fiesta Señor, we still seek augmentation.

It is the burden of the academe to secure their students but if in the event they feel like they need more warm bodies to guard the perimeter, that's when they can call in the cops. Our authorities are very limited, so fragile. Their expertise is needed in pressing matters concerning the entirety.

I'm personally scared if I decide to hold an event midway through the semester and would be asked to explain or pay the fine. If legislators are truly concerned about the welfare of the academe, they should allow its freedom to flourish. After all, this is what democracy is all about. As long as no law has been broken, then they should not put on hold activities for the enrichment of the youth.

The said ordinance has yet to be discussed again by the council. I place hope in councilors who can think beyond the status quo. They have the power to change the course of the discussion.


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