Duterte Youth amid call to cancel PUP-DND accord: Academic freedom has nothing to do with it
MANILA, Philippines — Academic freedom has nothing to do with it.
Duterte Youth Rep. Ducielle Cardema had this to say Wednesday in response to calls from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) Student Regent and the university’s student council president for the need for academic freedom and to protect their school.
To recall, Cardema earlier called for the cancellation of the agreement between the Department of National Defense (DND) and PUP, which prohibits military and police presence inside its campuses without prior notice.
“Academic Freedom does not include freedom to commit sedition by calling on the people to rebel against the government,” Cardema, who said that her office received the position paper from the PUP Student Regent & PUP Student Council President reiterating the need for academic freedom, said in a statement.
“Walang kaugnayan ang Academic Freedom dyan. Sa lampas 400 campuses ng karamihan ng mga SUCs sa bansa, wala namang accord at special treatment pero peaceful naman sila at may academic freedom sila,” Cardema added.
(It has nothing to do with academic freedom. There is no accord and special treatment in over 400 campuses of most SUCs in the country, but they still have academic freedom.)
Cardema added: “Ibabalik ko ang tanong sa inyo, paano niyo pinoprotektahan ang school ninyo pag nagsusunog na ng mga school equipment ang iilang leftists dyan habang di naman makapasok agad ang gobyerno dahil sa accord na yan?”
(I will ask you this question, how will you protect your school if some leftists in your institution burn your school equipment and the government cannot enter the premises because of that accord?)
The lawmaker made the call to scrap the PUP-DND accord after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana terminated a similar agreement with the University of the Philippines, saying the pact had hindered operations against communist rebels, especially the recruitment of cadres in UP.
However, contrary to Cardema’s support of UP-DND accord’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 with 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.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez said that DND’s decision might 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.
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