Militant student groups ‘monopolizing’ political ideology in campuses — DILG
MANILA, Philippines — By opposing the proposal to allow the presence of police officers in schools, militant student groups are restricting the right of every student to hear both sides of pressing issues in the country, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Thursday.
According to DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya, campuses should be “marketplaces of ideas” where students can hear and assess diverse political ideologies that will help them make informed decisions.
“The militant student organizations are, in fact, saying that only their ideology or point of view is welcome here and any attempt to weaken their hold on the discourse or introduce other points of view is militarization,” Malaya said in a statement.
He also said that talks on militarization and enforcing martial law in campuses, particularly in the University of the Philippines, show that the imagination of these groups has gone overboard.
“This is again classic communist propaganda, using the ‘politics of fear’ to portray government as a repressive monster to earn political ‘pogi’ points from students in order to arouse, organize, and mobilize the youth sector,” said Malaya.
The DILG official likewise questioned why militant student groups are claiming that the government is militarizing campuses when there is in fact no plan to transform schools into military or police camps.
He said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año’s proposal is very clear, which is to send police officers to campuses to engage school administrators and students in dialogues, and “not bringing the power of arms but bringing the power of facts, argument, and information.”
“Why are they so afraid of contrarian points of view? Isn’t that what academic freedom is all about? This only proves that they do not really believe in academic freedom but are really concerned about controlling the discourse in schools so that they can continue active Communist recruitment,” said Malaya.
He also challenged militant student groups in UP to adapt to changing times and come up with new slogans for a change.
“Gasgas na ang sigaw na militarization and martial law sa UP. Bumenta na ang mga ‘yan. Digital age na ngayon (Shouts on militarization and martial law in the UP have long been used. We are now in the digital age),” he said.
Malaya explained that the government cannot just turn a blind eye to the complaints of some parents who have been raising concerns about their children being recruited by militant groups.
Security officials have been planning to step up efforts against recruitment of students into the New People’s Army, allegedly through some leftist organizations inside campuses. /muf
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