Belmonte to UP Diliman: QC will protect academic freedom
MANILA, Philippines — Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has assured students and officials of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus that the city government supports and will protect academic freedom amid recent events.
In a statement on Tuesday, Belmonte said she knows — being a former lecturer at UP — how important academic freedom is in ensuring that educational institutions bring the best out of their students.
“I was a lecturer at the UP before, and I know how important academic freedom is in an educational institution. True learning will only happen in an environment where there is a free discourse of ideas by all members of the community,” Belmonte said.
“In Quezon City, academic freedom will always be protected and upheld,” she stressed.
Belmonte’s statement comes a week after the Department of National Defense abrogated its agreement with UP, which bars military and police presence in UP campuses without prior notification of the university’s administration.
The Quezon City People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) meanwhile warned that any abusive conduct of policemen that may be committed inside the UP Campus will be dealt with accordingly.
“We pledge that disciplinary action awaits possible abusive conduct by policemen inside the UP Diliman campus,” PLEB Executive Officer and lawyer Rafael Calinisan, a UP alumnus himself, said.
“Please be reminded that we all live in a democracy where basic freedoms, including academic freedom, must be upheld,” he added.
After termination of the UP-DND accord — which Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said was because of rampant recruitment of UP students to the communist movement — UP witnessed a word war between its ardent supporters and allies of the administration.
Several organizations within UP were tagged as sympathizers of communist groups, which the organizations denied. Then over the weekend, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) apologized for the uploading of misleading information, as some ordinary citizens and public figures were tagged as former UP students who turned into New People’s Army (NPA) members.
Earlier, members of the pro-administration party-list Duterte Youth tried to enter the UP Diliman campus to stage a protest. They were however blocked by a counter-protest staged by students and school officials including UP Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo.
On Tuesday night, at least 34 UP professors emeriti denounced the unilateral abrogation of the UP-DND accord.
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