UP president to Dela Rosa: We can’t penalize students, faculty for their beliefs
MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines (UP) President Danilo Concepcion said Thursday they “cannot penalize” students and faculty members “for what they believe in.”
Responding to Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Concepcion even stressed that as an academic institution, they instead “encourage them to express what they believe in” as part of academic freedom.
Dela Rosa quizzed Concepcion if the UP administration is aware of the recruitment conducted by Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in its campuses.
“Are you aware that there are CPP-NPA members that have been doing recruitment inside your university? If yes, what have you done to prevent this?” Dela Rosa asked Concepcion during the Senate budget hearing of the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) and state universities and colleges (SUCs).
Dela Rosa earlier spearheaded a Senate investigation on the alleged disappearance of students recruited by leftist groups.
“Alam po ninyo, kami po ay academic institution. Hindi po namin maaaring parusahan ang aming mga estudyante o faculty sa kanilang mga paniniwala,” Concepcion replied.
“We cannot penalize them for what they believe in. In fact, we encourage them to express what they believe in. This is the essence of academic freedom. Academic freedom is like the blood of the university. Hindi po natin maaaring ihulma nangg tama ang pagiisip ng ating estudyante kung sila ay ating pipigilan lumipad, lumipad paitaas, kung pipigilan natin sila mag-isip,” he continued.
Concepcion also noted he heard about the recruitment through news and Dela Rosa’s pronouncements, but his personal knowledge regarding the matter is limited.
“Kung tinatanong po ninyo na alam namin na merong balita na mayroong nagrerecruit, nagbabasa naman po kami ng dyaryo, napakikinggan ko naman po ‘yung inyong mga pahayag sa Senado. Kumbaga alam naman po namin na may ganong information,” Concepcion said.
“Kung tatanungin po ninyo ako kung meron akong personal knowledge doon sa recruitment, ang isasagot ko po wala pong personal knowledge,” he added.
Concepcion pointed out that if the supposed recruitment is indeed happening, it does not violate any law that he knows of.
“Pero assuming po, na halimbawa’y may nagrerecruit, ‘yun pong pagrerecruit kasi per se, wala po kasi akong alam na nilalabag na batas, ‘yung mga nagrerecruit,” Concepcion said.
“Noong araw po, noong hindi pa nare-repeal ang anti-subversion law, outlawing the Communist Party of the Philippines, maaaring may violation na magrerecruit sila saan man… Pero sa akin pong pagkakaalam, na-repeal na po ‘yung batas na iyon kaya hindi na po outlawed ‘yung Communist Party of the Philippines. So papano kaya naman po natin pipigilan na magrecruit?” he then asked. /kga
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