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UP officials hit red-tagging of students

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
UP officials hit red-tagging of students
In a statement on Friday, the UP President’s Advisory Council (PAC) said it viewed with grave concern the NTF-ELCAC’s allegations that its students are disruptors and destabilizers of peace and order following rallies after the May 9 elections.
Philstar.com / File

MANILA, Philippines — Top executives of the University of the Philippines (UP) have called out the red-tagging allegations made by officials of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

In a statement on Friday, the UP President’s Advisory Council (PAC) said it viewed with grave concern the NTF-ELCAC’s allegations that its students are disruptors and destabilizers of peace and order following rallies after the May 9 elections.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon also alleged that the state university was a prime breeding ground for recruitment by the communist New People’s Army.

“Such statements maliciously misrepresent legitimate forms of protests as ‘breeding grounds for terrorist recruitment,’ violate civil liberties and carelessly endanger our students in their democratic exercise of constitutionally protected freedoms,” the UP-PAC statement read.

The UP body said such accusations were “baseless and paranoid” and could sow the kind of discord that security officials are trying to prevent.

“We will not stand down when our students’ lives are at risk. We will continue to defend our academic spaces. We will protect our students vigorously against red-tagging, harassment and intimidation,” it added.

The UP-PAC emphasized the need for free and critical thinking in learning institutions in the country.

“We will safeguard the university from destabilizing forces. Critical thinking and service to community and country are hallmarks of UP’s tradition as an institution of higher learning,” the council said.

Members of the UP-PAC include the president, vice presidents and the secretary of the university; the chancellors of the eight UP constituent units; the director of the Philippine General Hospital and the executive director of the UP Bonifacio Global City campus.

UP

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