By Ria Fernandez
Some students of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), along with members of Anakbayan, gathered outside the campus in Intramuros, Manila on Friday afternoon to protest the alleged repressive actions of the university administration.
Prior to this, they staged a silent and peaceful protest by wearing black shirts and armbands.
However, there were claims that students suspected to be joining in the said activity were being listed and photographed by University Security Guards (USG).
A report of Ang Pamantasan, the official student publication of PLM, also said that members of Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights (STAND) and Tugon were held at the Office of Student Development and Services (OSDS). But no further details were given about the detention.
“It is legal because we read the student manual before we did the armband protest and nowhere it says there that it is prohibited,” said Kate Santos, a freshman PLM student running as Vice President of STAND at the Supreme Student Council (SSC) polls late this month and among those who led the indignation rally held at 2:30 p.m.
“Student repression at PLM is getting worse,” she added.
According to Santos, it all started when their incumbent SSC posted anti-martial law posters and recently criticized the PLM administration for thanking Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada instead of the students for the achievements in the board exams. These eventually caused some SSC officials to face suspension and another case of possible expulsion.
Meanwhile, the PLM administration denied the allegation of repression.
“The fact alone that they were able to hold this rally means they were not suppressed,” said Dr. Benjamin Espiritu, chairman of the Board of Regents.
Leonora De Jesus, PLM president, also explained to the Manila Bulletin why they had to call out the SSC before for condemning their post about Estrada and the school’s achievements.
“What was wrong with that? We were not even thanking [the mayor but] we were acknowledging [him],” she said.
“We don’t suppress that but you know students have certain obligations and duties. Under our manual, there is such thing as respect for authority, respect for the university. And I think there are certain provisions which they have violated,” she added.
Last week, the PLM administration sat with the concerned parties for a dialogue to iron out their differences.
“Surely, there will be another one,” said Atty. George Garcia, PLM Spokesperson and College of Law Dean, in a text message.