Ateneo De Manila University president Roberto Yap, SJ in a letter last November 25, declared support for its students’ right to “hold their government accountable in its duty to serve and help those affected by the pandemic and the calamities.”
Yap’s letter called for the entire Ateneo community to “dig deeper and draw from our shared value” of having compassion for others, which has become more important now in light of the recent calamities. He also focused on the “need for deeper conversations” prompted by the gaps in the government’s response to both the pandemic and the typhoons.
In his letter, he also said that the academic strike reflected a “consistency across generations” especially in times of crisis, as in the restoration work after typhoons back in the 1970s, the institutionalization of organizations such as the Office for Social Concern and Involvement and the active non-violence embodied by the 1986 EDSA Revolution.
“In line with our education mission, we recognize differing positions by offering various options consistent with our objective of integral formation for those who wish to engage in protest actions,” Yap’s message read.
The letter was an about-face from the University’s previous statement regarding the over 500-strong academic strike held by students, which began November 18. Four days prior, 581 students signed a pledge to stop submitting school requirements until the government meets people’s demand for better pandemic and calamity response.
Two days after the start of non-submission of requirements, the university released a statement declaring that the protest was not “in any way” sanctioned by the school administration.
Malacañang spokesperson Harry Roque warned students that they will fail their subjects if they went through with it, while Pres. Duterte threatened to cut funding for the University of the Philippines if they joined the strike.
Photo: Daily Tribiune