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Student group lauds salutatorian Krisel Mallari for speaking vs injustice

/ 12:38 PM March 24, 2015

MANILA, Philippines—A student group lauded the valiant effort of Krisel Mallari, the salutatorian from Sto. Niño Parochial School (SNPS) who was cut off by school administrators during her speech in her graduation last Saturday, saying that what she did was not inappropriate.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP) said that Mallari made her “welcome remarks” during her graduation an “alternative venue to speak for justice.”

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Watch: Salutatorian speech interrupted by QC school execs

“While the SNPS administration vilifies Krisel’s speech as unfit for the occasion and unapproved by the school, NUSP strongly believes that there is no venue more appropriate to voice out her plea for justice than her “welcome message.” The commencement exercise and her welcome speech then became not merely traditional school-officiated exercises but alternative avenues to speak for justice,” NUSP said.

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The youth group also slammed the policy of schools in “censoring” their students’ speeches, saying that it stifles their right to freely express themselves.

“This censorship is not alien to Filipino students. In fact, censorship is part of the school’s fascism and repressive ways to curtail students’ constitutional and democratic rights. Checking students’ commencement speeches does not simply mean checking the syntax and grammar of speeches. Checking speeches has been funneled to “screening” speeches. The matter of all matters is very simple: school officials screen, not check, speeches to ensure that nothing against the school will be manifested by the students,” NUSP added.

The student group urged all students to expose injustices in their schools and to use the “hard-earned” freedom of expression and organization to serve the Filipino people.

Mallari’s speech became viral after the school director, principal and her adviser repeatedly tried to cut her off in the middle of her speech. The salutatorian’s speech slammed the policies of the school.

“With each year that passed by, I studied so hard in school, I believed in fair competition. Towards the end of this school year, I was just a step away from the finish line, but the red lace that will symbolize my success was gone—or was it intentionally taken?” Mallari said.

On its part, the school said that they interrupted Mallari’s speech as it was not the version that the administrators had approved and that the speech was inappropriate for the occasion.

“The school decided to cut off Krisel Mallari’s speech because she changed the “welcome remarks” she submitted to the administration during the exact date and time of the event. It is the school’s policy to approve all speeches. Krisel Mallari was already told that if she violates this rule, she will not be allowed to deliver her speech.

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The content of her speech was inappropriate as a “welcome remarks” and an attack to the valedictorian whom she accused of cheating and that the school allegedly turned a blind eye on the incident,” the SNPS administration said in its official statement in Filipino.

If she was not interrupted, Mallari would have ended her speech with this line: “I am Krisel Mallari, a Filipino citizen who would rather choose to fail with honor, than win by cheating.”

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