In UP-DND meet, Lorenzana 'realized' talks should've come before ending accord

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
In UP-DND meet, Lorenzana 'realized' talks should've come before ending accord
In this Jan. 6, 2020 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte greets Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana prior to the start of the 45th Cabinet Meeting at the Malacañan Palace.
Presidential Photo / King Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines — Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was said to have realized that discussions should have come first before he ended the UP-DND accord of 1989, an official said Thursday as the two parties met for the first time since the widely criticized termination.

The defense chief's move to nix the decades-long agreement barring entry to state forces in UP campuses had surprised many, with the abrogation done without meeting the university to iron conflicts in the said deal.

Over ABS-CBN's Teleradyo, UP's public affairs chief Dr. Elena Pernia said Lorenzana held the view after administrators relayed the community's sentiment on the ending of the deal.

"Na-explain [ni] President Danilo Concepcion kung ano 'yung sentimyento ng unibersidad," she said. "Ang tingin namin it was abrupt at na-realize rin naman ni Secretary Lorenzana na 'oo nga 'no, siguro nga dapat before nagawa 'yung steps niya eh sana nagkaroon ng diskusyon."

(UP President Danilo Concepcion was able to explain what the university thinks about it, which we view as abrupt. Secretary Lorenzana was able to realize too that perhaps there should have been discussions first before he did his steps.)

Pernia said the meeting had been cordial, "very fruitful" and denied that what is an apparent first round of talks had been a heated one.

The DND terminated the accord on the basis of claims it has yet to prove that the university has long been a breeding ground of the armed communist movement. 

Such allegation was shared too by President Rodrigo Duterte, a form of red-tagging or linking individuals as having ties to the CPP-NPA which exposes them to threats, intimidation or worse, lead to their deaths. It was not disclosed if these repeated incidents were discussed in the said talks.

Lorenzana initially shunned talks with UP, but the meeting on Thursday materialized after being brokered by Commission on Higher Education chief Prospero de Vera, who has sought to take a middle ground position over the matter.

"Ngayon, siguro mas maliwanag na kung [mayroon] kaming at least mapupuntahan [o] kung may bago ngang agreement na mangyayari," Pernia said. "At least ngayon, may way forward na."

(It looks clearer now that we would reach something out of this or if there will be a new agreement. Now, at least there is a way forward.)

The senior UP official said they may soon meet again by the end of the month or when schedules of the two parties are made clear.




As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 12, 2021 - 4:24pm

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

February 12, 2021 - 4:24pm

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 - 8:20am

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 - 11:26am

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 - 3:24pm

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 - 4:40pm

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.

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