President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday threatened students of University of the Philippines (UP) that he would let “bright” Lumads take their places in the university if they would continue skipping classes to join protest actions against his administration.
The President made this remark on his speech at the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) Leader’s Summit in Panacan, Davao City.
“These UP students who keep on walking out, earlier, they walked out. Okay. Those who don’t want to go to school, get out because I will bring the bright Lumads there, I will enroll them there in UP. A lot of Filipinos want a good education,” Duterte said in Bisaya.
UP Diliman students on Thursday skipped their classes to take part in the National Day of Walkout and Protest for Democracy. The students criticized the Duterte administration’s supposed assault on democratic institutions.
“While fascism was on our plates for breakfast, this lunch we are serving resistance as we will walk out from our classes to protest the tyrannical dictatorship of the US-Duterte regime,” Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND UP) posted on its Twitter account.
In his speech, the President stressed that he would give “privilege” to students who keep walking out of their classes.
“So those who keep on demonstrating, don’t walk out of the rooms. I will give you a privilege, don’t go to school for a year because I will let all the Filipinos who want a good education in—it’s free there,” he said.
Duterte said that he would let cultural minorities from Mindanao, especially those who are good in Mathematics, to enter the university.
Aside from UP, the Chief Executive also offered Lumad students the opportunity to enroll in prestigious but expensive universities like De La Salle University (DLSU) and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) at the government’s expense.
He also encouraged those protesting students to stay on the streets, saying that he would get “new ones” to take their places.
“I will get new ones, I will put them there. That’s the money of the people after all,” Duterte said.