MANILA — The University of the Philippines (UP) Academic Employees Union (AUAEU) deplored the recent attacks against it’s members in Iloilo and Cebu.
On June 27, AUPAEU-Cebu chapter President Phoebe Zoe Maria Sanchez received death threats through SMS.
Two days earlier, on June 25, the Miag-ao Municipal Police Station sent a letter to UP Visayas Chancellor Ricardo Babaran for information “regarding the members of All UP Academic Union-Iloilo Chapter.”
In his letter, acting Chief of Police Johnny Tumambing stated that the order to “obtain information” about the union came from the “higher headquarters.”
The UP Academic Union-Iloilo chapter, in a statement, maintained that the request is “malicious, reproachable, and conveys a chilling effect to the researchers, extension, and professional staff and faculty members.”
“The Academic Union denounces this harassment as a sinister act that violates the citizen’s rights,” the statement read. “Such harassment clearly violates the letters and spirit of laws of our land!”
The union cited the Bill of Rights, Article III of 1987 Philippine Constitution, the Republic Act No.10173 or the Data Privacy Act 2012 and G.R. No. 96189, 14 July 1992, or the Supreme Court ruling which upholds the legality and legitimacy of the UP Academic Union.
“The Union seeks to be militante, progresibo, and makabayan to serve better its constituents yet this is dangerous, subversive, and inimical to the state in the eyes of the PNP hierarchy. Under current climate of impunity when profiling is weaponised, physical browbeating is normalized, and political tokhang is regularised, the Academic Union strongly denounces this harassment,” the statement further read.
Babaran has turned down the police’s request citing the Data Privacy Act.
The AUAEU said the recent incident in Iloilo is “a clear attack against organized labor to silence dissent amid worsening impunity and government subservience to foreign interests.”
The same profiling was done against members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) in January this year.
The AUPAEU said the government is now targetting academics to control public opinion and quell growing restiveness in universities, ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The union challenged UP President Danilo Concepcion and the UP administration to ensure the safety of its faculty, staff and students against all forms of harassment and intimidation, and uphold the University’s militant tradition.