Duterte to students: Support NPAs, lose scholarships
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday warned students in state-run schools that they will lose their scholarships if they showed overt acts of support for the communist rebels that aim to overthrow the government.
Duterte said he considers students giving support to the armed struggle as his "enemy."
"If they espouse [support against] the very government feeding food on their mouth, they will lose that," Duterte said when asked about scholarships of student-activists in state universities.
"If you go and say, 'let us go out, join the NPAs, support the NPAs, give food to the NPAs, money to the NPAs,' then you espouse the destruction of the duly constituted government," he added.
Duterte made the statement after National Youth Commission Chairperson Ronald Cardema asked the President to issue an executive order removing the scholarships of "all rebellious anti-government scholars" particularly those allied with communist rebels who have been involved in the killing of troops.
Cardema's proposal has drawn criticisms from various student groups and other government officials, branding it as an affront to freedom of expression and right to peaceably assemble.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier in the day said that the state could not just revoke scholarships of students on mere suspicion that they were part of any radical movement.
Panelo said there should be "legal grounds" before the government can strip a student of scholarship. Such grounds include overt acts of rebellion and sedition.
Duterte, however, said calls from students to remove him from office were "just expressions."
He also said mere presence in rallies did not make one criminally liable.
"Wala naman kung dissent lang. If you disagree with my move, you disagree or you do not find consonance in our decision," he said. "I need more overt acts." —NB, GMA News