MANILA -- MalacaAang said Thursday that while it respects the decision of students of the University of the Philippines (UP) to hold political protests, it also urged them not to use it as an excuse to skip classes.
Our position on the right of peaceful assembly and street protest has not wavered, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.
Roque said public displays of constructive criticism, including youth participation in protest, are allowed as part of full exercise of the citizens' right to express their grievances.
We however hope students will not skip or cut classes and use street protest as an excuse to neglect their studies, he added.
Roque, a former UP law professor, meanwhile, clarified that he never encouraged his students to skip classes, following chides from reporters that he did so in the past.
He said that instead of holding classes inside the classroom, they were held in the streets to be able to participate in rallies.
I did not encourage them to skip class. What we did was we held class in the streets. That was not skipping classes, Roque said.
Asked if he encouraged students to join protests during his teaching stint, he said it was a call for critical thinking in the university.
It may be recalled that during the city government under Manila mayor Jose Atienza Jr., Mendiola was closed to protesters due to its close proximity to MalacaAang Palace.
Roque, meanwhile, reiterated that authorities will observe maximum tolerance and respect protesters' right to peaceful assembly.
A political party in UP Diliman, the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND UP), is set to organize a protest on Feb. 23 to condemn some of the policies of the Duterte administration.
This protest comes after Duterte threatened to replace protesting UP students with those from the Lumad community in Mindanao because a lot of Filipinos want to have an excellent education" if they didn't want to go to school.(PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency