‘No basis’: UP Diliman denies campus is ‘crime hotspot’

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 24 2021 11:58 AM

The University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City. ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA – The University of the Philippines Diliman (UP Diliman) refuted Saturday the Philippine National Police’s remark that Barangay UP Campus, one of the Quezon City villages that covers the school grounds, is a “crime hotspot.”

In a statement, UP Diliman also denied claims that there are illegal drug laboratories operating inside its campus.

“No shabu (methamphetamine) or illegal-drug laboratory has ever operated inside the UP Diliman campus; neither has there been information or intelligence reports from the Philippine National Police or the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to back this claim,” the university said.

“Likewise, there is no basis for the claim that UP is a hotspot for crime,” it added.

UP Diliman said drug-related crimes account for only 1 to 2 percent of security incidents in the campus last year, based on the records of its security office.

None of the three drug-related incidents recorded in February 2020 involved UP students, faculty or staff, it added.

The state university also said its security team saw a 63-percent drop in crime incidents within the campus, from 247 in 2019 to 91 in 2020.

UP Diliman added that its campus police has “maintained cooperative relations” with Camp Karingal, the Quezon City Police District’s headquarters, and PNP Station 9 in Quezon City, “even assisting the PNP in the arrest of a person with a standing Warrant and soliciting assistance from the PNP for self-defense and crime response trainings of its security personnel.”

On Friday, the PNP tagged Barangay UP Campus—one of 7 Quezon City barangays that covers the UP Diliman campus—as a “crime hotspot” as the village supposedly ranked 20th in the city’s peace and order indicator since 2016.

The police cited a consistent “trend of non-index crime” in the village such as illegal gambling, malicious mischief, violence against women and children, among others.

The PNP made the statement following the Department of National Defense’s (DND) unilateral abrogation of the 1989 UP-DND Accord, which requires the police and military to notify university officials before conducting operations inside UP campuses.

UP President Danilo Concepcion earlier said the agreement “never stood in the way of police and security forces conducting lawful operations within our campuses.”

“Entry was always given when necessary to law enforcers within their mandate,” Concepcion said as he appealed to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to reconsider his decision in terminating the decades-old deal.

Lorenzana has said he junked the deal to protect students from being recruited into the communist insurgency, but critics of the abrogation argue that it was a move to stifle academic freedom and political dissent.

"The UP administration is unaware of and has received no specifics regarding these recent allegations and the circumstances surrounding them," Concepcion said of the alleged infiltration by communist insurgents in the UP community.

"As it stands now, these allegations, lacking as yet any factual evidence, serve as unnecessary distractions for both UP and the AFP at a time when there are far greater crises, including a global pandemic, confronting us," he added.

"At worst, these allegations pose a very real danger to the lives and safety of our students, faculty, staff and the members of the UP community. These dangers come not only from elements of the military and the police, but also from vigilantes who seek to take justice into their own hands."

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