Kabataan condemns rape of UP student, but says PNP intervention not a solution
MANILA, Philippines — While they condemn the alleged rape of a University of the Philippines – Diliman student, the Kabataan party-list has maintained that police intervention is not the correct solution to the problem.
In a statement on Thursday, Kabataan said that instead of deploying Philippine National Police (PNP) officers to the university, the government should pump more funds to safety measures like salaries of security personnel — in this case, the UP Diliman Police (UPDP).
“Kabataan party-list condemns the violent sexual assault suffered by a student inside the UP Diliman campus last July 1, 2023. We emphasize that the incident is completely avoidable should the UP Diliman Police and other campus security personnel have been well-funded in the past years,” Kabataan said.
“While PNP intervention is no guarantee to women’s safety given the institution’s track record of abuse, legitimizing their presence in campus is short of full-blown campus militarization inimical to quality higher education,” it added.
Last Tuesday, it was reported that a female UP student was raped by a still unidentified man inside the Diliman campus. The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) said the victim was approached by a man armed with a bladed weapon, and then raped her at a vacant lot near a baseball field along Ylanan Street last Saturday evening.
This led Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Prospero de Vera III to ask UP to reexamine its security regulations, opening the possibility of operational engagement with PNP.
“This despicable criminal act is a wake-up call for [UP] to review and rationalize its security and safety policies, including its operational engagement with the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies in order to make the UP Community safe and secure,” he said.
But Kabataan alleged that the PNP and state forces have attacked the UP community in the past — making their presence supposedly more problematic.
It could be remembered that last January 2021, the past administration was heavily criticized for unilaterally abrogating the UP-Department of National Defense Accord, which required state forces to inform the UP administration before conducting counterinsurgency operations within the campus.
“Moreover, police deployment is not a solution to campus security when military and uniformed personnel have baselessly attacked UP community members in the past years, especially after the abrogation of the UP-DND accord,” Kabataan claimed.
Kabataan proposes that Congress allocate a bigger budget to the UP system so it can ensure the safety of its students. The group cited a November 2022 Philippine Collegian article which revealed that the UPDP only has 19 members at present, who also had to deal with small and delayed wages.
“CHED Chair De Vera, as a former UPD Professor, should have understood that Academic freedom, gender rights and campus security go hand-in-hand. The PNP does not command any credibility in protecting such rights and principles,” Kabataan said.
“Instead, Kabataan calls on Congress to ensure greater budget for UP and other State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) so it can reinforce campus security personnel. Greater budget will also enable our SUCs to develop and implement reforms and action plans for students’ rights, welfare and security,” it added.