Albayalde: Activists ‘overreacting’ on proposal to let cops inside schools
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde on Tuesday dismissed as mere “overreaction” criticisms against suggestions to allow state forces inside universities.
For Albayalde, groups have “misunderstood” the proposal of Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, his predecessor at the helm of the nation’s police force.
According to him, under the current set up, the police and military cannot enter campuses without prior coordination with school authorities.
“I think this is misunderstood and medyo overreaction naman siguro ang mga militanteng grupo dito (overreaction perhaps from militant groups). There is no such thing as a militarization of a campus,” he pointed out during a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Albayalde noted that only student-activists were reacting against the proposal of Dela Rosa.
He then accused the progressive organizations of misinterpreting the idea only to “agitate” other students.
Dela Rosa earlier said a law should be passed allowing the presence of state forces in schools to ensure that students are made aware of the advocacies of the government amid alleged rising radicalization of students, who are supposedly being recruited to become fighters for the New People’s Army (NPA).
Albayalde stressed that the PNP respects the constitutional rights of everyone, including students, but said violation of the law occurs when they take up arms against the government.
“Activism is not a problem, it’s part of freedom. ‘Yung criticism is part of freedom, but when you support and radicalize people there to join an armed movement then that is sedition, that is already a violation of the law,” he said.
“Hindi pwede ‘yun. Dapat madifferentiate natin ‘yan, which sila interchangeably ginagamit nila (That should not be. They should differentiate that, since they interchangeably do it),” he also said.
He likewise denied that the suggestion of Dela Rosa would be similar to enforcing martial law on campuses.
“Again, that’s an overreaction. What we are trying to prevent here is massive recruitment, the massive radicalization of innocent students [to the communist movement],” he said.
The PNP chief further clarified that Dela Rosa’s suggestion would not also lead to massive surveillance on student-activists.
To “enlighten” the “overreacting” students, Albayalde said the PNP is willing to engage them, the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Education in a dialogue. /kga
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