Ateneo, La Salle, UST, FEU slam allegations of ‘recruitment havens’ for communist rebels
MANILA, Philippines — The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), De La Salle University (DLSU), University of Santo Tomas (UST) and Far Eastern University (FEU) on Sunday denounced the allegations of a top military official where he said that universities serve as “recruitment havens” for members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
In a joint statement, the universities objected to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command chief and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesman Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.’s statement, and emphasized that their universities “neither promote nor condone recruitment activities of the NPA and, indeed, of any movement that aims to violently overthrow the government.”
The statement was signed by FEU president Dr. Michael Alba, UST vice rector Fr. Isaias Tiongco, O.P., DLSU president Br. Raymundo Suplido, FSC and ADMU president Fr. Roberto Yap, SJ.
In an interview over DZBB on Saturday, Parlade accused 18 universities and colleges, those mostly in Metro Manila, of serving as recruitment hubs for communist rebels.
Such universities, according to Parlade, are ADMU, DLSU, UST, FEU, University of the Philippines (UP), Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), University of Makati, among others.
The four universities, meanwhile, said that the allegations against them are “‘really getting old—a rehash of the public accusation the general made in 2018—irresponsibly since cast without proof.”
In 2018, Parlade similarly warned that communist rebels were being recruited in 18 top universities and colleges to join an ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte so that they could establish a dictatorship similar to the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia that killed millions of its own people.
The universities asserted that as Philippine schools, they value the Filipinos’ basic Constitutional rights of speech, thought, assembly and organization.
“As universities with high aspirations for our country, we seek to direct our students to engage in acts that contribute to the strengthening of social cohesion, defend the country’s democratic institutions, and promote nation-building,” the universities said.
“And as institutions of higher learning that are stewards of the youth, repositories and producers of knowledge, and builders of communities, we must retain independence and autonomy from the State and other social institutions,” they added.