Lorenzana defends decision to terminate UP accord: ‘Times have changed’
MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday defended his agency’s move to unilaterally terminate a long-time agreement with the University of the Philippines as it has become “a safe haven for the enemies of the state.”
The 1989 agreement requiring state forces to notify officials prior operating on UP campuses was a “gesture of courtesy” given to the university and is now “obsolete,” Lorenzana said in a statement.
“The agreement has become obsolete. The times and circumstances have changed since the agreement was signed in 1989, three years after the martial law ended,” he went on.
The defense secretary said that UP “has become the breeding ground of intransigent individuals and groups whose extremist beliefs have inveigled students to join their ranks to fight against the government.”
“The country’s premier state university has become a safe haven for enemies of the state,” he said.
The DND’s move to terminate the deal was publicized on Monday night, after UP published a copy of Lorenzana’s letter to UP President Danilo Concepcion on some of its social media accounts.
This means state forces may now enter UP campuses freely. Lorenzana said that the armed forces do not intend to put up military or police outposts inside UP campuses “nor suppress activist groups, academic freedom and freedom of expression.”
Lorenzana urged the UP community to “work together to protect our students from extremism and destructive armed struggle.”
The DND, he said, will “not tolerate those who will violate the laws of the land in the guise of lawful public dissent, free assembly and free speech.”
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