UM Students Decry Police Harassment

Jun. 24, 2006

Students were protesting increase in UM school fees, the absence of a student council and the continuing closure of the campus paper

By Cheryll D. Fiel

DAVAO CITY — Students of the largest university in Davao City, the University of Mindanao, denounced the police and campus security personnel today for harshly disrupting a demonstration around the campus on Friday.

The students held the march rally at the UM Matina campus to oppose increasing school fees and to question the non-existence of a student council and the continuing closure of the students publication.

Marco Polo Reed Trajera, spokesman of the United Movement for Student Council Election (UMSSCE), said while the students, who had gone out of their classes to join the demonstrations, two mobile patrol vehicles of the Philippine National Police (PNP), together with campus security personnel, arrived and tried to stop the protest.

The police and the security guards attempted to confiscate the flags, placards and sound system, said Abraham Jambangan Jr., chairman of the Anakbayan-UM Chapter.

The police also invoked the “no permit, no rally” policy and called the students’ activity a “subversive act,” said Maria Nelly Sun, secretary-general of Anakbayan Davao. But the rally continued despite the police harassment, she said.

Sun called it “undue police intervention” and that the policemens presence in the campus during their rally “created an atmosphere of terror inside the campus and sowed fear among students.”

Sun said the UM incident indicated what she called intensified political repression in schools and was “not an isolated case.” She linked it the Arroyo administration’s “continued crackdown on militant organizations and her critics.”

“Considering the government’s malicious Red-baiting and baseless accusations against legal and progressive institutions, we fear that even UM students are now targets of counter-insurgency,” Sun said.

Sun said that instead of giving attention and resources to the education sector, what the Arroyo administration is doing is focus on changing the charter and wage a war against the Left that only kills innocent civilians.” (Cheryll D. Fiel/

comments powered by Disqus