PUP likely next after UP-Defense Dept accord abrogation: professor

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2021 07:55 AM | Updated as of Jan 20 2021 08:14 AM

Students emerge in front of their school at the Polytechnic Universty of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta Mesa Manila on August 20, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - Faculty and students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines community are feeling the "chilling effect" of government's unilateral abrogation of its accord with the University of the Philippines, with one PUP professor saying the university's own accord with the government could be next. 

The Department of National Defense has terminated its 1989 agreement requiring state forces to inform UP before its personnel enters campus grounds, saying UP had become a "safe haven for enemies of the state."

It is likely that PUP is next, said professor MJ Rafal, a member of PUP Kagawaran ng Filipinolohiya, after Duterte Youth Partylist called for the termination of a similar accord between DND and the PUP.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed this Tuesday when asked if government plans to scrap similar agreements with other universities. 

"We are looking into other similar agreements to terminate them as well," he told reporters. 

"Hindi malayo na ituloy ito at isunod ang iba pang mga paaralan," Rafal told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

"Alam naman natin ang UP at PUP noong panahon ng Martial Law at hanggang matapos ito ay naging sentro ng aktibismo."

(It's doesn't seem far from happening that other schools will be next. We know UP and PUP during the time of Martial Law were the center of activism.)

"Damang-dama (ang chilling effect) dahil halimbawa sa panig ko bilang teacher sa mga subject na wika, panitikan, kaysaysayan, magiging parang kadena ito sa leeg. Kikikilin ka at nakabanta sa'yo ang kapangyarihan ng estado na kapag ikaw ay nagsalita laban sa kanilang ginagawa ay mabilis ka nilang puntahan."

(We feel the chilling effect. For example, as a teacher in Filipino language, literature, and history, it will be like a chain around your neck. The State's power threatens you every time you speak against it and it can get to you right away.)

In a press statement, Duterte Youth Party List Rep. Ducielle Cardema urged the DND to end its agreement on academic freedom with PUP "because it creates inequality among the more than 400 campuses of the different State Universities and Colleges across the nation."

The PUP Catalyst, the university's official student publication, slammed the Duterte Youth Partylist's remark as "ironic," its editor-in-chief Maricho Tagaylo said.

"Sinasabi nila na kinatawan daw po sila ng kabataan pero ina-antagonize nila ang panawagan ng mga kabataan imbis na iturol dun sa pangunahing issue kung bakit nagkakaroon ng malaking protesta sa loob ng aming sintang paaralan," she said.

(They say they are representatives of youth but they antagonize our call instead of focusing on the primary issue why there are huge protests inside our beloved school.)

PUP students condemning the DND's mov will heold a protest at 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to Tagaylo.

"Ito ay malinaw na pagsagka sa aming academic freedom na ineexercise po sa loob ng aming sintang paaralan," she said.

(This is a clear affront to our academic freedom that we exercise in our beloved school.)

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