Makabayan bloc: Uphold 1989 UP-DND Accord
MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc asked members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday to express support for the upholding of the agreement between the Department of National Defense (DND) and the University of the Philippines (UP) prohibiting any military and police presence inside its campuses without prior notice.
The bloc made its call by filing a resolution “expressing the sense of the House of Representatives to uphold the University of the Philippines-Department of National Defense (UP-DND) Accord and the academic freedom of all educational institutions.”
The Makabayan lawmakers said the UP-DND Accord is “far from being moot and academic,” citing several incidents in recent years where the agreement was breached.
One of the incidents cited by the bloc was the June 2020 incident where several students protesting the Anti-Terrorism Act inside the UP Cebu campus were arrested for allegedly violating the government’s ban on mass gatherings.
“The mentioned incidents are only snippets of the current condition that the youth, students, and Filipino people face in this climate of red-tagging, fear-mongering, intimidation, and other forms of harassment,” the Makabayan lawmakers said.
The Makabayan bloc of lawmakers is composed of Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago; ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro; Bayan Muna Partylist Reps. Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eudfemia Cullamat; and Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas.
According to the lawmakers, the UP-DND Accord cannot be unilaterally abrogated by either party as provided by law.
“One-sidedly and arbitrarily terminating the accord which is being enforced for more than 30 years already and which the parties have generally respected through the years is an affront to civilian institutions and alarming as it could lead again to extensive campus militarization and brazen attacks on human rights,” the lawmakers said.
“The unilateral abrogation of the 1989 UP-DND Accord and the looming militarization of campuses nationwide undermine academic freedom, and threaten the right to life, liberty, and security and freedoms of speech, of expression, and of peaceful assembly,” they added.
Earlier, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman filed a resolution urging the House committee on human rights to “immediately conduct” an inquiry into the abrogation of the UP-DND Accord.
In his resolution, Lagman argued that DND’s unilateral termination of the agreement without prior consultation with and conformity of UP is “illegal and void ab initio because the subject Agreement was entered into bilaterally and mutually.”
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 campuses.
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.