#DefendUP trends after DND scraps agreement with UP
MANILA, Philippines — The hashtag #DefendUP trended on social media on Monday, after the Department of National Defense (DND) reportedly terminated its agreement with the University of the Philippines (UP) that prohibits any military and police presence inside its campuses.
Netizens on Twitter who opposed DND’s move claimed that this is another way of the administration to threaten and silence activists who have opposed President Rodrigo Duterte’s several policies, especially on supposed red-tagging activities and on the COVID-19 pandemic response.
Various officials who are former UP students, like Senator Francis Pangilinan, have voiced concern over the termination, especially since the agreement was made to uphold freedom and democracy.
As of posting time, the hashtag #DefendUP has over 20,800 tweets.
“Tinutulan natin ang panghihimasok ng diktador noon. UP has always been and will always be a citadel of freedom and democracy. No to the unilateral and arbitrary termination of the Enrile-Soto Accord. Pakiusap lang. Please don’t mess with UP,” Pangilinan said.
Tinutulan natin ang panghihimasok ng diktador noon. UP has always been and will always be a citadel of freedom and democracy.
No to the unilateral and arbitrary termination of the Enrile-Soto Accord.
— Kiko Pangilinan (@kikopangilinan) January 18, 2021
One netizen said that this development smacks fear, adding that the government would resort to anything to silence students voicing their sentiments.
“They are this threatened na talaga ano? Gagawin ang lahat mapatahimik lang ang mga isko at iska na nagsasalita at kumikilos nang legal laban sa kanila hay nakakahiya kayo,” the netizen said in her tweet.
they are this threatened na talaga ano? Gagawin ang lahat mapatahimik lang ang mga isko at iska na nagsasalita at kumikilos nang legal laban sa kanila hay nakakahiya kayo#DefendAcademicFreedom#DefendUP#NoToCampusMilitarization
— milka isabelle (@akptxdmra) January 18, 2021
The hashtag went viral after copies of the letter allegedly sent by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to UP President Danilo Concepcion were leaked on social media.
Lorenzana’s letter contains the abrogation of the 1989 agreement between UP and DND, which prevents the police and military from entering UP campuses and interfering from its activities — serving as a protection for students and faculty members well into the activist movements.
The agreement was signed by former UP president Jose Abueva and former president and then Defense secretary Fidel V. Ramos.
In the letter allegedly from Lorenzana dated Friday, the Defense chief said that the move was based on recent events showing that allegedly, many UP students have been recruited into the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).
He assured that they neither have plans to set up a station inside UP nor intend to disturb activist groups. However, he insisted that the move was meant to protect the university from the country’s enemies.