'Innocence of Muslims' OK for teaching in UP

Posted at 09/22/2012 11:46 AM | Updated as of 09/22/2012 10:19 PM

MANILA , Philippines – The Office of the Chancellor of the University of the Philippines in Diliman clarified on Saturday that the controversial film "Innocence of Mulsims" can be used and discussed in the state university's classrooms.

In an interview with radio dzMM, UP Chancellor Caesar Saloma said what he banned was the public showing of the film inside the university, a move that was criticized by human rights lawyer UP Prof. Harry Roque as a violation of academic freedom.

Saloma said his memorandum does not stop professors from talking about the issue or showing the film in class “kung may relevance doon sa content ng subject matter, hindi lang public showing."

“Ang ating instruction po kahapon sa lahat ng deans ng ating kolehiyo i-postpone muna ang showing ng film na yun sa publiko kasi ating alamin kung ano ba ang value ng film na yun,” Saloma explained.

Saloma said Roque did not secure a permit when he showed the controversial film, “Innocence of Muslims," to his students on Friday.

“Normally, kapag may public showing ang UP Diliman may kinukuhang permit sa Chancellor a week or two para mag prepare tayo ng kailangang gawin. Di po ginawa yun,” he said.

Despite this, Saloma said that no investigation is being conducted against Roque.

“Mukhang wala namang negative na incident na nangyari kagabi,” he said.

“Concerned tayo kasi real naman ang security issues involved,” Saloma added.

Film is trash, divisive

Roque said that Friday’s film showing was part of the commemoration of Martial Law.

“Importanteng maipalabas yun dahil anibersaryo ng Martial Law kung saan ang unang-unang karapatan na sinupil ng diktaturya ay yung karapatan ng malayang pagiisip at karapatan ng malayang pamamahayag,” he said.

The professor clarified that they are not supporting the message that the film wants to convey.

“Hindi namin iniendorso ang mensahe niya pero ang karapatan ay malaman kung ano nga ang sinasabi. Yan ang karapatan na pino-protektahan dahil kung hindi naman namin makikita yun hindi kami magkakaroon ng pagkakataon magkaroon ng opinion,” he earlier explained.

And now that he has seen the film, Roque said he believes no one would fall for its trashy content.

“Dahil napanood ko na yan siguro pwede ko nang sabihin sa mga kapatid nating Muslim na wala po dapat silang kahit anong alinlangan na kahit sino ay maniniwala sa film na yan,” he said.

“Basura po ito, walang kakwenta-kwenta at di dapat pagaksayahan ng panahon,” he added.

Gov. Mujiv Hataman, officer-in-charge of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said the film obviously wants to divide people.

“Bakit natin pagaaksayahan ng panahon ang isang bagay na makakapaghati sa ating lahat? Hindi makakatulong sa pagkakaisa at pagrerespetuhan sa isa’t-isa?” Hataman said.

Hataman added, “Nirerespeto ko ang kagustuhan ng ilan pero bilang rational persons wag na nating bigyan ng panahon, halaga yung alam nating di makakatulong sa ating lahat."