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Palace: Revoke scholarships? Prove first if students are in anti-gov’t forces

Salvador Panelo

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo (File photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — There must first be “concrete evidence” that students are part of forces fighting the government before the state can revoke their scholarships, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the government will not be “reckless” in revoking scholarships, adding that there must be “concrete evidence” that students are part of anti-government forces.

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He made the remark in light of the proposal of the National Youth Commission (NYC) to revoke the scholarships of “rebellious and anti-government” students.

READ: NYC chair: Remove scholarships of ‘anti-government’ students

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“Kailangan meron tayong ebidensya na parte nga sila (students) ng mga grupo na laban sa gobyerno,” Panelo said in a press briefing.

“Kung sumasama lang sila sa rally, it’s a right. It’s freedom of expression and freedom of dissent,” he added.

He further clarified that mere membership alone on leftist groups could not be a basis for the revocation of the student’s scholarships.

“Mere membership alone will not suffice. You want to show us evidence that one, you did join because you want to fight the government,” he said.

He said that joining rallies and expressing dissent against the government’s policies could not also be basis for the revocation of the student’s scholarship.

“Kung nakita na kasama ka sa mga plano against the government, halimbawa, nagkaroon ng raid, ikaw pala ay kasama don, nagpaplano ka, laking ebidensya nun,” Panelo said.

“Pero kung sumasama ka lang sa rally and you just express your dissent to government policy, hindi kasama yun,” he added. /je

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