Several senators seek to institutionalize UP-DND accord

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2021 04:40 PM


MANILA — Several senators on Wednesday filed a bill seeking to institutionalize an agreement that bars the military and police from conducting operations inside the University of the Philippines campuses without prior notification to school officials.

Senators Joel Villanueva, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay and Grace Poe filed Senate Bill No. 2002, which seeks to amend the UP Charter to include guidelines on military and police operations inside the university, similar to the ones under the 1989 Abueva-Ramos Accord.

These include requiring police and military units to notify the UP administration before they enter UP campuses, serve warrants, or arrest or detain a student, professor or personnel, among others.

"[UP] has been one of our country's bulwarks of free expression and activism. However, this status has long been threatened by the state efforts to minimize the unique role and participation of the University in social change," the senators said in the bill's explanatory.

Of the proponents, Angara, Binay and Poe are UP alumni. 

"Our country is facing a number of very important issues where the resources of the military and the police can be more efficiently utilized," they added, citing the West Philippine Sea dispute and rising criminality due to Philippine offshore gaming operators.

The measure was filed just days after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana unilaterally terminated the accord, which he said has been used by the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army as a "shield" for on-campus recruitment.

UP has denied that it recruits students into the communist insurgency.

Critics of the abrogation have said the moves was meant to stifle academic freedom and political dissent.

— With a report from Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News

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