by VICENTE MORANO III
Update (January 27, 2021): The 2016 staffers of the Perspective sought a comment regarding the matter from the university administration, but was said to have not received any responses. The original writer of the article mentioned that it was only around 5 PM as of that press time when the detail regarding the Emperor and Empress’ arrival was made public.
UPLB, Laguna — Forces from the Philippine National Police (PNP) formed barricades at several entry points going to the Freedom Park, preventing students from accessing their dormitories and the Student Union Building (SU).
One of the barricades was positioned on the Palma Bridge at around 3:00 p.m. The barricade, which was supposed to only last for thirty minutes, blocked the way of around 100-200 university constituents.
Together with the PNP, officers from the University Police Force (UPF) and Community Support Brigade (CSB) guarded the bridge. The students exclaimed their clamour, saying that they just want to pass by the bridge to go to their dormitories or transact at the Student Loan Board (SLB) located at the SU. Members of the CSB and UPF denied the request as an “activity” was happening at the Freedom Park.
The Perspective inquired as to why the students were disallowed to enter the premises to which one officer replied, “Antayin nyo na lang mamaya. Thirty minutes lang naman ‘to.” (Just wait for it later. This [barricade] will be for 30 minutes only.)
Prof. Genaro Cuaresma, Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs, who arrived at the barricade around 45 minutes later, said nothing about it.
At 4:00 p.m., the University Student Council (USC) through Yvann Zuñiga, was able to convince the forces to allow the students pass through the barricade. It was with a condition that the students submit through security inspection.
Zuñiga expressed his dismay with what happened. He said that the OVCCA considers all the people in and around the campus a security risk.
He also said that the barricades around the campus were not coordinated to the student institutions.
“Actually, this is different from the protocol of the last administration, ‘yung panahon ni Chancellor Cruz, whenever there is a police presence inside the campus, even ‘yung rerouting of the jeepneys ay kino-coordinate with the student councils so that they can inform and voice out for the students if ever nakakaabala ang mga ito. Ngayon, wala talaga.
The Perspective conducted a prior data gathering from the Office of the Chancellor and the OVCCA. Both offices refused to answer questions regarding the activity as it was deemed confidential.
Later today, it was confirmed that a helicopter landed at the university carrying the Japanese Emperor and Empress. Reasons for why they went to the university has not yet been confirmed as of press time. [P]