By Ria Fernandez
A professor of the University of the Philippines Manila (UPM) said that no one can stop educators from uncovering the truth about the country.
In a press conference at UPM Rizal Hall Lobby last Friday, Prof. Reggie Vallejos noted that it is their duty to teach their students about what is really happening in society.
Vallejos said this in response to Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde’s question on why students from state universities go against the government following the allegation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that UPM and several other schools serve as breeding grounds of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in its “Red October ouster plot” and were showing martial law films to incite rebellion.
“Hindi kami pwedeng busalan ng AFP. Hindi kami pwedeng takutin ng PNP na kakasuhan kami ng contempt kapag iminulat namin ang mga mag-aaral para lumaban sa ating pamahalaan. (AFP cannot silence us. PNP cannot frighten us with contempt if we open the eyes of our students to fight against the government.),” he said.
“Sapat bang sabihin na dahil pinag-aaral kami ng pamahalaan na ito ay mananahimik na lang kami at magtuturo na lamang kami ng kasinungalingan sa aming mga mag-aaral? (Is it enough to say that because this government is sending us to school, we will just keep quiet and teach lies to our students?),” he added.
By opening the eyes of the students and urging them to stand up against wrong, Vallejos said that the government becomes aware of the real needs of the people.
After all, he said that they are only accountable to the people whose taxes are used to pay for their salary and students’ tuition.
“Ang pananagutan ng mga guro ay sa sambayanang Pilipino na siyang nagbibigay ng kabuhayan sa amin. (The teachers are accountable only to Filipinos who give them livelihood),” he said.
Meanwhile, UPM student Omid Siahmard slammed the baseless accusation of the military, saying it puts them in danger.
“(It is) harmful as it subjects student activists under violent state surveillance,” he said.