Many inside and outside the University of the Philippines opposed the cancellation of the Department of National Defense in the 1989 UP-DND agreement, the agreement limiting the military and police’s presence inside UP.
According to University Student Council chairman Froilan Cariaga, this is the administration’s tactic to implement the Anti-Terror Law – which will allegedly silence the voice of the people.
He said UP is being targeted because of free protest by people now that mass gathering is prohibited due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Kami pong mga Iskolar ng Bayan, ang tanong pa nga po namin sa administrasyon: Bakit sa gitna ng pandemya inuna pa ang militarization ng mga campuses kaysa sa paglaban para sa ligtas na pagbalik-eskuwela?” said Cariaga.
“So makikita po natin ito’y talagang kabaha-bahala. Wala pang face-to-face classes pero itong rehimeng Duterte nag-iimplementa na ng militarization ng campuses,” he added.
In connection with the DND’s decision, the UP community protested to condemn the cancellation of the agreement.
The DND-UP Accord was signed in 1989, between former UP president Jose Abueva and former Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos. It states the rules of military and police operations within the university.
Termination of UP-DND accord opposed
Also under the UP-DND accord, the military and police should ask the permission of the UP leadership first before they could conduct operations inside the campus.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary-general Renato Reyes said the agreement was formed after the arrest of The Philippine Collegian staffer – the UP newspaper – Donato Continente.
While incarcerated, Continente was allegedly beaten, accused of killing American soldier James Rowe, and sentenced to 14 years in prison until the Supreme Court overturned his jail sentence.
Termination of the UP-DND accord means that state authorities, such as the military and police, can enter the campus at any time.
Monday night when the UP Office of the Student Regent unveiled a letter from Defense chief Delfin Lorenzana for UP President Danilo Concepcion, requesting the termination of the UP-DND accord.
The DND asserted that it was allegedly an obstacle for the military and police to protect the UP Community, especially since the Communist Party of the Philippines has recruitment within the university.