By Allianah Junnice Bolotaulo and Paul Ray Donaire | September 14, 2023
Ang Sandigan, a top-performing student organization may face sanctions pending a final decision from the Silliman University (SU) Student Organizations and Activities (SOAD) head and Dean of Students.
Killer Karaoke, the organization’s Hibalag event held on Aug. 22 at the Ravello Field, used live frogs and snakes to “challenge” chosen contestants as they sang.
Among the four finalists in the event, only the first two experienced the challenge with live animals, as the Committee on Student Organizations (ComSO) advised organizers to discontinue their usage for the rest of the program.
SOAD Head Abe Cadeliña added that he would not allow the use of animals because they are not “experts” who have sufficient training in handling animals.
“Going back to the university being a wildlife sanctuary, we have to be careful when it comes to animals,” he said.
Although the use of live animals is “legal” for events like Hibalag, Alsace Enriquez, co-chairperson of ComSO, added that a document from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources stating ownership to ensure the safety of the participants would be required.
However, she said that the organization did not fulfill this requirement.
“The concern was more of the source […] it could be a hybrid frog, but if it was sourced elsewhere, not in a controlled environment, it would entail diseases,” she added.
While ComSO approved the event proposal submitted by Ang Sandigan without these papers, Enriquez said that the wording of the proposal led them to believe the animals would be fake.
“For the actual flow of the event [in their proposal], you would see ‘fake tarantula, frogs, snakes’… [so] we assumed everything [that] followed [would be] ‘fake,’” she explained. “It did not indicate that they were fake, but it also did not say they were live.”
However, Ang Sandigan claimed that they “also passed the guidelines that indicate the use of live animals specifically, no touching, pinching, or any forms of violence towards the animals, and cited RA 10631.”
Bianca Flores, vice-president internal of Ang Sandigan, further mentioned that the snake was rented and was under the supervision of its owner, while the frogs were considered “edible” as they were of the “palakang bukid [mountain frogs]” variety.
“We paid someone to get frogs for us. Three frogs were used and, yes, there were no frogs lost during the event,” she said.
Flores added that the frogs were delivered to the event venue in “one small sack.”
She also said the frogs were released into a river following the event, and “fortunately,” no participants experienced any health concerns.
With this, she also stated that they did not “bother to reach out to them.”
While this is the fourth time Killer Karaoke has been held, Flores said previous organizers partnered with various organizations to handle the animals.
In their talk with the SU Center for Tropical Conservation Studies (CENTROP) chairperson, Flores added they were “given awareness and a strong warning concerning the nuances” of the event.
To prevent incidents like this from happening again, she further suggested, “Never involve wild animals for entertainment because it will cause stress to them.”
After Ang Sandigan and ComSO submit their incident reports, Cadeliña and Dean of Students Edna Calingacion will “come up with a final decision” on the organization’s sanctions.
As of writing, the incident reports for the event are still being processed.
This is a developing story.