DND eyeing exit from deals with other schools for campus anti-Red operations
MANILA, Philippines—Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said his department was keen on ending agreements with other schools that prevented the entry of state security forces for counterinsurgency operations on campuses without prior notice to school officials.
“We are looking into other similar agreements to terminate them as well,” Lorenzana told reporters in response to questions if the Department of National Defense (DND) had agreements with other schools similar to the one with University of the Philippines (UP), which Lorenzana unilaterally terminated last Jan. 15.
It wasn’t immediately known how many other schools have agreements with the DND on state security forces’ operations on campuses but the department has a deal with Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) named after two of its signatories—the late PUP president and human rights fighter Nemesio Prudente and Fidel V. Ramos, who was then defense chief of the late President Corazon Aquino and would later become President.
The DND’s unilateral termination of the 1989 agreement with UP came to light on Monday night (Jan. 18), after the university posted a copy of Lorenzana’s letter on the subject to UP president Danilo Concepcion.
In his letter to Concepcion, Lorenzana said the agreement had been a hindrance to operations against communist rebels, especially recruitment of cadres in UP.
Lorenzana said he believed that the DND could unilaterally end the agreement without prior consultation with UP officials.
“We have determined that it doesn’t serve the interest of the students,” he said.