[Statement] #HandsOffSkimmers -UPV-USC, LCCS, and student organizations

Unity statement of UPV-USC, LCCS, and student organizations against the doxxing and harassment targeting members of the Skimmers Academic Organization by State-sponsored trolls of the Duterte administration

Last Wednesday, October 16, 2019, UP Visayas kicked off its Pahampang Season through the annual Cheering Competition where all academic organizations best each other through cheers that tackle social and political issues from the university administration level all the way to national and global scales.

For this year, Skimmers, the academic organization under the Division of Humanities, won 1st place. Their performance highlighted press freedom, media killings, and exploitation. It also took up issues on the West Philippine Sea, Rice Tarrification Law, CHED’s Memorandum that removed Filipino, Panitikan, and the Philippine Constitution as core subjects in college, and the government’s call for mandatory ROTC.

A video of Skimmers’ performance was uploaded on social media and immediately gained traction after certain groups and pages singled out a line in Skimmers’ cheer condemning the Duterte administration’s inaction over the Philippine claim on the West Philippine Sea.

The line’s satirical nature did not sit well with Duterte supporters as they took their threats and harassment to Facebook and launched different attacks against Skimmers and its cheerers. These threats are made more pressing and credible as the pages and groups supporting Duterte publicized some personal information of the Skimmers Governor and Skimmers adviser, making them a target.

The attacks intensified when Mocha Uson herself shared a snippet of the Skimmers’ cheer on her personal blog, with the caption “Let’s kill the President daw? Yan na ba talaga ang tinuturo nila sa University of the Philippines ngayon?”. The post in question has over 321,000 views and 2,000 shares at the time of writing, which has inspired Duterte supporters to send video threats to several Skimmers cheerers, post their photos without consent (which is a clear violation of the Data Privacy Act), and red tag the University along with its University Student Council.

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