UP teachers hit linking of militant students to armed rebels
ILOILO CITY – Thirty-six faculty members, including a college dean of the University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV), have denounced the linking of militant student organizations in the university to armed rebel groups.
In a joint statement, the faculty members of the UPV College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) in Iloilo deplored alleged statements of military personnel associated with the National Service Training Program (NSTP) and Reserve Officers Training Course (ROTC) who allegedly labeled the League of Filipino Students (LFS), Anakbayan and Sandigan Para Sa Mag-aaral at Sambayanan (Samasa) as “armed rebels” and threats to “national security.”
They cited an NSTP lecture on June 25 at the UPV’s Iloilo City campus where a certain Private First Class Mendoza allegedly accused the organizations as linked to armed rebels.
The NSTP is a requirement for all college students who have the option to enroll among three programs including the ROTC, Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS) and Literacy Training Service (LTS).
“Under the prevailing climate of impunity where those suspected as subversives are killed, accusations such as this by the ROTC and the military are not only irresponsible but perilous,” the faculty members said.
They said the accusations endangered not only the students but also teachers who served as advisers of these organizations.
Those who signed the statement included CAS Dean Rommel Espinosa and the heads of the college’s divisions of social sciences, humanities, physical sciences and mathematics and the department of chemistry.
Major John Andrada, public information officer of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, denied that they accused the student organizations as rebel groups.
Andrada, who said he was present during the NSTP assembly, said they merely showed a video clip allegedly of a former LFS member who became a New People’s Army rebel before surrendering to the government.
He said several former leaders and members of these militant student organizations eventually became rebels.
“There is no question of the legality of these organizations and we are not stopping students from joining them if they believe in the groups’ principles. We are merely telling them to be wary because they might be taken advantage of and recruited in underground rebel organizations,” Andrada told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a telephone interview.
But Raiza Khey Llorico, councilor of the UPV CAS student council, said in a separate statement that the “attacks stifle the democratic space in the campus.”
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