News UPLB News

UP-DND Accord is unilaterally ‘terminated.’ UP community strikes back with an indignation protest the next day

Addendum (January 27, 2021): The link to the 2016 article ‘PNP barricades entrances to F-Park’ was given more context, in that the cause for police presence was the then-arrival of the Japanese Emperor and Empress).

When student publications across the UP system first broke the story on the eve of January 18, it was immediately met with immense outrage from the UP community.

The Department of National Defense (DND) was calling Judgment Day on the 1989 UP-DND Accord. It was not long until netizens called to #DefendAcademicFreedom, #NoToCampusMilitarization, and finally #DefendUP on Twitter, driving conversation on why it shouldn’t be terminated.

BAYAN secretary general Renato Reyes, Jr. and Former Supreme Court spokesperson Ted Te stand with the UP community

But online chatter and protest were not enough for the students, faculty, and staff of the university. As such, on the following Tuesday morning, they took to the grounds of UP Diliman their indignation against DND’s scheme, with students and progressive groups calling the abrogation an attack against academic freedom and the state’s latest plot against student activism.

Student Regent (SR)-select Renee Co was among those who joined the online and on-ground protest. She called on the UP community to defend the university’s safe spaces, emphasizing that this was only made possible because of the sacrifices of students through the years.

Itong paglagay ng UP-DND Accord ay ginawa […] ng napakaraming Iskolar ng Bayan at buong UP community, at ang pagtanggal nito ay paglampas sa historical role ng UP bilang isang napakaimportanteng institusyon na nagpapadinig ng boses at mga demanda ng tao,” Co explained.

UP President Danilo Concepcion also showed up to back the indignation and spoke in front of the UP community.

UP president Danilo Concepcion at the protest

Hindi nila maunawaan na ang accord na ito ay ang nagbibigay ng kalayaan sa ating mga estudyante at mga guro na maging malikhain at mapusok sa pag-iisip at paglilikha, sapagkat alam nila na walang susupil sa kanilang mga gawain. Sapagkat alam nila na walang nagmamanman sa kanilang bawa kilos at galaw,” Concepcion reads his statement.

In a response letter to DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the President also questioned the lack of ‘prior consultation’ with them. He also wants the DND to revoke its decision.

“At the same time, especially given our experience of martial law, we must reject any form or semblance of militarization on our campuses, which will have a chilling effect deleterious to academic freedom,” Concepcion said.

He then asked the DND head to think over his decisions and invited him to discuss matters further.

“May I urge you, therefore, to reconsider and revoke your abrogation, and request further that we meet to discuss your concerns in the shared spirit of peace, justice, and the pursuit of excellence,” addressing Lorenzana.

Other notable figures who joined progressive groups in the protest were Kabataan Party-list Representative Sarah Elago and UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo.

What is the 1989 UP-DND Accord and it matters so much to the university?

To put it simply, the UP-DND Accord was signed in 1989 by then UP President Jose Abueva and then-Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos, to put up restrictions on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in entering UP campuses.

At that time, the country just restored its democracy after the ouster of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. So, this came after the state finally recognized that there was a need to safeguard the academic freedom and safety of UP students, who were always on the front lines of criticizing the government and its policies.

With the accord in effect, it meant that state forces must first obtain permission from respective campuses before they enter its premises or conduct any military or police operations.

A look at the NSTP 1 lecture. Footage from Jade Ashley Corpuz and John Althani Famador.

In fact, in UP Los Baños alone, there were numerous instances that state forces compromised the safety of UP students. 

In a March 2019 National Service Training Program (NSTP) 1 lecture, invited resource speakers from the AFP red-tagged UPLB student leaders and progressive organizations, accusing them of being communist insurgents. 

Meanwhile, early last year, a peaceful student demonstration on campus was featured in a pro-government propaganda video of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) — again, accusing students of being rebels. 

UPLB student leaders have also been receiving death threats since the imposition of COVID-19 lockdowns. (READ: Crackdown in the lockdown: A timeline of ECQ death threats)

(Related stories: UPLB Admin stays silent on Red October, OSA tells students to ‘wait’ for statement; PNP barricades entrances to F-Park [wherein it was reported that police presence was due to the arrival of the Japanese Empreror and Empress]; Eight detained in Cebu after Anti-Terror Bill protest)

Chancellor Jose Camacho, Jr. has also slammed the abrogation, saying “it is in this light that we view the unilateral rescission of the 1989 UP-DND accord as an assault against the freedom of UP as an institution. It comes at the heels of earlier threats to discontinue funding for the University, which was intended to silence and intimidate us.”

After the abrogation of the UP-DND pact, right-wing Duterte Youth Partylist Rep. Ducielle Cardema is also now calling Lorenzana to cancel a similar agreement with the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines condemned the ‘desperate move,’ and calling on the public to “fight against these fascist attacks and to uphold academic freedom.”

A protest will be held tomorrow at 1 PM in UPLB Carabao Park to condemn DND’s move. [P]

Photo from Sonya Mariella Castillo

19 comments on “UP-DND Accord is unilaterally ‘terminated.’ UP community strikes back with an indignation protest the next day

  1. Pingback: AFP spox blasted for shabu lab comments. CDCSC, students call to revoke alumni award – UPLB Perspective

  2. Pingback: Youth in Peril: Faults and hopes of the Philippines’ educational system – UPLB Perspective

  3. Pingback: State propaganda page appropriates images and quotes of 7 UP alums for red-tagging campaign – UPLB Perspective

  4. Pingback: Chancellor Camacho debunks PNP’s report of partnership. Campus remains off-limits from police and military – UPLB Perspective

  5. Pingback: Balik-tanaw: Unang 100 araw ni Chancellor Camacho – UPLB Perspective

  6. Pingback: Long live the banners: The significance of the student movement – UPLB Perspective

  7. Pingback: A year under lockdown, CEGP says red-tagging suspect of attacks on campus pubs – UPLB Perspective

  8. Pingback: ‘Hindi mali ang makibaka’: UPLB students push to keep campus a safe haven after alarming police presence in Brgy. Batong Malake, Los Baños – UPLB Perspective

  9. Pingback: UPLB USC Chair deprived from arguing as DND, CHED ‘used too much time red-tagging’ in UP-DND talks – UPLB Perspective

  10. Pingback: ‘Bakwit School 7’ freed from trumped-up charges of serious illegal detention, kidnapping – UPLB Perspective

  11. Pingback: SR Renee Co and Hon. Sarah Elago explain the matters on Defending UP, its Academic Freedom and Campus Security – UPLB Perspective

  12. Pingback: UP student councils hold emergency GASC; resols for on-ground 52nd GASC, extension of SR’s term approved – UPLB Perspective

  13. Pingback: UPLB progressives condemn red-tagging in NSTP webinar; USC calls for ‘thorough review’ of lecture materials – UPLB Perspective

  14. Pingback: 5th SLC intensifies calls for resumption of F2F classes, student participation in national elections – UPLB Perspective

  15. Pingback: ‘Palaban at makabayan’: UPLB USC, pinangunahan ang Halalan 2022 presscon upang ilatag ang mga plano bago at matapos ang halalan – UPLB Perspective

  16. Pingback: University Committee endorses Siegfred Severino’s nomination for 39th SR – UPLB Perspective

  17. Pingback: A rundown of the visions and plans of the 39th SR nominees – UPLB Perspective

  18. Pingback: UPLB nominee Siegfred Severino selected as new SR – UPLB Perspective

  19. Pingback: Bakit tinututulan ng mga mag-aaral ang Mandatory ROTC? – Tanglaw

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: