Quezon City, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Quezon City Bureau) – It’s been a week of rallies at the main campus of the University of the Philippines, the country’s most notorious state-funded educational institution.
First, students, faculty and alumni staged a protest against an earlier decision by the university’s Board of Regents to grant President Rodrigo Roa Duterte an honorary doctorate degree, Honoris Causa, during its forthcoming commencement exercises. The protest quickly fizzled out when Duterte himself rejected the honor, saying that the highest honor he could ever receive was his election to the presidency.
Yesterday, several dozen protesters — mostly the same people who rallied against Duterte’s honorary degree — picketed the Oblation statue at the Diliman campus, demanding that Duterte and Congress revoke the tuition-free status of U.P.
One of Duterte’s significant moves in his first six months in office was to institute free tuition at all state colleges and universities, not just U.P.
“We want to be an independent educational institution, free from politics and government intervention,” the group’s manifesto stated. “We don’t want taxpayer money to support our activism and quest for a free and democratic Philippines,” it added.
If approved, the revocation of the free-tuition status of U.P. will result in huge tax savings for the Duterte administration and will provide additional funds to establish more drug rehabilitation centers throughout the country.