Duterte Youth slams ‘special treatment’ to UP; wants PUP-DND accord scrapped, too
MANILA, Philippines — After the Department of National Defense (DND) moved to terminate its security agreement with the University of the Philippines, the controversial Duterte Youth Partylist now wants a similar pact with the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) canceled as well.
Duterte Youth Partylist Rep. Ducielle Cardema, who serves as the vice-chairperson of the House committee on national defense and security, said the government’s deal with PUP that is similar to the UP-DND agreement should also be revoked because it creates “inequality” between the different state universities and colleges (SUC) in the country.
The UP-DND agreement bars police presence and entry of military in its campuses without prior notice.
“As Vice-Chairperson of the House Committee on National Defense & Security, I call on the DND to also cancel its similar PUP-DND accord..,” Cardema said.
The agreement with the two universities, Cardema said, “gives special treatment to only two SUCs.”
“Itong UP-DND Accord & PUP-DND Accord ay klarong-klaro na special treatment na inabuso na, sa tagal ng panahon,” Cardema said in a statement.
(The UP-DND accord and the PUP-DND accord are clear cases of special treatment that are being abused for the longest time.)
“Kung sa 400 plus campuses ng iba’t ibang SUCs ng bansa wala namang ganyang accord pero peaceful naman, tama lamang tanggalin na ang special treatment na yan na naaabuso rin naman,” she added.
(If the more than 400 campuses of the different SUCs in the country do not have that same accord but remain peaceful, then it is just right to remove this special treatment that is being abused.)
However, Cardema insisted their call is “not in anyway red-tagging” even as she backed DND’s move to terminate its agreement with UP.
While Cardema acknowledged that the majority of UP students are hardworking, she said “there are a few who fanatically believe that they can serve the people by bringing down the Government.”
“These few radical leftist groups abused the term Academic Freedom to include freedom to commit sedition or inciting people to rebel against the government,” Cardema said.
“The UP-DND Accord was used to uphold academic freedom but these leftist groups have abused it to shield them so that the government and our government troops cannot arrest them for their seditious acts including their visiting NPA comrades who have long used their campuses as recruiting grounds for several Filipino Youth to become NPA Fighters,” she added.
In a letter to UP President Danilo Concepcion dated Jan. 15, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the agreement had been a hindrance to operations against communist rebels, especially the recruitment of cadres in UP.
Lorenzana said DND “is aware that there is indeed an ongoing clandestine recruitment inside UP campuses nationwide” by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA). Both have been declared as terrorist organizations by the Anti-Terrorism Council created by the new anti-terror law.
But contrary to Cardema’s support of the agreement’s abrogation, some of her fellow lawmakers in the House of Representatives have slammed DND’s move.
Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon, who serves as the vice chairperson of the House committee on national defense and security, said the DND should reconsider its decision and have a dialogue with the UP administration to come to terms to a joint approach in countering the recruitment of the youth to the armed struggle, “while at the same time maintaining the university as a haven for academic freedom, critical thinking, and ideological debate.”
Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez, meanwhile, said that DND’s decision may send a chilling effect on the exercise of the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of academic freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly, which have thrived in UP.