Malacañang reminded protesting students of the University of the Philippines on Saturday not to waste taxpayers’ money by walking out of their classes.
“So ang sinasabi lang ng Presidente, huwag naman natin sayangin iyong mga pera ng sambayanan na ginugol natin para sa free tuition ng lahat ng state universities and colleges,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing in Laoag City in Ilocos Norte.
[What the President is saying is let us not waste the money the country spends for free education of all state universities and colleges.]
“Kung talagang nais mag-walkout ng mga taga, estudyante ng UP, karapatan [nila] ‘yan,” he said. “Hindi po ipinagbabawal ang malayang pananalita. Hindi po ipinagbabawal ang rallies.”
[If UP students really want to walk out, that’s their right. Freedom of speech is not forbidden. Holding rallies is not forbidden.]
Duterte on Thursday threatened to replace protesting UP students with those from the Lumad communities in Mindanao.
His reaction came after several students of UP Diliman walked out of their classes to participate in the National Day of Walkout Against Tyranny and Dictatorship held also on Thursday.
“Earlier today, they walked out. Go ahead,” President Rodrigo Duterte said in reaction. “f you don’t want to go to school, get out of there because I will bring [indigenous] students who are bright and put them there. A lot of Filipinos want to have an excellent education.”
Youth groups remained unfazed, however, and vowed to launch more protests in the coming days. /atm
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