Protesters padlock buildings inside school-A A +A
Monday, January 28, 2013
KIDAPAWAN CITY -- Rallyists padlocked early Monday several buildings inside the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) in Kabacan, North Cotabato as part of their continuing protest on the re-appointment of USM president Dr. Jesus Antonio Derije.
Rod Benez, news writer for USM-owned radio station dxVL-FM, said he was surprised to see a padlocked station when he reported for work around 5 a.m.
Allan Dalo, dxVL program director, believes the protesters started padlocking the buildings inside the campus after the radio station signed off around 10 p.m. Sunday.
Dr. Derije said they already reported the incident to the local police for immediate action.
"After we have it recorded on the police blotter, we will file necessary charges against those behind this," Derije said.
Derije, however, has yet to identify the persons that padlocked the buildings.
"I am made to believe the same group was behind this. Last week, this group has circulated text messages that they will hold another rally on Monday, and this time, it's going to be different," he said.
In a text message sent to several reporters last Thursday, Dr. William dela Torre, one of the rally organizers, said a "big event will happen on Monday morning" and that they need "media attention."
"The protests we held two weeks ago were not given due action by the Malacanang and those in the national government. Maybe, not much attention has been given to our protests. This time, it's going to be big and different," dela Torre said.
Despite the move, which the USM management considered "illegal," Derije said they will continue to carry out "maximum tolerance" against the protesters.
"This move is illegal. Yet, we have strict orders not to harm any of the protesters. We all pray classes won't be affected," Derije said.
The four-day midterm examinations at the USM started Monday. Yet, Derije believes the protests cannot paralyze the exams.
"The padlocks had already been destroyed. We already coordinated with the Kabacan police. Students can still attend classes and the exams today will proceed until Thursday. In the meantime, we will try to find out those that padlocked our buildings here," the USM president said on Monday.
Two weeks ago, the group of dela Torre held rally for five days to protest Derije's re-appointment.
After which, some of the USM's student government officials, including members of some progressive groups in North Cotabato, held another rally. Despite this, Derije was not moved.
"I will just wait for the resolutions of the agencies where complaints against me had been lodged. So far, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice had not sent results of their investigations," he said. (MCM)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 29, 2013.