UP Diliman University Council asks Lorenzana to restore UP-DND accord
MANILA, Philippines — The University of the Philippines-Diliman University Council has asked Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to immediately restore the abrogated accord that prohibits any military and police presence inside UP campuses without prior notice.
The University Council said the termination of the agreement between UP and the Department of National Defense (DND) “poses a significant threat to academic freedom, a constitutionally protected right enshrined in the UP Charter.”
“We therefore call on Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, as a sign of good faith, to immediately restore the UP-DND Agreement,” the University Council said in a statement dated February 11, Thursday.
The University Council said academic freedom allows UP faculty, students, and staff to discuss, debate, and challenge ideas without fear of being silenced or punished.
“It enables an intellectually vibrant environment where members of our community are exposed to a wide range of philosophical, political, or even religious perspectives,” the University Council said.
“Without academic freedom, we will be unable to fulfill our mission and we will be incapable of upholding our values of academic excellence and honor,” it added.
The University Council likewise slammed the government’s red-tagging of members of the UP community.
“It is dangerous, and it has led to and will enable further intimidation and violence,” the University Council said.
“We urge the Department of National Defense to ensure that its elements, especially members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, cease from red-tagging members of the UP community and take concrete steps to hold accountable those who have red-tagged members of the community,” it added.
In a letter to UP President Danilo Concepcion dated Jan. 15, Lorenzana said the agreement had been a hindrance to operations against communist rebels, especially recruitment of cadres in UP.
Lorenzana said the DND “is aware that there is indeed an ongoing clandestine recruitment inside UP campuses nationwide” by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA). Both have been declared as terrorist organizations by the Anti-Terrorism Council created by the new anti-terror law.
In response, Concepcion said the unilateral termination of the pact was totally unnecessary, adding that it may worsen, rather than improve, relations between the institutions.
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