Palace: Duterte backs ditching of ‘obsolete’ UP-DND accord
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte supports the decision of the Department of National Defense (DND) to unilaterally terminate its long-time agreement with the University of the Philippines (UP) banning military and police presence on its campuses.
“Si (Defense) Secretary (Delfin) Lorenzana po is an alter ego of the President. Of course, the President supports the decision of Secretary Lorenzana,” Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said in a televised Palace press briefing.
The 1989 agreement, according to Lorenzana, had been a hindrance to operations against communist rebels, especially the recruitment of cadres in UP.
The termination of the deal means state forces can now freely enter UP campuses.
The move was fiercely criticized by the UP community. Even Vice President Leni Robredo said the abrogation of the deal was meant to “sow fear” and “silence criticism.”
But Lorenzana defended his decision, saying that the deal is now “obsolete” and that the country’s premier university is now “a safe haven for the enemies of the state.”
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