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Lorenzana to UP: Letâs work together
Secretary Delfin Lorenzana again gave assurance that the decision to scrap the 1989 agreement was not meant to curtail freedoms, but to protect students from the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
STAR/ File

Lorenzana to UP: Let’s work together

Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - January 25, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After abrogating last week the 32-year-old accord that bars the military and police from entering campuses without prior coordination with school officials, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is now asking the University of the Philippines (UP) to help him and the government put an end to the insurgency problem.

Lorenzana again gave assurance that the decision to scrap the 1989 agreement was not meant to curtail freedoms, but to protect students from the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

“Help me fix this, let us talk and find ways to end this insurgency once and for all. Let us work together and move forward,” Lorenzana said in a video message posted on his Facebook page addressed to the UP community yesterday.

The defense chief said his decision abrogating the Department of National Defense (DND)’s agreement with UP “is a fulfillment of a patriotic duty even though it is an unpopular move.”

“My intentions are pure. My goal is simple. To minimize the threat to the youth,” added Lorenzana, who had earlier described the pact as an “obsolete” accord that has allowed the state university to “become a safe haven for enemies of the state.”

He acknowledged that some may see his move as a rash decision, but he said the numerous experiences and grueling testimonies presented to him by former NPA rebels prompted him to terminate the UP-DND agreement.

“I personally bore witness to the atrocities committed by the communist terrorist against our people. They prey on our children’s idealism and vulnerability, even costing them their own lives,” Lorenzana said.

“I have been fighting for this country all my life as a soldier. Our problem with the CPP-NPA has been with us for 52 years,” he added, as he asked the UP community to help fight and end the insurgency.

In the same social media post, Lorenzana said he believes that abrogating the UP-DND agreement, despite being not well-received by many, “is a fulfillment of my sworn duties as the Defense Secretary of this nation.”

“We stand by our choice to protect our youth and encourage our fellow Filipinos to help us finally end this 50-year war,” he added.

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