The Youth for Nationalism and Democracy – (YND) Philippines strongly upholds the right of the students and the youth to freedom of speech and expression and condemns any act of intimidation and suppression of such, as what had happened in the case of a student-leader in Nueva Ecija.
Facing threat of a libel case over his Facebook post expressing his dissent on President Duterte’s lack of action to address the needs of the Filipinos amidst the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in the country, University of the East (UE) Dawn’s editor-in-chief Joshua Molo was forced to make a public apology on 04 April 2020.
According to a report by Redwire, Molo’s former teachers in high school who are pro-Dutertes were offended by his social media post against the Duterte administration and reported him to the Brgy. Hall of San Fernando Sur, Cabiao, Nueva Ecija where he was coerced to be filmed apologizing and promising to never do such, again.
This incident is a clear violation of Molo’s right to freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed by the 1987 Constitution. Moreover, it is never libelous for concerned and responsible citizens of the Philippines to express their political beliefs including their criticisms on the administration’s processes and actions.
This act of political intimidation of teachers to their student who merely exercises critical thinking is a reflection of how political patronage has wreaked havoc on the democratic spaces of the youth and the students’ academic freedom where exchange and expressions of their ideas and beliefs are unconstrained by authorities.
We call on teachers and educators to encourage their students to exercise critical thinking for nation-building as the realest value of education, instead of reporting and getting offended by such practice. We also appeal the students and all concerned citizens to continue speaking up for the truth and their rights and beliefs and not be threatened by any act of harassment and intimidation so long as we do not violate any law.
Speaking the truth amidst prevalent disinformation and misinformation in the country is all the more critical. It is high time that we assert our freedom of speech and expression as the tyrannical administration relentlessly attacks its critics. No act of harassment shall mute the collective voices of empowered, nationalist, and democracy-loving students, leaders, and citizens.
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