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UP president apologizes for KB reunion

/ 07:00 AM August 31, 2018

Saying he was only human, the president of the University of the Philippines (UP) has apologized for attending last week’s Kabataang Barangay (KB) reunion at the university’s alumni center with the defunct group’s former head, Imee Marcos, the eldest daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

But UP professors, students, workers and alumni, who called the KB reunion on campus an “insult” to UP’s activist history and a blatant disregard of martial law’s effects on the state university, on Thursday rejected UP president Danilo Concepcion’s apology.

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Instead, they challenged him to join them in a protest against the dictatorship on the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law on Sept. 21.

In his statement on Wednesday, Concepcion said he attended the reunion at the Bahay ng Alumni in his “desire” to see “old-time friends.”

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“I deeply regret the pain my appearance at the Kabataang Barangay reunion in UP Diliman last Aug. 25 caused the UP community. I intended no offense, most especially to the UP community that I serve,” he said.

“My desire to be with old-time friends I had not seen for decades, no matter how briefly, made me overlook its effect on the sentiments of the UP community. Tao lang po! (I’m only human!)” Concepcion said.

Concepcion, who was president of KB in Metro Manila from 1976 to 1978, assured the UP community that on his watch the university “will never forget the dark period of our country during the martial law years and will continuously hold in high esteem the university’s best and brightest who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for freedom and democracy.”

UP was closed for about one month after Marcos declared martial law on Sept. 21, 1972, outlawed activist organizations and shut down the student council and the student paper, the Philippine Collegian.

Hundreds of students from UP and other schools were incarcerated, many tortured, for defying  martial law.

Campus alliance

Representatives of No Erasures, No Revisions, a broad alliance of UP staff and students, gathered on Thursday at the student center, Vinzons Hall, to condemn the KB reunion on campus. About 300 people, including nonmembers of the alliance, attended the assembly.

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Former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said the KB reunion was a “perversion” and an “insult” to the activist history of UP during martial law.

“The various attempt to justify the Imee Marcos-led event last Saturday will never fly with any Filipino who experienced martial law, or those who have heard the stories of torture and read the accounts of families who, up to now, have no closure because their loved ones were disappeared by the fascist police and military forces of the Marcos dictatorship,” Taguiwalo said.

Stand UP’s Almira Abril, a mass communication student, said the Marcoses were “monsters” who “never acknowledged the human rights of Filipinos.”

“We are not moving on. We are moving forward,” she said.

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TAGS: Danilo Concepcion, Education, Kabataang Barangay, Local news, Marocs, Martial law, Metro, metro news, Nation, national news, News, Philippine news updates, Politics, Regions, UP
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