Off-campus activities part of UP education – exec
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - January 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Taking part in out-of-school activities is part of the education of University of the Philippines students, an official said on Tuesday.

UP Diliman chancellor Michael Tan expressed concern over the recent allegations of the Philippine National Police (PNP) that students of the university engage in communist activities when they take part in some out-of-school activities.

“We recognize that our students’ education must go beyond the narrow confines of our classrooms or campuses. Whatever academic degree they might be pursuing, our students need to explore and appreciate the world outside of UP and to develop their competencies linked to social realities,” Tan said.

“This is why red-baiting tactics always alarm us. Besides causing distress to students and their parents, we worry about how the red baiting impact soldiers and police, especially in rural areas,” he added.

Tan noted instances of harassment of UP students conducting fieldworks last year, including threats made against researchers from the Institute of Biology in Isabela and the harassment of a doctorate linguistics student in Zamboanga Sibugay.

“The two incidents show the dangers of red scare tactics, where the military or police might be emboldened to harass, threaten or even harm students, researchers or faculty,” he said.

“We will continue to encourage and support out-of-classroom learning activities, while taking more precautions, including obtaining prior clearances from local government officials. We also continue to coordinate with the police and the military but ask that they exert more due diligence with their men and women in the field, especially in remote areas,” he added.

Citing information from alleged rebel surrenderees, the PNP on Monday claimed that students of UP and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines were brought to Laguna for immersion activities and then forced by rebels to join them. 

Tan said faculty members need to submit a comprehensive description of the intended activity, with details on faculty supervision, where the students will be, who the students are, waivers and even a certificate of physical fitness when appropriate.

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