- Students from the University of the Philippines Visayas tackled political and social issues through their annual cheering competition
- The performance by the Skimmers tackled several issues such as the Rice Tarrification Law, SOGIE, and the Duterte administration’s failure to stand up against China
- Pro-Duterte social media users took to Facebook to criticize the group’s performance, launching several attacks against the members of the organization
Students from the University of the Philippines Visayas in Miagao Town and Iloilo City in Iloilo took a brave stand and tackled political and social issues through their annual cheering competition on Wednesday, Oct. 16.
The 18-minute video of the performance by the Skimmers, an academic organization of students from the Division of Humanities, was uploaded on social media and went viral. The performance was staged at the UPV Cheering Competition as part of its Pahampang Season, a venue for students to tackle social and political issues through creative cheers.
The cheer routine, which won the annual competition, highlighted national issues, such as the Rice Tariffication Law, the government’s call for mandatory Reserved Officers Training Corps, and the Commission on Higher Education memorandum order removing Filipino, Panitikan, and the Philippine Constitution as core subjects in college.
The Skimmers also called out Duterte’s actions to be pandering to China, as well as issues relating to the West Philippine Sea, the divorce bill, the SOGIE bill, and media oppression in the country.
“As an annual event, we took this opportunity to finally highlight what we – the media and future media practitioners experience in the practice of the profession,” Jude Vincent Parcon, adviser of Skimmers and faculty member of the Division of Humanities in UPV said.
ONLINE BULLYING vs #OneUPV
Of the full performance, certain pages singled out a line in the cheer that condemned the current administration’s failure, especially the brief “kill this President, charot” line. Thus, members of the student cheering team came in the line of fire of supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte. The cheerers and their leaders have since been the targets of threats and harassment from pro-Duterte sectors.
It was also pointed out that the satirical nature of the cheer “did not sit well with Duterte supporters,” as they took to Facebook and launched different attacks to the organization. “These threats are made more pressing and credible as the pages and groups supporting Duterte publicized some personal information of the Skimmers Governor and Skimmers adviser, making them a target.”
The identities of leaders and members of the Skimmers have also been posted on some pro-Duterte Facebook pages. The posts have since been taken down after being reported.
In a statement, the UPV University Student Council along with Local College Councils and other student organizations in UPV “condemned the blatant acts of doxxing and harassment targeting members of the Skimmers academic organization.”
“The attacks intensified when Mocha Uson herself shared a snippet of the Skimmers’ cheer on her personal blog, with the caption ‘Let’s kill the President daw? Yan na ba talaga ang tinuturo nila sa University of the Philippines ngayon?’ The post in question has over 321,000 views and 2,000 shares at the time of writing, which has inspired Duterte supporters to send video threats to several Skimmers cheerers, post their photos without consent (which is a clear violation of the Data Privacy Act), and redtag the University along with its University Student Council,” the statement read.
“With the increased instances of redtagging by this oppressive state whenever the University raises awareness and action on societal issues, we will not and will never tolerate any kind of harassment or unjust behavior towards our constituents, whether we are facing a single troll or the whole Duterte administration. We won’t let this go unanswered. We are one with Skimmers. We are #OneUPV,” the statement added.
Some critics accused the students of inciting to sedition, a crime under the Revised Penal Code of making speeches or statements “that tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing the functions of his office, or instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or incite rebellious conspiracies or riots, or which lead or tend to stir up the people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the government, or who shall knowingly conceal such evil practices.”
Inciding to sedition has been repeatedly used against critics of the administration, including Vice President Leni Robredo, Former Senator Antonio Trillianes IV and even some Catholic Bishops.
For years, the cheering competition has served as a venue for UPV students in conveying their sentiments and grievances on various issues from the university administration level all the way to national and global scales through creative cheers and yells. -Philstar/CNN/Rappler
Watch the whole performance here.