MANILA – The University of the Philippines (UP) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) have agreed to review a 1992 accord regulating the entry of uniformed personnel to campuses of the state university, which the executive department said needs updating.
Representatives from the UP and the DILG disclosed on Saturday that they held a meeting at Camp Crame in Quezon City last Friday, a day after UP officials met with the Department of National Defense (DND) to talk about their recently abrogated 1989 accord.
“During the meeting, the DILG and the [Philippine National Police] affirmed their recognition of the value of academic freedom as well as peace and security in the University of the Philippines,” the parties said in a joint statement.
The DILG presented its concerns on the 1992 agreement, “which included the need to review and update the agreement to present conditions.”
“The DILG assured UP that the review of the agreement will not in any way diminish basic rights and the freedom of speech and assembly in UP, which are protected and enshrined in the Constitution,” they said.
UP is set to present its own “observations” on the concerns raised by the DILG and PNP in subsequent meetings.
The parties said they are willing to form a technical working group (TWG) to study the agreement.
The UP and DILG may amend provisions of the decades-old pact depending on the recommendations of the TWG, the parties said.
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 UP-DILG accord has the same content as 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.
Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya earlier said his department does not intend to abrogate the 1992 security agreement with UP.
Last Jan. 15, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana unilaterally terminated the 1989 pact with UP, saying the deal was being used as a “shield” by the New People’s Army to conduct on-campus recruitment of students. UP denied the allegation and asked Lorenzana to reconsider his decision.
UP Vice President for Public Affairs Elena Pernia had said the termination of the agreement "infringes" on the state university's academic freedom.
"The UP like all other universities in the Philippines and in the world value academic freedom. It is in that kind of climate where our faculty our students, our community, our researchers are free to think, to speak, to study and even to disagree," she said in a interview on ANC's Headstart.
"It is in that kind of atmosphere that we can produce this great knowledge that is contributory to the nation’s development."