Scrapping the UP-DND accord

Scrapping the UP-DND accord

LATEST UPDATE: February 12, 2021 - 4:24pm
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February 12, 2021

The Department of National Defense says the appeal of UP Diliman's University Student Council to restore the abrogated 1989 DND-UP accord is untimely.

Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong points out that discussions between the DND and the UP on the cancellation of the pact have already started.

"Both parties have agreed to sit down again to further express their positions on the issue, and possibly come up with an acceptable deal that would balance legal considerations and moral obligations," Andolong says.

February 8, 2021

A technical working group will be formed to study a 1992 security agreement between the University of the Philippines and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, DILG spokesperson Jonathan Malaya says.

The agreement prohibits the police to operate on campus grounds without prior notice.

"At first I thought the men who made up the UP police were actually policemen. If these are security guards or security teams, they should be called such and regulated by the PNP. UP police force is not currently regulated by the PNP," Malaya tells ANC's "Headstart."

January 27, 2021

The police and military should not be in a panel that the Commission on Higher Education says will be tasked with defining academic freedom, Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan says.

The panel will be convened amid backlash against the security sector insistence on entering UP freely to conduct operations against supposed communist rebels.

"Might we ask [CHED Chair Prospero] De Vera, what qualifies the generals of the AFP and PNP as ‘education experts’ that justifies them having a role, a determining role at that, in defining academic freedom?” John Lazaro, SPARK national spokesperson, says in a statement.

“To add, why should they be included in a discussion about academic freedom, while the real stakeholders, the students, professors, and school employees are left out of the discussion?”

January 26, 2021

The Quezon City government supports academic freedom in the University of the Philippines and in other colleges and universities in the city, Mayor Joy Belmonte says in a press statement.

"I was a lecturer at the UP before, and I know how important academic freedom is in an educational institution.  True learning will only happen in an environment where there is a free discourse of ideas by all members of the community," she says.

Quezon City is home to UP Diliman as well as to Ateneo de Manila University, both of which have been accused of being recruitment grounds for communist rebels. The two universities — as well as Far Eastern University, University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University — have rejected the allegations.

"In Quezon City, academic freedom will always be protected and upheld," Belmonte also says.


Disclosure: Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is a shareholder of Philstar Global Corp., which operates digital news outlet Philstar.com. This article was produced following editorial guidelines.

January 24, 2021

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana stands by his decision to abrogate the DND's agreement with the University of the Philippines.

"We stand by our choice to protect our youth and encourage our fellow Filipinos to help us finally end this 50-year war," Lorenzana says.

January 21, 2021

Statement of UP Open University on the Unilateral Abrogation of the UP-DND Accord

The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) strongly supports the call of UP President Danilo L. Concepcion to uphold the UP-DND accord and expresses indignation and grave concern on the unilateral abrogation of the agreement. 

We believe that this accord safeguards the constitutionally guaranteed academic freedom of the university and provides a safe space for its constituents to freely express their thoughts, ideologies and advocacies in various formats and platforms. The baseless accusations and unwarranted red-tagging of UP students, its faculty, and staff are not enough basis for the agreement to be terminated. 

We are one with the entire UP community in defending our academic freedom and our right for free and safe haven to openly express our ideas. This unilateral decision of the Department of National Defense to terminate the agreement poses a grave threat, especially in this time where opinions and ideas are expressed in cyberspace. This move will sow fear, silence criticism, curtail critical thinking,  and make our university vulnerable to all sorts of human rights violations and abuse both in the physical space and virtual space.   

We are taking this opportunity to call on the UPOU constituents and the entire UP community to be vigilant, unwavering, and steadfast in defending our freedom of speech, freedom to express dissent, and our academic freedom that is deeply ingrained in our history as a university.

January 20, 2021

Former UP president Jose Abueva expresses dismay about the Department of National Defense's unilateral abrogation of its accord with the premier state university.

Abueva recalls that he and then Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos had an understanding when they forged the 1989 agreement protecting the university from military operations.

"There was a deep, mutual understanding of the need to uphold this agreement and do everything for the good of UP and the rights of its students, faculty and staff. This understanding was rooted in mutual trust, and mutual respect," Abueva says.

January 20, 2021

Sens. Joel Villanueva, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay and Grace Poe file a Senate bill institutionalizing the UP-DND Accord under Republic Act 9500 or the University of the Philippines Charter of 2008.

The senators say the proposed measure prevents unwarranted intrusion of security forces into all UP campuses in the country.

"We believe that DND should not break the agreement with UP. Our role as a legislator is to ensure that the spirit of the 1989 Accords is protected and set-in stone to ensure that our students are protected from unreasonable state intrusion," the senators say in their explanatory note.

January 20, 2021

Lawmakers led by Rep. Edcel Lagman seek a House probe into the DND’s unilateral termination of its agreement with UP barring the entry of state forces from its campuses without coordination.

