CHR raises concerns over police, military presence in schools

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 30 2019 05:37 PM

MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights raised concerns Friday over the proposal to allow police and military forces in schools amid a seeming crackdown on activism in academic communities.

CHR spokesperson lawyer Jacqueline de Guia said any planned action on the part of state authorities should be coordinated with school officials.

“Although it is the police and military’s mandate to maintain peace and security, the Commission upholds that safety policies within school campuses must be in close coordination and consultation with the university administrators," she said.

"It should be in accordance with the law and other agreements between security forces and academic institutions,” she said.

The CHR also stressed that schools are supposed to be safe spaces both for faculty and students where there is engagement in intellectual discussions, challenging beliefs, as well as holding dialogues without fear of censorship.

“Academic freedom guarantees this right unless the manner of these expressions substantially impairs the rights of others. Nonetheless, academic freedom enables a holistic and critical education necessary to produce well-rounded and discerning individuals,” de Guia said.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año had said some 1,000 young Filipinos are being recruited by communist New People's Army or to lead student organizations.

In October last year, the military released a list of 18 colleges and universities where leftist groups allegedly recruit members, a move slammed by school officials.