President Rodrigo Duterte threatened on Tuesday night to stop funding the studies of University of the Philippines students following calls for an academic break due to widespread devastation caused by successive typhoons.
The President dared students pleading for an academic break to stop schooling, saying he is willing to oblige to their request.
"UP? Fine, maghinto kayo ng aral. I will stop the funding. Wala nang ginawa itong ano, kundi magrecruit ang mga komunista diyan," Duterte said in a televised address.
"Tapos nag-aaral kayo ang gusto niyong bira-bira ang gobyerno. Masyado naman nakasuwerte kayo. Wag kayong manakot kasi I will oblige you," he added.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, a former professor at UP, called students protesting as "loko-loko" (fools).
"'Yung mga estudyante po na loko-loko na ayaw pumasok, nagpoprotesta, di daw sila magsa-submit ng academic requirements hanggang di natutulungan ang mga biktima ng typhoon," Roque said.
Duterte said disaster response is the concern of the government and not of students.
"You are taking the cudgels of the poor ahead of your time. That is not your worry, that is the worry of government," he said.
Some universities and colleges have suspended classes following successive typhoons that hit the country. Students have taken to social media to call for an academic break using the hashtag #AcademicBreakNOW.