Board of Regents deny resolution insisting on UP-DND accord, Student Regent says
MANILA, Philippines — The University of the Philippines (UP) Board of Regents has denied a resolution that calls on the board to continue upholding the terminated UP-Department of National Defense (DND) accord, the Office of the Student Regent said.
In a Facebook post on Thursday night, UP’s Office of the Student Regent said that the Board of Regents instead would be referring the resolution to a technical working group while supporting UP President Danilo Concepcion’s call for dialogue and an end to alleged red-tagging.
On Wednesday, the UP Office of the Student Regent uploaded a copy of a resolution jointly authored by their office, the UP Faculty Regent, and the UP Staff Regent calling on the Board of Regents to disallow actions that would impede academic freedom while protecting human rights and upholding the UP-DND accord.
“Despite the wide clamor of the UP community and the support of our chancellors, the BOR did not adopt the resolution authored by the sectoral regents,” the UP Student Regent said.
“Instead, the BOR will release a statement 1) referring the resolution to a technical working group, 2) supporting President Concepcion’s efforts to engage in dialogue, and 3) affirming the UP President’s statements on the matters of UP-DND Accord and red-tagging,” it added.
Despite the wide clamor of the UP community and the support of our chancellors, the BOR did not adopt the resolution…
Despite the decision, the UP Student Regent acknowledged that the Board is keen to ensure academic freedom.
Talks about academic freedom and possible threats to dissent came up after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana terminated the UP-DND agreement, which disallows unauthorized police and military presence within UP campuses.
Lorenzana said that the move is based on recent events showing UP students allegedly recruited into the communist movement, Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
However, the Defense chief drew criticism as past and current UP students insisted that no recruitment happened during their time, noting that the accord has provided a safeguard for students and faculty.
“The members of the Board have made known that they stand with the principle of academic freedom. The challenge now is to translate this unity into decisive action. In representing the interests of its constituents, the Board must protect the safety and sanctity of the university, and the rights and freedoms of the members of its community,” the UP Student Regent said.
“It is up to us to continue the campaign on the ground to fight in defense of academic freedom. We must resound our calls to uphold the UP-DND Accord and resist attempts to intimidate and threaten members of our community. Let us ensure that proactive action is being taken to protect the community and hold erring officials accountable,” it added.
Recently, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Chairperson and UP Board of Regents chair Prospero de Vera offered to link university officials and the government’s security cluster to discuss the abrogated agreement.
According to De Vera, the “problematic” agreement was doomed to be contested because it contained vague provisions that should be addressed.
“As a faculty member of UP for close to four decades, as Vice President for 5 years and Chairman of the Board of Regents for 4 years, I assert that the implementation of the DND-UP Accord was destined to be problematic,” he said in a statement last January 22.
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