Students of the Polytechnic University worry that a similar accord covering the university will be next. A protest is scheduled Wednesday morning.

January 19, 2021

UP Cebu urges the national government, including the Department of National Defense, to rethink an revoke the cancelation of its accord with the premier state university.

Citing previous threats received by Assistant Professor Regletto Aldrich Imbong who is also president of UP Cebu All UP Academic Employees Union, the campus' administration condenms all forms of baseless accusations and red-tagging among its constituents, faculty and students.

"The 1989 UP-DND Accord provides a safeguard for our constituents from such abuse of authority, and for promoting our rule of law. Thus, with the rest of the UP community, we in UP Cebu will staunchly defend our basic rights and will stand our ground," UP Cebu Chancellor Liza Corro says in a statement.

January 19, 2021

Right-wing Duterte Youth party-list backs the termination of the UP-DND accord and even goes as far as calling on the DND to terminate a similar pact with the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

"Itong UP-DND Accord and PUP-DND Accord ay klarong klaro na special treatment na inabuso na, sa tagal ng panahon," Rep. Ducielle Cardema says. — report from Xave Gregorio

January 19, 2021

Citing Article XIV, Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution, the Commission on Human Rights points out that all higher institutions in the Philippines have academic freedom.

The University of the Philippines-Department of National Defense Accord provides protection to students from the presence and suppression of the police and military during protests on national issues within campus, the commission says.

"CHR insists that the safety and academic freedom of members of the UP community must be defended and protected based on the human rights principles promoted by the UP-DND Accord," CHR says in a statement.

January 19, 2021

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana "is hyping up the communist bogey to justify the abrogation of the accord and mount an attack to impose the military's power on UP, as well as other universities and academic institutions," the Communist Party of the Philippines said as it denounced the termination of the DND-UP agreement.

"The UP-DND accord has served as a shield for university students and other sectors who wanted to express their opposition to the Anti-Terror Law, manifest their outrage over the relentless campaign of killings and campaign of suppression of the AFP and PNP, and denounce the regime's corruption, militarist and failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic." it also says.

"Defending to preserve the UP-DND accord is a fight not only of the UP community, but all the democratic sectors who oppose the tyrant's fascist rule. In the same way, the UP community must unite with the rest of the Filipino people by standing alongside the workers, peasants and other disenfranchised sectors in their fight to advance their rights and well-being amid the pandemic and economic crisis."

In 2018, the military floated the supposed "Red October" plot against the Duterte administration and said universities like UP were being used for the recruitment of communist rebels.

Eighteen universities and colleges were red-tagged by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, including the University of the Philippines in Diliman and Manila, University of Santo Tomas, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University.

The supposed plot did not materialize and the military's allegations were met with protests.

January 19, 2021

"Sa UP mayroon silang ala-Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Military can’t enter without coordination," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says on Twitter. 

"What makes UP so special? Nasa Korean border ba kayo? CLOY is life na ba? We are not your enemies. We are here to protect our people, especially our youth."

January 19, 2021

In a letter to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, UP president Danilo Concepcion expresses "grave concern" at the decision to scrap the agreement requiring the police and military to coordinate operations on campuses with the university administration.

Concepcion says the move "is totally unnecessary and unwarranted, and may result in worsening rather than improving relations between our institutions, and detract from our common desire for peace, justice, and freedom in our society."

He says the agreement, signed in 1989, was done in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

"With few exceptions, protocols were observed and any problems or misunderstandings were amicably and reasonably resolved. The agreement never stood in the way of police and security forces conducting lawful operations within our campuses. Entry was always given when necessary to law enforcers within their mandate."

Read the full statement here.

January 19, 2021

The government's decision to scrap the DND-UP Accord is a cause for concern, UP Vice President for External Affairs Elena Pernia says on ANC's "Headstart".

"When that agreement was made some 30 years ago, there was a lot of trust in each other. Ngayon, it's unilateral. It has caused misunderstanding, mistrust," she says.

She says UP president Danilo Concepcion has already sent a letter to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in response to the department's decision and to raise the university's concerns.  

"We value academic freedom. We want our students to be free to think, to study. It is in this environment that we can develop leaders that help with the nation's development," she also says.

The Department of National Defense has told the University of the Philippines that is is terminating an agreement that requires the police and military to coordinate with the university administration on entering or holding operations in UP campuses.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the department "is aware that there is indeed an ongoing clandestine recruitment" inside UP campuses and the accord is being used to prevent government from holding operations.

The move has been criticized widely on social media, with many saying it endangers the academic freedom and activism that UP is known for. UP campuses have also been venues for protests on national and social issues. 

Photo: The UP Oblation symbolizes excellence, sacrifice and service for the common good. The STAR, file

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