Party-list slams abrogation of PUP-DND accord banning military inside campus
MANILA, Philippines — An accord between the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and the Department of National Defense (DND) has been nullified without public notice, a move that the Kabataan party-list, a progressive youth group, has strongly condemned.
The Sentral ng Konseho ng Mag-aaral (SKM) of PUP’s student council confirmed the termination of the accord on Tuesday night. A letter from PUP’s legal counsel revealed that the accords were dissolved early in 2022, during former President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.
“Kabataan party-list condemns the unilateral abrogation of the PUP-DND Accord by then DND Chief Delfin Lorenzana under the Duterte administration. This accord is the last known existing operating policy to expressly bar military presence in universities pending approval from school administrators,” said the group in a statement.
The KPL has reported that the PUP-DND accord was terminated shortly after the University of the Philippines’ accord ended. The decision was met with protests from PUP students.
“Like a thief in the night, the past Duterte administration abrogated the accord without any intention of consulting or, worse, of even informing the PUP community of their decision and its consequences,” said the KPL.
Similar to the UP accord, the PUP-DND accord mandated that before entering the university grounds, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) must have the school administration’s consent.
According to the SKM, the accord had allowed the PUP to be a sanctuary of the academe.
“Mula sa kasaysayan ng pamantasan sa mga elemento ng estado, pinatunayan nito ang kapahamakan na dulot ng AFP-PNP sa buong komunidad. Sa mahabang panahon, naging kalasag natin ang accord upang panatilihing sangktwaryo ng kapayapaan at karunungan ang unibersidad,” said the SKM in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
(From the university’s history with state elements, it shows the dangers caused by the AFP-PNP to the whole community. For a long time, the accord was a shield to maintain a sanctuary of peace and knowledge in the university.)
KPL echoed the student government’s statements, saying that the accord was fought for and one by past generations of students.
“The abrogation of the two academic freedom accords long fought for and won by a generation of students is a betrayal of the memory of countless victims of human rights violations who merely expressed free ideas inside their university,” said KPL.
The KPL also criticized President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for keeping the abrogation under wraps.
“Iskolar ng bayan along with the Filipino youth continue to demand accountability and action from the Marcos Jr. administration to reinstate both the PUP and UP-DND accords. Academic freedom is non-negotiable. We will continue to lobby for more secure protections for academic freedom for all higher education institutions nationwide,” said the KPL.