MANILA — The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) urged Tuesday the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman to "respect" the decision of other state universities to pull out reading materials deemed "subversive."
"The decision to remove books and other reading materials in a university library is done by individual higher education institutions (HEIs) in the exercise of academic freedom," CHED chairman Prospero de Vera said in a statement.
"There are reasons why some HEIs have decided to remove materials donated by government-declared communist-terrorist groups in their libraries. School authorities in these HEIs are in the best position to explain why."
De Vera was reacting to a statement made over the weekend by UP Diliman's Office of the Chancellor Executive Staff, which condemned how other state universities removed allegedly subversive reading materials from their libraries.
"Ang pagtatanggal na ito ay sumasalungat sa misyon ng mga pamantasan na makapagturo at makapagsaliksik nang malaya, at magpalaganap ng academic freedom. Dapat nating protektahan ang ating mga eskuwelahan at panatiliin ang mga ito bilang lugar ng malayang pag-iisip," it said in a statement.
(The removal of these books goes against the mission of universities to freely teach and conduct research, and spread academic freedom. We should protect our schools and preserve them as havens of free thinking.)
De Vera, who also chairs the UP Board of Regents, said there were HEIs who were critical of the Diliman campus' policies but they do not issue statements "out of mutual respect for the governance of individual public universities."
"I urge UP Diliman officials to do the same," he added.
"It would be best for the Chancellor of UP Diliman and their officials to be more prudent, circumspect, respectful and discerning in issuing statements especially involving the exercise of academic freedom of other higher education institutions."
Kalinga State University, Isabela State University and Aklan State University earlier surrendered books on peace negotiations between the Philippine government and National Democratic Front to the military.
The Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives has filed a resolution to investigate the "dubious removal" of the allegedly subversive material.