Revoking accord to put UP ‘in its proper role as premier univ’

Revoking accord to put UP ‘in its proper role as premier univ’

MANILA – Multi-sectoral groups on Tuesday expressed support for the termination of the University of the Philippines-Department of National Defense (UP-DND) Accord of 1989, saying the move will put a stop to issues of recruitment of students into the armed movement.

“This abrogation will put the University of the Philippines in its proper role and context as a prime university in Philippine society,” the groups, composed of six multi-sectoral organizations and coalitions including the League of Parents of the Philippines (LPP), Liga Independencia Pilipinas (LIPI), Sulong Maralita (Youth for Peace and Development), Duterte Youth Movement, Pambansang Koalisyon ng Maralitang Taga-Lungsod (PMKL), and Movement of Women for Change and Reform (MELCHORA), said in a statement.

They said the termination should be regarded as part of “cleansing the bad images” of the UP campus such as the linkages of various youth organizations to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

According to them, UP has been known to be infested by rebels whose utmost priority is to overthrow the government.

“It should be viewed as a prime learning institution for less privilege youth, our children,” they said.

They lamented that “most parents perceive the UP campus as a place of chaos, rallies, and boycott”.

“What the government is after, are groups that impede the growth (and) development of the youth. (They) inculcate terrorism, threat, and violence as an option to everything, instead of helping the youth achieve its aspirations and dreams,” they said.

The groups believe this could put an end to the recruitment of youths who join the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

The groups also echoed Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s remarks that democratic rights and respect for academic freedom will remain promoted within the campus, even with the termination of the accord.

“We don’t think that the abrogation of the accord is a scheme for intelligence operations, surveillance, raids of student offices, or even lockdown of key installations in UP such as bookstore or printing press,” they said.

They said the public should not be afraid of the DND’s move, saying the country is “no longer in the era of dark ages of martial law where rights and academic freedom were curtailed”.

“It’s about time we correct the mistake of the past and put UP in its proper perspective as a learning institution. Never again shall we allow the dark ages of the past, the FQS [First Quarter Storm], and Diliman Commune. But rather, UP as a top university in Asia that produces the best and brightest minds of the future,” they said.

The groups also appealed to the government to scrap other pacts forged with other schools similar to the agreement with UP.

Signed on June 30, 1989, the UP-DND Accord prohibits military and police personnel from entering all UP campuses without prior notice from the campus administration. (A/MTVN/PNA)

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