The head of the National Youth Commission (NYC) is asking President Rodrigo Duterte to revoke the scholarships of students who join anti-government rallies and protest actions.
"Nananawagan po ako kay Pangulong Duterte bilang head of our government to remove the government scholarships of all rebellious, anti-government scholars," said Ronald Cardema in an Unang Balita report by Marisol Abdurahman on Wednesday.
"Nilalabanan niyo ang ating mga pulis, ang ating mga sundalo and nilalabanan niyo at gusto niyong ipabagsak ang ating gobyerno at kayo ay government scholars," he added.
Cardema, a known Duterte supporter and former leader of Duterte Youth, pointed out that communist groups have been recruiting new members from students who are anti-government.
Some student activist organizations already expressed opposition to the call of Cardema to remove the scholarships of leftist students.
According to Raoul Manuel, secretary general of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), students who join rallies are just voicing their sentiments as it is part of their rights.
"Hindi tama na sila ay tanggalan ng scholarships dahil pinaglalaban lamang nila 'yung kanilang mga karapatan," Manuel said.
The League of Filipino Students, meanwhile, said: "Isa po 'yung kamalian at kabastusan sa napakaraming mga kabataan na gusto at nangangarap na magkaroon ng karapatan na makapagaral."
"The sycophantic and obsequious suggestion of the NYC head shows his ignorance of the Constitution and, far from helping, is surely doing a disservice to PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) and the government," Escudero said in a statement.
Cardema had earlier urged the Sangguniang Kabataan youth leaders to fight their counterparts in the communist movement. He asked them to report to NYC all the anti-government and leftist propaganda in their respective areas.
The Commission on Higher Education is quoted as saying in the report that joining rallies is part of the student's right to freedom of speech. —Anna Felicia Bajo/KBK, GMA News