- April 30, 2021 13:20
October shook the safety and sanity of 18 academic institutions in Metro Manila including Far Eastern University (FEU), following the red-tagging of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
A military official spilled "unfounded" accusations identifying the universities as communist training grounds to unseat the incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte through the infamous "Red October."
Deputy chief of staff of the AFP Brigadier General Antonio Parlade Jr. mentioned that communist rebels are spreading videos to project Duterte as the new dictator.
A timely plot in the mid of events of corruption and incompetence, this imprudent move on the part of the Administration and the AFP did not only shift the eyes of the country away from the current situation, it also dragged the students from these universities to immense threat and risk their security.
With the lack of legal procedures and verified bases, this lame blame co-authored by the AFP and the admin manifests an immensely irresponsible move, an epitome of the repressive response of the government to its active critics.
We condemn this military red-tagging of FEU, an open and accepting avenue to students from different academic standings, financial capacity, and ethnic origin. For almost a century, it serves as a home with an atmosphere of freedom. Thus, Tamaraws have discourse. But freedom has always been observed with discipline and limitation, valuing the essence of law and morale. The institution does not promote government destabilization and impingement on the rights to speech and expression.
The country has become more skeptic about the government as years go by, but these critical condemnations of certain unjust and unlawful political moves do not necessarily square to government attacks and destabilizations.
In contrast to the circulated propaganda, the youth including the students from the tagged universities showed impassive outlook towards the governance and the stake of the country.
Student movements play a significant role in national development. Advocating against short-term employment, increase in poverty rate, international dispute, human rights violation, and other events that exude injustice, these movements give voice to the silenced members of the community.
Mobilization of the youth demonstrates its inability to stand down when something is not right rather than being complacent, and accepting things as they are.
FEU stated in its official statement that it is "fully-committed to nation-building" and it is "not promoting or condoning any on-campus movement to destabilize the government."
We challenge the current admin and its armed forces to follow the rule of law and to prove their accusations before shamelessly pointing fingers to any institution of this nation.
And in the face of the current political climate, we urge the citizens of this country to abide by the fundamental doctrine and to accept nothing less than what is just and constitutional.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This was originally published from the October-November 2018 print issue of FEU Advocate)