Navy, Army, Air Force back end of deal with UP barring uncoordinated entry on campuses
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine military’s three major service branches threw their support to the Department of National Defense’s (DND) unilateral termination of its 1989 agreement with University of the Philippines (UP) barring the entry of state security forces on UP campuses without coordination.
The Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, and Philippine Navy each issued statements backing the DND on Thursday (Jan. 21). The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) leadership released a separate statement on Wednesday (Jan. 20).
The three major services reiterated that terminating the pact with UP has no impact on academic freedom and meant only to protect the youth from communist rebel recruitment.
The DND earlier said communist rebels have “surreptitiously embedded themselves inside UP and are recruiting university students into their illegal organizations under cover of this agreement.”
The agreement was meant to prevent government security forces from targeting student and teacher activists for their political beliefs.
But Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier questioned why only UP enjoys such a treatment.
“Only UP has this kind of agreement. Why? What makes UP so special to have this kind of treatment?” he said.
The Army said it wanted to end the NPA’s armed revolution which acquires its fighters among students.
The DND decision was made in good faith and was rooted in concern for the safety of the youth, the Navy said.
The Air Force said the termination of the deal would remove the “ungodly tentacles” of communist rebels in UP.
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