20 September 2014
Statement of Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Chairperson, Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture
“As a member of the University of the Philippines Board of Regents and an alumna of the UP School of Economics (UPSE), I join the UPSE faculty in expressing my extreme disappointment over the conduct of the group of students that mobbed Budget Secretary Butch Abad last Wednesday, following a forum organized by various university groups where he was invited as one of the speakers.
“As reported in media accounts and shown in a video posted online, the student protesters shouted unbecoming words at Sec. Abad, pelted him with coins and crumpled paper, and one even pulled him back by the collar as he was boarding his vehicle. Sec. Abad was a guest invited by the UPSE and was there to speak on the budgeting process. We do not treat our guests that way. Like any other guest, he deserved to be accorded with respect.
“UP’s academic freedom gives everyone the right to speak up, to challenge ideas, debate with passion and fight for one’s principles. But this freedom does not include the right to physically assault anyone just because you disagree with his or her views. And although the right to heckle and hurl invectives may be part of protected speech, I’d like to believe that students of UP have the ability to express themselves in far creative ways that are more dignified, comprehensive and better thought-out.
“I would advise these students to remember to uphold the ideals of UP and act with dignity and respect in the exercise of their freedom of expression. I challenge the young and idealistic to criticize government and seek change through the power of your principled words and not through violence and hooliganism.” #