UP president: No police, military on campus without coordination
File photo shows the "Oblation", a statue by National Artist Guillermo Tolentino that is a symbol of the university. Among the elements of the statue are katakataka leaves, of which Tolentino said: "A leaf or a piece of it thrown anywhere will sprout into a young plant."

UP president: No police, military on campus without coordination

Jonathan de Santos (Philstar.com) - December 11, 2019 - 8:41pm

MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines president Danilo Concepcion said Wednesday that he has not agreed to let police and military personnel into the university's campuses despite a claim by Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa that he has.

Dela Rosa has been quoted in media reports as saying Concepcion is okay with letting security forces enter UP campuses and "give police and military a chance to recruit."

In a statement on UP's website, Concepcion said: "I categorically deny that I agreed to allow the military and police to enter any University of the Philippines campus or property without coordination with the UP administration and UP Police."

Under a 1989 agreement between then UP President Jose Abueva and then Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos, military and police activities in any UP campus or regional unit require prior notification of the university president, chancellor or dean.

The same agreement holds that military, police and militia personnel cannot enter any UP campus "except in cases of hot pursuit and similar occasions of emergency" or when assistance is requested by university officials.

An earlier agreement, the 1982 Soto-Enrile accord between student leader Sonia Soto and then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, was signed to protect the autonomy of the university from military intervention, especially in protest rallies.

"Ang situation right now, ang libre lang mag recruit sa kanilang campus ay ang kaliwa (only the left are free to recruit in campus)," Dela Rosa is quoted as saying. 

UP has Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs in its campuses.

"UP does not consider itself above the law. Indeed, it is keen to see the law upheld and strictly enforced, with due respect for the rights of all concerned," Concepcion said. 

"As the national university, UP will continue to cooperate fully and openly with government authorities, all in full cognizance of the balancing act between public safety and academic freedom," he also said.

Professors on Monday held a press conference at UP to urge the Senate to junk a Dela Rosa-sponsored committee report that suggested, among other things, police visibility around and within campus' premises, to curb supposed communist recruitment.

Vice Chancellor for Research and Development Fidel Nemenzo stressed then that "academic freedom is essential to UP's being the national university... essential to the life of the mind. It is essential to UP's role as social critic."

"There is no academic excellence without academic freedom. Academic freedom means the freedom to think, the freedom to write, the freedom to speak out, the freedom to question. This also means the freedom to question orthodoxies and authority without the threat of repression," he also said.

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