UPMin student council slams military harassment of student

Apr. 07, 2023
A mobilization on the Atrium Steps of the University of the Philippines Mindanao calling to stop campus militarization, defend academic freedom, and to uphold human rights. (Photo by CS Salcedo/Himati)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The student council of the University of the Philippines Mindanao (UPMin USC) raised alarm over a student harassed by military personnel.

The UPMin USC posted an alert on their Facebook page on March 31 saying they received reports that on March 24, a student was “persistently harassed… and threatened to be labeled and profiled as a ‘red fighter’ should the student refuse to cooperate with their demands.”

The council withheld the name of the student for security concerns and did not disclose which military unit was responsible for harassing the student. 

Sources said the student is reportedly not affiliated with any student organizations or campus political parties which have been red-tagged by the military.

Despite expressions of sympathy among students and faculty in UP Min, frustration is growing within the community over the administration’s lack of action in response to the ongoing military harassment against one of its students.

The UP Min Student Council said “no legal actions nor necessary measures are being carried out” despite their “constant dialogue” with the administration.

Kert Tandog of the All UP Academic Employees Union-UP Mindanao shared the same sentiments.

Sa tagal ng resolusyon, para bang hindi nag-aalala ang admin sa kapakanan ng kanyang constituents. Hindi lamang ito usapin ng isang estudyante, ito ay usapin ng seguridad ng buong UP Mindanao at kung aaksyon ba agad ang admin kapag tayo ay naharap sa isang krisis,” Tandog said.

(With their delay in making a resolution, it seems the administration is not concerned with the welfare of its constituents. This is not just a matter concerning one student, this is about the security of the whole UP Mindanao and whether the administration will take action as we are facing a crisis)

Student and academic union representatives have called for legal aid for the student, as well as a public statement from the chancellor condemning the military’s actions and showing support for the student and the wider community. 

The student council has urged the administration to stand on its commitment to protect the safety and well-being of its constituents.

“We urge the UP Mindanao administration to stand their ground and be one with the call in opposing the relentless harassment, red-tagging, and threats that have been unceasingly perpetrated towards the student body,” the UPMin USC’s statement reads.

“[Red-tagging and profiling] clearly has no basis and is a clear violation of our academic freedom,” Fauzhea Guiani, UPMin USC chair, told davaotoday.com in an interview.

The National Security Council claimed in an article last year that the NPA was recruiting members within the campus, despite the presence of a Regional Community Defense Group on its grounds. (davaotoday.com)

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