UP Cebu opposes Abellanosa’s proposed ordinance

STUDENTS and faculty members of the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu expressed their opposition to a proposed ordinance that would require schools and universities to submit a calendar of activity to the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).

A public hearing was held on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, at the City Council's session hall to tackle Councilor Jose Abellanosa’s proposed ordinance, which the student council and faculty organization consider a "threat to academic freedom."

Noe Santillan, vice president for faculty of the academic employees union, said there are more academic institutions that will be presenting their position paper against the ordinance in the coming days.

Santillan said the measure is another attempt to curtail the academic freedom of learning institutions that is enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

Abellanosa's "Anti-Violence and School Safety Ordinance of Cebu City" would mandate schools and universities to submit a list of school events 15 days before the start of every school year.

The councilor said the ordinance would serve as a tool to prevent violence inside learning institutions similar to what happened at the Ateneo de Manila University in July 2022 wherein a shooting incident happened and claimed the lives of three individuals.

"We do not have this capacity to foretell or foresee each and every unfortunate event that needs our attention and action," said Abellanosa.

But students and faculty do not see it as such, as UP Cebu Student Council president Crystal Cimafranca said they oppose the proposed ordinance since "attacks" coming from state forces have been experienced on UP Cebu grounds.

"The unwelcome and unannounced presence of the state forces in full gear has caused mental and emotional distress to the students and faculties and have been subject to psychological sessions," said Cimafranca. (IRT)