LOS BAÑOS, Laguna - Involvement in national issues is the lifeblood of the University of the Philippines.
Vice President Leni Robredo said this just days after several students and alumni of the country's premier state university made headlines for protesting UP's offer of an honorary degree for President Rodrigo Duterte.
The President declined the offer "as a matter of personal and official policy."
For Robredo, an alumna of the university, UP students “are expected to be politically involved.”
“UP is not UP without the depth of its causes,” the Vice President said in a forum with students of UP Los Baños.
Robredo said she had her own “political awakening” as a UP student in the 1980s, when she joined rallies calling for the end of Martial Law under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
UP is known for its militant history, especially during the martial law years, when Marcos abolished student organizations and publications to quell the youth’s growing dissent. Many student activists and journalists were tortured, raped and murdered under the authoritarian rule.
This week, UP drew public attention anew after its highest governing body, the Board of Regents, said it will offer an honorary degree to President Rodrigo Duterte, an ally of the Marcos family.
Some members of the UP community slammed the announcement, demanding instead that Duterte answer to the killings linked to his war on drugs.