/ 17 March 2021

STUDENTS of the College of Communication of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines on Tuesday, March 16, decried an alleged sexual harassment committed by a professor.

The PUP-COC Student Council said such malicious action should be punished.

“We call on the COC administration to duly recognize the survivor’s situation and appeal of justice, provide a survivor-centered assistance and hold the perpetrator accountable for his malicious behavior,” the group said in a statement.

“We believe that the college should serve as one of the safest spaces for everyone. The professors and the college administration should not invalidate nor ignore this kind of incident,” it added.

The student council issued the statement after a student posted on Twitter a screenshot of the professor’s alleged comment on her Facebook stories saying: “Are you a model? I think pwede ka maging model. Anong year mo and section sa PUP? I love your bra.”

The student said she found the professor’s act disrespectful and degrading.

“Nakakainis, nakakagalit!! Pero alam ko sa sarili kong hindi ko ‘to kasalanan. Maayos akong nakikipag-usap sa kanya, mataas ang tingin ko sa kanya nung umpisa pero ngayon, diring-diri na ako sa kanya,” the student said.

James Ona, a PUP professor, shared that the COC administration, after talking to the student, put the blame on the learner because she posted inappropriate pictures.

“Huwag din sanang sisihin ang biktima. Sa pakikipag-usap ko po sa bata, lumalabas na siya pa ang sinisisi ng mga nakausap niya  sa kolehiyo,” Ona said.

The student shared the same sentiments and felt that the college is tolerating the alleged sexual harassment.

“Ilang months ko ‘to kinimkim kasi iniisip ko na baka compliments lang talaga ‘yun or baka nag-assume lang ako ng mali, pero hindi eh. Tinatago ko ‘to kasi takot ako ma-victim blame ng kung sino man. Humihingi rin ako ng tulong sa faculty at kay dean pero noong humingi ako ng update regarding dito, seen lang ako” she said.

COC Dean Hemmady Mora, however, said that the school will give priority to the welfare of students.

“We are continuing the tradition that we have established in the college as to protecting the interest of our students. This is being acted on and has been brought already to the concern of appropriate offices. We are coordinating with the COC Student Council, and also reaching out to the student concerned,” Mora said.