UP to AFP: Explain presence on campus
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - October 23, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The administration of the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City will ask the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to explain the unauthorized presence of intelligence officers in the campus earlier this week.

In an interview with The STAR on Thursday, UP Diliman chancellor Michael Tan said the university is planning to send a communication to the Department of National Defense (DND) to discuss the intrusion of military personnel.

Tan said they would like to know why the AFP violated a 1989 agreement between the university and the government that prohibits the presence of police and military agents in the campus without notice and approval of the UP administration.

Meanwhile, Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon yesterday called on the House committee on higher and technical education and the committee on national defense to investigate the military presence in UP.

Ridon, a former UP student regent, condemned the recent incident, which happened days before the expected arrival of hundreds of lumads who were displaced from their communities in Mindanao due to the presence of the military.

“There is great suspicion that this military surveillance incident is connected with the preparations for the Manilakbayan camp-out next week,” Ridon said.

On Wednesday afternoon, members of the UP Diliman Police (UPDP) and the university’s special services brigade apprehended six men for their allegedly suspicious activities on campus.

One of the men, later identified as First Lieutenant Fidorf Cimatu of the Philippine Army’s Intelligence Security Group, claimed they were conducting an operation within the university’s premises.

Tan said Cimatu was “tight-lipped” as to the nature of their operation, with the identities of the other five remain unknown. He said the military did not seek permission from the university to conduct such activity.

The UP official expressed grave concern as the AFP failed to follow the guidelines set by the agreement between UP and DND.

Cimatu was released by the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Anonas station following confirmation of his identity.

While located in Quezon City, the UP campus in Diliman is not under the jurisdiction of QCPD as it operates its own police force.

No place for ‘intel’ in UP

Tan expressed concern over the military presence in UP as the university will host hundreds of lumads who travelled from Mindanao starting on Monday.

Among those who will join the camp out are those affected by increased military presence in their communities due to the ongoing conflict with the New People’s Army.

Some lumad leaders are accusing the military of committing human rights violations in their communities, a claim the AFP has consistently denied.

Tan called on the military to honor the agreement between UP and the DND, and to refrain from conducting intelligence activities in the campus.

“We will not allow intelligence gathering,” he said, noting that this was the reason why the agreement was signed in the first place.

The 1989 agreement between then UP president Jose Abueva and then defense secretary Fidel Ramos, which remains in place until today, stemmed from the original Soto-Enrile accord signed during the martial law period.

The 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.

In 1992, Abueva and then Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan III signed another agreement to cover the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Review the agreement

Tan admitted the need to review the agreement, as the current one in place does not provide penalties on those who will violate its provisions.

He also noted the need to spell out the guidelines on the coordination between the university and the AFP and PNP.

For instance, he noted that there are no police in the UP Technohub and UP Town Center as these remain properties of the university despite being managed by Ayala Corp.

However, he stressed that the university will not allow permanent presence of the police, and that the military should only be allowed in extreme cases such as disaster response.

Covered

Col. Noel Detoyato of the AFP public affairs office said the presence of soldiers on campus is covered by the agreement between the DND and UP.

He said a number of military officers are taking advanced studies at UP while others supervise the Reserve Officers Training Course. – With Jaime Laude

ACIRC AGREEMENT ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES AYALA CORP CIMATU DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE DILIMAN MILITARY PRESENCE QUEZON CITY UNIVERSITY
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