MANILA – The University of the Philippines (UP) in Mindanao has raised “grave concern” over social media posts alleging that its campus was being used by communist rebels for recruitment.
The university said this allegation has led to incidents of harassment of students and personnel.
“We express grave concern over a recent post from an alumnus on social media about the alleged NPA (New People’s Army) recruitment in the UP Mindanao campus, which has affected the UP Mindanao community,” said Chancellor Lyre Anni Murao in a statement issued late Saturday.
Murao was referring to a certain Choyax Cagape, identified as an alumnus of UP Mindanao in a May 19 Philippine News Agency (PNA) article titled “UP alumnus confirms NPA recruitment in school.”
According to the article, Cagape claimed “there is active recruitment” in UP Mindanao. He went on to narrate how a teacher supposedly introduced him to “subversive ideology” when he was “Comelec chairman of the student body in first year.”
The PNA article was reposted on the official Facebook page of the National Security Council of the Philippines.
“The post may have been based on an experience of the concerned individual while he was a student about two decades ago. This does not warrant the citing of the post as the basis of allegations from the National Security Council of the Philippines,” Murao said.
Murao said the “irresponsible publication” of the allegations on social media caused “distress” among UP Mindanao faculty, students and staff.
“Some are currently experiencing harassment, both in person and on social media,” Murao said.
Murao said the university would take “legal action due to harassment, when necessary, to protect the welfare of our constituents, especially our students.”
“Furthermore, we are committed to remain vigilant and to uphold the welfare of our students and the entire UP Mindanao community against undue harassment by any form or means,” she said.
Murao stressed that UP is a “community of diverse personalities, ideas and beliefs,” which is encouraged “as part of its respect for academic freedom and to develop critical thinking among its students.”
She added that UP Mindanao was also in solidarity with other universities that have been accused of being “recruitment havens of so-called enemies of the state.”
“We call on the academic community to work together to sustain academic freedom and critical thinking --- the hallmarks of a flourishing learning institution,” she said.
Last year, former anti-communist insurgency task force spokesperson Antonio Parlade named 18 Philippine colleges and universities as “recruitment havens” for the NPA, an accusation that school heads have rejected.