‘Ooops’ again: AFP unit to remove ‘UP professor’ tag on backer of end in UP-DND pact
MANILA, Philippines—The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Civil Relations Service (CRS) on Tuesday (Jan. 26) said it would remove the ‘UP professor’ tag it placed on the source of a quote that it posted on social media supporting the termination of a deal between the Department of National Defense (DND) and University of the Philippines (UP) but offered no apology.
In a statement, Maj. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr., CRS commander, said his unit had “no intention to disrespect and mislead the public in providing information.”
The CRS earlier posted a social media card quoting a certain Michael Eric Castillo as saying in Filipino: “How can it be said that majority is opposed to the abrogation of the UP-DND accord? You try to do a survey. It’s not true that majority of UP alumni is fighting the government.”
The CRS described Castillo as a “UP professor.”
The quote was lifted from an interview with Castillo in a military radio program Up, Up Pilipinas on Jan. 22.
The UP National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) later called out the CRS for its post and asked the AFP unit to take it down, saying that Castillo was no longer a UP faculty member and he served only as a part-time senior lecturer at UP Diliman from 2013 to 2017.
“The use of the title ‘UP Professor’ to refer him is inaccurate and misleading,” NCPAG said.
The university also complained against the CRS’ use of the UP logo in its social card. “This is not an official UP post, and the use of official UP symbols is inappropriate and improper,” NCPAG said.
Torres said the use of the logo “was of good intention.” He said the logo was “retrieved from open source” which meant it was not protected by copyright. Torres’ statement said the CRS would repost the quotation without the UP logo and description of Castillo as a UP professor.
Still, Torres said “regardless of the position and tenure of Mr. Castillo in UP, he has been a part of the community and his voice must be heard as well.”
The boo-boo came after the AFP deputy chief of staff for civil military operations (J7) drew flak for posting on social media an erroneous list of UP alumni who had supposedly joined New People’s Army to prove earlier statements made by top military and defense officials that UP was a breeding ground for communist rebels.
The erroneous list further heightened tension over the DND’s decision to unilaterally terminate an agreement with UP that barred entry of soldiers and policemen in UP campuses without coordination with university officials.
The agreement, signed in 1989, was designed to prevent police or military from targeting student or teacher activists for their political beliefs.
The J7 commander, Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, has apologized for the gaffe and said an investigation was ongoing.
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