Palace: Campuses abroad have police presence, but academic freedom never violated
MANILA, Philippines — Academic freedom is not violated in universities abroad even with the presence of state forces in its campuses, Malacañang said Tuesday as it backed the termination of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the University of the Philippines’ (UP) agreement to keep police and military from its campuses without coordination.
“Personally po, ako po ay 15 taon nagturo, 10 taon nag-aral sa UP. ‘Yung 25 years ko po sa UP, di ko po naranasan na nandoon ang pulis. Pero tingin ko naman nung pag-aaral ko sa abroad, wala naman pong special police sa mga campuses sa Amerika at Inglatera at lahat po sila ay sakop din ng mga pulis,” Roque said in an online briefing.
(Personally, I taught for 15 years and studied for 10 years in UP. In the 25 years I spent in UP, I didn’t experience having the police there. But in my experience in studying abroad, there is no special police for campuses in America and England, they are all covered by the police.)
“Alam niyo po, lalong lalo na sa Inglatera, wala pong distinction between the campus and the city. The campus is very much of the city at buong Europa po. Ibig sabihin, ang pulis ay naroon din po sa lahat ng campuses at wala naman pong paglabag sa academic freedom.”
(In England, there is no distinction between the campus and the city. The campus is very much like the city and the entire Europe. It means there are police on all campuses but there is no violation of academic freedom.)
In a letter to UP President Danilo Concepcion, DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the agreement had been a hindrance to counterinsurgency operations given the recruitment of cadres within the university.
Concepcion, meanwhile, described the termination as “unnecessary” and asked Lorenzana to reconsider the decision.
“Nasa mga taga-UP rin po yan. Ang tingin ko naman po, dahil ang napakatagal kong nagtagal sa UP, 25 taon, hindi po nila papayagan na mabalewala ang kanilang karapatan sa academic freedom,” Roque said.
(This is also up to those from UP. With my 25 years of stay in UP, I think they will not allow having their academic freedom snubbed.)
The DND’s move was met with criticism from the academe and some lawmakers who feared that it was meant to shrink democratic space.
Vice President Leni Robredo also thumbed down the termination of the deal, saying it was only meant to sow fear and silence criticism against the government.
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