‘UPV constituents have right to self-expression’
The nearly 18-minute video of theperformance showed the Skimmers tackling national issues such as the drug war,West Philippine Sea and human rights, among others. “While we may not all agree with oneanother in our ideas and modes of expression, I am personally committed todefend the rights to self-expression of all UPV constituents,” also stressedUPV chancellor Dr. Ricardo Babaran. ILOILO City – The Office of theChancellor of the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) reaffirmed thepremier state school’s commitment to promote and defend academic freedom andfreedom of speech. According to Babaran, UPV has remainedand shall always be true to its mandate of ensuring the safety and welfare ofall its constituents, especially the students. “Be very circumspect in issuingstatements in any platform which could have personal repercussions,” saidBabaran./PN Following the uploading of theperformance on social media, the Skimmers began receiving threats; they werealso red-tagged (linked to communist rebels). Pagbutlak, the official studentpublication of the UPV College of Arts and Sciences, also condemned the attackson Skimmers. The UPV University Student Council, ina statement along with local college councils and other student organizations,“condemned the blatant acts of harassment, targeting members of the Skimmers.” Babaran’s office issued an officialstatement regarding the viral video of a recent UPV cheering competition wherecontingent Skimmers – composed of students from the Division of Humanities,College of Arts and Sciences – had a satirical performance critical of theDuterte administration. The Chancellor added that he hadissued a memorandum encouraging everyone in UPV to exercise discretion andsobriety, especially on social media. But “because we have armed ourstudents with critical minds to speak, we trust them to fight their battles especiallyin social media wherever they are located in the social and politicalspectrum,” stressed Babaran. However, he emphasized that theircapacity for physical protection is limited within the campus only; it couldnot go beyond its boundaries. At one point, the Skimmers shouted,“Let’s kill this President…Charrrot!” to the delight of spectators.