Student alliance condemns purging of state universities of ‘subversive’ materials | Inquirer News

Student alliance condemns purging of state universities of ‘subversive’ materials

By: - Reporter / @zacariansINQ
/ 04:27 AM November 04, 2021

These books and reference materials related to the communist insurgency were removed from the library of the main campus of the Isabela State University in Echague town. (File photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — The National Union of Students of the Philippines condemned on Wednesday the purging of state universities of books deemed “subversive” by the government’s anti-insurgency task force.

“Purging libraries of critical materials is a direct act of crippling and suppressing academic freedom, and state-mandated policies similar to this push school administrators to shirk their duties and responsibilities to their constituents,” the NUSP said in a statement.


“It effectively exacerbates our already anti-democratic education where students with critical political values are at risk of being vilified, red-tagged, and, worst, physically harmed by state agents,” it added.


The NUSP called on all other students and school leaders to campaign against “anti-democratic education.”

University administrators, it pointed out, are mandated to be protectors of academic freedom and freedom of thought as it is “their task to foster critical-mindedness.”

“Therefore its student and faculty body should outright condemn any acts of book purging inside their institutions — coerced or not as these are direct threats to the academic freedom of students at a time where national issues like peace talks and the ongoing civil war are not given the proper exposure it needs on the current education system,” it said.

The alliance also condemned the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHEd) and demanded it to be more “proactive” in standing with students and their stakeholders “and to not blindly follow and act as puppet and stamp pad of President Rodrigo Duterte and his state forces like NTF-ELCAc, AFP, and PNP.”

On Tuesday, the CHEd chair Prospero De Vera III released a statement calling higher education institutions to respect other universities purging the said “subversive” materials from their institutions, even claiming that they were also exercising academic freedom.

READ: ‘Respect’ removal of ‘subversive’ materials – CHEd to higher education institutions


However, an organization of progressive teachers and education workers — the Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND) — quickly denounced De Vera’s statement, correcting him that academic freedom is based on the free and fair exchange of ideas, not on censorship.

“The purging of books from public libraries is one of the severest forms of censorship, and De Vera’s statement effectively sanctions it. CHED and De Vera must stop misrepresenting academic freedom,” CONTEND said.

The teachers’ alliance then called on members of the education sector to hold CHED and other educational institutions responsible for enabling censorship and academic repression.

“Our schools and libraries are sanctuaries for academic freedom, and we will defend them from any attacks!” the alliance said.

As of this writing, three state universities have already taken out allegedly subversive literature from their libraries. These are Kalinga State University, Isabela State University, and Aklan State University.

They turned the materials to the regional offices of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.


Purge of ‘subversive’ PH books draws images of Nazi book-burning orgies

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Internet archive of ‘subversive’ publications launched

TAGS: Academic Freedom, book purging, Ched

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