Lawmakers urged to pass bills institutionalizing UP-DND accord

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 13 2021 01:22 PM

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago joins youth representatives at the University of the Philippines-Diliman on May 13, 2021 to call for the swift passage of bills seeking to institutionalize the state school's accord with the Department of National Defense, which was unilaterally abrogated earlier this year. Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Representatives of various youth groups on Thursday urged lawmakers to swiftly approve bills seeking to institutionalize an agreement that bars state forces from conducting operations inside the University of the Philippines (UP) campuses without prior notification to school officials.

UP Student Regent Renee Louise Co also asked members of the academic community to stand together to ensure that schools are "secured spaces."

"Pinapanawagan natin ng buong sangka-estudyantehan, faculty, buong academic community. Let's stand together para ma-ensure na ang spaces natin ay secure, magamit natin ito para pagsilbihan ang sambayanan," Co said in a press briefing at UP-Diliman.

(We're calling on all students, faculty members, the entire academic community. Let's stand together to ensure that our spaces are secure and that we use them to serve the people.)

In the same briefing, Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago also called for an investigation against those who threaten and attack UP stakeholders.

On May 17, the House committee on higher and technical education is set to tackle various bills seeking to amend the UP Charter to include guidelines on military and police operations inside campuses, similar to the ones under UP's accord with the Department of National Defense (DND).

In January, 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" to recruit UP students.

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

At the Senate, several senators have also filed bills seeking to institutionalize the 1989 UP-DND Accord.

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