“As president of the University of the Philippines, I, once again, express deep regret over the hurt caused by my appearance at the KB reunion at the UP Bahay ng Alumni,” he said in a statement yesterday.
UP president apologizes over Kabataang Barangay reunion
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - September 8, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines president Danilo Concepcion has apologized for his attendance at a reunion of Marcos-era Kabataang Barangay (KB), vowing to join the university community in ensuring that the dark days of the dictatorship will not be forgotten.

“As president of the University of the Philippines, I, once again, express deep regret over the hurt caused by my appearance at the KB reunion at the UP Bahay ng Alumni,” he said in a statement yesterday. 

“As I express my apology for the inappropriate behavior, I would like to reassure the UP community that I do not, and will not, support any attempt at political whitewashing of martial law,” he added. 

Concepcion issued the statement days after the UP Diliman university council, composed of regular faculty members with the rank of assistant professor and above, condemned him for his attendance at the Aug. 25 event. 

In his statement, the UP president committed to support the university council’s decision to develop general education subjects and electives that will tackle martial law. 

He also vowed to hasten the process of establishing a memorial for victims of human rights violations. 

Concepcion said he will also issue a proclamation marking Sept. 21 – the anniversary of the martial law proclamation – as UP’s day of remembrance of the dark days of the dictatorship. 

He said a committee will also be created to plan the annual commemoration in all UP campuses. 

The commitments of the UP president were the same steps agreed upon by the UP Diliman faculty during their meeting after the KB reunion.

The UP Diliman university council has vowed to take a proactive role in ensuring that the atrocities during the dictatorship will not be forgotten. 

For one, the council agreed to develop additional general education subjects and electives that would integrate the lessons from the martial law regime. 

It also vowed to establish memorials and monuments, such as a people’s museum, to showcase aspirations and struggles for freedom during martial law. 

The university council, in denouncing Concepcion for attending the KB reunion inside the Diliman campus last month, noted UP’s role in standing against the Marcos dictatorship and cited the symbolic meaning of the “Diliman Republic” as a haven for responsible free speech and deliberative democracy. 

“UP faculty, students and alumni fought and died in the resistance against the facist Marcos dictatorship,” read the statement. 

“The late UP president Salvador Lopez used the authority and prestige of his office to stand off the military from campus ground. Former UP president Emerlinda Roman honored the martyrs of martial law memorialized at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani,” it added.  

The council said Concepcion’s attendance at the event, in which he was seen flashing the “V” sign attributed to Marcos, is dangerous and may be misconstrued as the university’s official stand. 

“He ought to be reminded that his public actions and words reflect on the university. Thus, it is our duty to draw the line and assert our claim on academic freedom: UP is not a marketplace of politicians’ interest, certainly not in these dark times,” the council said. 

“We express our strongest disapproval of the UP president’s overt actions in the KB reunion, and hope that such unconscionable acts will be avoided in the future. Such acts, intended or not, are inappropriate for a UP president,” it added. 

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