7 senators urge Senate to object the scrapping of UP-DND pact
MANILA, Philippines — Seven senators have filed a resolution urging the Senate to object to the unilateral termination of a long-standing agreement between the Department of National Defense (DND) and the University of the Philippines (UP) banning military and police presence in its campuses.
The senators filed Senate Resolution No. 616 on Tuesday, “expressing the sense of the Senate to oppose the unilateral termination of the [agreement].”
The resolution also urged UP and DND to “commence a dialogue and find common ground that promotes peace and security, and protects academic freedom, and the pursuit of excellence.”
The senators who signed the resolution are Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senators Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, Leila de Lima, Nancy Binay, and Joel Villanueva.
Senator Richard Gordon, meanwhile, relayed to Pangilinan’s office that he would also be made co-author of the resolution.
Gordon’s co-authorship of the resolution will be manifested on the floor once the resolution is scheduled for sponsorship in plenary, according to Pangilinan’s office.
On Monday, the DND unilaterally terminated a 1989 agreement with UP requiring prior notification to school officials for police and military to enter UP campuses, signaling an intent to deploy, but not post, state security forces for counterinsurgency operations in the state university.
However, the move was widely criticized. Moments after the UP-DND deal has been scrapped, the #DefendUP hashtag trended on social media.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, meanwhile, defended DND’s decision. He said communist rebels and their supporters were using the 1989 DND-UP agreement to prevent law enforcers from operating against them at UP campuses.
Lorenzana went on to say that the DND is aware that there is continuing covert recruitment across UP campuses nationwide by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA). The Anti-Terrorism Council established by the new anti-terror law has declared both as terrorist organizations.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.