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UP cold to PNP’s call for access to campus

05:02 AM August 14, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — A University of the Philippines (UP) official on Tuesday threw cold water on the Philippine National Police’s renewed bid to gain access to schools with a storied activist tradition, purportedly to squelch recruitment by communist rebels.

The state university will continue to stand by its longtime agreement with the Department of National Defense that bars the police and military from entering any UP campus without permission, according to UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan.

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“They cannot just do that,” he told the Inquirer, responding to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año’s pronouncement that he would invoke Executive Order No. 70, which formed the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict, to justify police presence.

“Any decision cannot be made unilaterally,” Tan added. “They cannot just change their mind and send police into our campuses.”

Gen. Oscar Albayalde, the PNP chief, recently called for a review of the agreement known as the Soto-Enrile Accord, signed in 1982 by student leader Sonia Soto and then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile.

But Tan signaled that interest in revisiting the agreement was slim.

Allegations that the UP campus was a fertile recruitment ground for the New People’s Army, the communist party’s armed wing, were no longer new, he said. —Matthew Reysio-Cruz

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