Initial Statement of UP Cebu Chancellor
The UP Cebu administration is deeply disturbed by the incident this morning of police dispersing and arresting peaceful protesters within the vicinity of the campus.
We always act to ensure public safety and order within our premises amid the pandemic, while respecting the right to protest. Previous protest actions by our students in the same vicinity had always remained peaceful and orderly for many years until today. The UP Cebu administration has always maintained maximum tolerance when it comes to protest movements of our constituents, especially where it is in relation to their freedom of expression. I personally respect and have consistently expressed support to student’s basic rights. We also however recognize the prevailing restrictions in light of the GCQ rules prohibiting mass gatherings.
It is most unfortunate that what happened today, with the presence and action of the police anti-riot contingent, heightened rather than allayed the risks to the safety of the people involved.
As we gather more facts on the ground about the incident, we are coordinating with UP System officials on the legal and other important aspects of the matter, especially with respect to the 1989 UP-DND Peace Accord.
In any case, we are deeply disappointed that none of the police officers tried to coordinate with UP Cebu in regard to handling the situation which we hope could have led to a more sound and sensible resolution in light of prevailing restrictions under the general community quarantine.
I would like to emphasize that our guards did not assist in the dispersal of the then ongoing protest, contrary to stories going around, nor did they block the students from entering the campus. On the contrary, our guards blocked the police from entering the campus and even chased them out when they jumped into our walls trying to chase the student protesters. Our guards also assisted the students by bringing them into safety inside a campus building.
We will continue to ensure the safety of our constituents and provide humanitarian assistance to our students and alumni who are affected by this unfortunate incident.
May God bless us all!
Chancellor Liza D. Corro