UST cancels forum over presence of pro-RH bets-A A +A
Friday, January 11, 2013
MANILA -- The University of Santo Tomas (UST) has decided to cancel a forum organized by its own student council for fear of discussion of the reproductive health (RH) law, which the school strongly objected to.
The forum dubbed as #YouthVote2013 was scheduled Friday at the Pontifical University’s College of Medicine Auditorium but due to the topic on health, it was cancelled by the Office of the Secretary-General.
The forum panelists include former Akbayan party-list Representative Risa Hontiveros, United Nationalist Alliance bet Richard Gordon, independent candidate Grace Poe-Llamanzares, Teddy Casino of the Makabayan Coalition and Ang Kapatiran Party’s Lito David.
Casino, as representative of the Bayan Muna party-list group, voted in favor of the RH bill, while Hontiveros, has strongly supported the enactment of the controversial bill during her stint in the House of Representatives.
Ang Kapatiran meanwhile is against the RH law.
Heart Dino, NCR chairperson of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, one of the organizers of the event, said UST’s decision is a “blatant disregard of students’ academic freedom”.
“We feel that this is a loss for the Thomasians, being deprived of their opportunity to discern the 2013 senatorial candidates”, Argee Gonzales, the vice president of UST’s Central Student Council, added.
The organizers are set to continue the senatorial forum set on January 29 at San Beda College-Alabang.
In a press statement, Casiño said the forum cancellation was not only a violation of academic freedom “but an abridgment of our freedom of speech”.
"Schools should be venues of constructive debates, not the stifling of contrary opinions," he said.
To recall, an editorial article in the student paper of UST drew flack after it called professors of Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University “intellectual pretenders and interlopers” for supporting the RH bill. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)