Bills seeking similar ‘UP-DND accord’ for all schools pushed in House
MANILA, Philippines — Two bills — one seeking to institutionalize the recently terminated University of the Philippines – Department of National Defense accord, and another, pushing to essentially make its provisions applicable in all academic institutions in the country — have been filed in the House of Representatives.
Under the “Academic Freedom Act of 2021” filed Wednesday by the House’s Makabayan bloc, several acts of state armed forces — including the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines) and other law enforcement agencies — are prohibited in all academic institutions in the country in a move to uphold the rights and interests of its constituents.
Similar to the UP-DND Accord, the bill prohibits the state armed forces’ arbitrary entry or service of search and arrest warrants without prior notice to the President, Dean, Director or Principal, and to the Student Regent and Student Council, or their respective officers-in-charge in the event of their absence.
The same requirement of notification shall be required in the service of any oral or written “invitation” for questioning and similar purposes.
In case of prior notification on the service of search and arrest warrants, the party serving the warrant shall closely coordinate with the members of the security of the academic institution, who will accompany and assist them in the service of the warrants, according to the bill.
“No service shall be done without the presence of two officials from the academic institution who shall be designated by the President, Dean, Director, Principal, or their respective officers-in-charge, as the case may be, and one representative from the students who shall be designated by the Office of the Student Regent, University Student Council or student government,” the bill states.
Further, the bill also prohibits the state armed forces’ interference with peaceful protest actions inside the premises of academic institutions.
Other prohibited acts are as follows:
* Torture or any kind of violence to be committed on any constituent of the academic institution;
* Conducting of fora and all other activities that vilify and red- and terror-tag students, youth organizations, faculty, staff and all other individuals or groups;
* Entry and/or establishment of institutionalized or discreet student intelligence networks and their recruitment, and all other forms of human and digital intelligence and surveillance on students, faculty, and staff without court order
Moreover, the bill states that the arrest or detention of any constituent of an academic institution should be immediately reported in writing by the arresting or detention officer to the appropriate school officials.
Institutionalization of UP-DND
The Makabayan bloc also filed a separate bill which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 9500 or the University of the Philippines Charter of 2008.
The bill prohibits the entry of the PNP, the AFP, or any other law enforcement personnel in all UP campuses except in cases of hot pursuit and similar occasions of emergency.
This, in turn, institutionalizes the UP-DND Accord which was recently unilaterally abrogated by the DND.
Appropriate UP officials, however, can request for necessary assistance in law enforcement within the campus premises by informing in writing to the head of the AFP, PNP, or other law enforcement agency unit in the area.
“In case the request for assistance is granted, only uniformed members of the PNP, AFP, and other law enforcement agencies in proper uniform and with proper identification shall be allowed entry into the campus or regional unit concerned, except where the assistance requested specifies otherwise,” the bill states.
Further, the bill states that prior notification shall be given by the PNP, the Armed AFP, or any other law enforcement agency intending to conduct any police, military, or law enforcement operations in any UP campus in the country.
Appropriate UP officials shall also be notified first before the service of search and arrest warrants within the territorial jurisdiction of any UP campus.
The arrest or detention of any UP student, faculty, or personnel anywhere in the Philippines shall also be reported immediately by the responsible head of the PNP, AFP, or other law enforcement agency unit effecting the arrest or detention to the appropriate UP officials.
State armed forces are likewise prohibited from interfering in peaceful protest actions within UP premises, the bill states.
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