‘I’m not anti-UP,’ says ‘Bato’ as he abstains from UP-DND deal reso vote
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has abstained from voting on a chamber resolution urging the Department of National Defense (DND) and the University of the Philippines (UP) to revisit their 1989 agreement, even as he registered his support to the unilateral repeal of the decades-old pact.
In explaining his decision to abstain on Tuesday, Dela Rosa said the abrogation of the UP-DND accord was a move “intended to protect the youth from the snares of communism and its empty promises.”
Under the deal, which DND unilaterally scrapped last week, the conduct of military and police operations inside UP campuses are only allowed upon prior notification to university authorities.
“Ang kapulisan at ang militar ay iisa sa layunin na protektahan ang ating kabataan, hindi kailanman ninanais ng kapulisan at militar na maghasik ng kaguluhan at takot sa loob ng paaralan,” Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa, a former national police chief, believes that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), “took undue advantage of the 1989 agreement.”
“With this protective mantle, this leftist group randomly recruited young and brilliant students from this premier university to be members of their organization and serve as its juvenile frontliners in fighting the government,” he said.
The senator, however, stressed that his abstention to Senate Resolution No. 616, which was mainly authored by Senator Pangilinan, does not equate to him being “anti-UP.”
Aside from a call for DND and UP to revisit the agreement, the resolution also expressed the “sense of the Senate” to welcome the decision of the DND to “answer various calls for dialogue with UP.”
“I am not anti-UP. I am anti-CPP-NPA-NDF. I respect UP as a breeding ground for the best and brightest mind that this country has produced,” Dela Rosa continued.
“My vote and this manifestation are a testament of my lifelong battle against the ideologies of the CPP-NPA,” he added.
The senator further conveyed his admiration to UP as he enumerated its prominent alumni, including late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and several other former Philippine presidents.
“’Wag na po tayong lumayo, dito sa Senado, karamihan sa ating mga magagaling na kasamahan ay galing sa UP,” he added.
(Let’s not go far, here in the Senate, most of our colleagues graduated from UP.)
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