DILG says 'no intention at present' of scrapping 1992 accord with UP

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 04 2021 09:47 AM

DILG says 'no intention at present' of scrapping 1992 accord with UP 1
The University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman holds the anniversary program for the UP Diliman Commune at the Oblation Plaza, Quezon Hall in Quezon City, Feb. 1, 2021. Entitled: Barikada Singkwenta: Pagpupugay at Paggunita, the university commemorates the heroism of its students who defied aggression against the violence of the military during the Martial Law years, when they fortified the campus with "barricades" that came to be known as the Diliman Commune. The students held back military forces for 9 days and not without its casualties. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of the Interior and Local Government does not intend for now to abrogate its 1992 security agreement with the University of the Philippines, which prohibits police to operate on campus grounds without prior notice.

"We have no intention of abrogation at present. What we want is to have a healthy discussion with the officials of the University of the Philippines," Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya told ANC.

The DILG and UP officials are expected to meet this week "in an atmosphere of mutual trust" to thresh out issues related to peace and order, he said.

The agency, which oversees the Philippine National Police, and premier state university signed an agreement in 1992 regulating the entry of police into UP campuses.

The 1992 UP-DILG agreement was signed by then UP President Jose Abueva and then Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan III following the enactment of Republic Act 6975, which effectively transferred the country’s police force from the Department of National Defense to the DILG. The Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police, now the PNP, was formerly under DND.

The 1992 UP-DILG agreement has the same content with the 1989 UP-DND agreement wherein prior notification shall be given by a commander of an Armed Forces of the Philippines or PNP unit intending to conduct any military or police operations in any of the UP campuses.

During the interview, Malaya, also DILG's spokesperson, said they would want to assess the level of security, particularly in UP Diliman, following the proliferation of residential units, business establishments and informal settlers.

"We would like to find out if the UP Diliman police are up to par with the changes since 1992," he said.

Malaya said they also intend to raise the alleged continued clandestine recruitment by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its front organizations of UP students.

"The concern of DILG is the continued recruitment of students to join the armed struggle. That's different from activism. That's different from teaching the principles of different types of ideologies from left to right," he said.

"Any UP student would know at least one, I know several, contemporaries that have been recruited by front organizations in the University of the Philippines and have went up to the mountains and were killed by encounters between the armed forces, PNP and New People's Army."

However, Malaya clarified that the DILG does not plan to deploy police in any UP campus to monitor students' activities as such action may infringe academic freedom.

"Academic freedom simply means that it’s the right of the school to determine what is to be studied, who will study and the manner of studying. These things are sacrosanct," he said.

"Meaning the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police has no intention of prohibiting teachers from teaching communism. That’s part of the curriculum.

"I myself, when I was in the university, studied that in PolSci or types of ideologies, liberal democracy, national democracy, socialism, communist, Marxism. It's part of the curriculum. We will not interfere with that," he said.

On Jan 15, the DND unilaterally junked its 1989 accord over allegations UP had become "a safe haven for enemies of the state."

UP denied this and urged the defense minister to reconsider its decision.