MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines (UP) Pep Squad will not join the UAAP Season 79 Cheerdance Competition, the squad announced on Wednesday.
The UP Pep Squad, winners of eight cheerdance titles, said in a statement posted on their Facebook page that they are opting to skip this season's competition due in part to their failure to reach a resolution with the competition's organizers.
UP had placed third in Season 78, with National University (NU) coming in first place and University of Santo Tomas (UST) placing second.
UP disputed the result, with coach Lalaine Juarez-Pereña filing a formal protest to the UAAP Cheerdance Committee that was endorsed by UP Diliman Chancellor Michael L. Tan.
Their protest was dismissed, however.
"We can share the news to those who have been wondering that, regretfully, we will not be part of this season's UAAP Cheerdance competition," the team said.
"From our first request for an informal meeting, to the letter of protest advised by the organizers themselves, we have exhausted all our efforts to reach a resolution," they added. "We have repeatedly sought out the delegated individuals to no avail. And after many weeks, months, and now a year of waiting, our issues and questions remain unresolved."
Last year, Juarez-Pereña had said that they will not join the competition if their questions are not answered -- and the UP Pep Squad is sticking to its words.
"We abide with our principles of honor and integrity, and stay true to our word of foregoing with the competition, should the same organizers be hired to handle the event again," the team said.
This marks the first time since the event's inception that the UP Pep Squad, a traditional powerhouse, will not compete. They have made the podium every year that they participated.
Instead of the UAAP, the UP Pep Squad will instead focus its energies on preparing for the Asian Cheerleading and Dancesport Competition, among other events.
"We are thrilled to carry our flag alongside Asia's best teams," the team said.
"We are also working on a simple gathering in keeping our duty to cheer for our university, fellow students and supporters: a consolation for the sizable longing that missing this season’s CDC will leave in our hearts. We hope you will be patient enough for this offering, or in terms familiar to us: an Oblation."
UP last ruled the cheerdance tilt in 2012, the last of three straight titles. Since then, the CDC has been dominated by the National University Pep Squad.