UP professors emeriti call on CHED to revoke 'ill-conceived' memo purging 'subversive' materials

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 11 2021 03:47 PM

The Oblation at the University of the Philippines on Jan. 16, 2018. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News/File
The Oblation at the University of the Philippines on Jan. 16, 2018. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA—At least 35 professors emeriti of the University of the Philippines on Thursday denounced the recent memorandum issued by the Commission on Higher Education urging universities in the Cordillera Administrative Region to remove allegedly subversive reading materials from their libraries.

In a joint statement, the professors called on CHED to revoke the "ill-conceived" memorandum, which could have "coercive and chilling effects." They also urged the UP Board of Regents and university administrators to resist any efforts from within and outside UP to curtail freedom.

"This memorandum is an assault on academic freedom in all Philippine universities, as it sets the stage for further and possibly even more repressive measures in schools across the country," the letter read.

"Any threat to academic freedom in any Philippine school or university is a threat to the whole system and has to be confronted instantly and squarely, regardless of whether individual institutions choose to deny the threat or to acquiesce to it," the letter added.

The professors emeriti also expressed its "strongest support" for the UP Diliman University Council in its protest against the memorandum, which they said CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera decried as a form of "disrespect."

For them, the "greater disrespect" is on the fundamental and constitutionally protected right of all Philippine institutions of higher learning to academic freedom.

"This is the real subversion taking place—the takeover of academic administrations and governance by political appointees more intent on executing some external agenda than performing their duty to defend academic freedom and excellence against all incursions," the letter read.

During the martial rule, the professors recalled that campuses were raided by soldiers in search of alleged subversive books while professors and students were jailed for their beliefs.

"Never again should the military or the government itself determine which books we can read and teach. Never should academic freedom be compromised in the name of national security," the letter read.

The Kalinga State University, Isabela State University, and Aklan State University earlier surrendered books on the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and National Democratic Front to the military.

CHED's regional office in the Cordillera issued a memorandum encouraging schools to surrender allegedly subversive materials from their libraries.

Aside from UP officials, other groups have also condemned the removal of publications deemed subversive from university libraries, calling it an attack on academic freedom and freedom of thought.

The professors emeriti who signed the letter were:

  • Gemino H. Abad
  • Jasmin Acuña
  • Florian Alburo
  • Virgilio S. Almario
  • Apolonio Chua
  • Ma. Cecilia Gastardo-Conaco
  • Gisela Concepcion
  • Lourdes J. Cruz
  • Jose Dalisay
  • Randolf S. David
  • Emmanuel S. de Dios
  • Ma. Serena Diokno
  • Erlinda Echanis
  • Cecilia Florencio
  • Cristina P. Hidalgo
  • Angelito Manalili
  • Ma. Lourdes San Diego-McGlone
  • Manolo G. Mena
  • Evelyn Mae Mendoza
  • Flora Elena Mirano
  • Solita Monsod 
  • Francisco Nemenzo
  • Epictetus Patalinghug
  • Ernesto Pernia
  • Rafael Rodriguez
  • Emerlinda R. Roman
  • Ramon Santos
  • Gerardo P. Sicat
  • Guillermo Tabios III
  • Michael L. Tan
  • Nicanor G. Tiongson
  • Lina Valcarcel
  • Corazon Villareal
  • Roy Ybañez
  • Rosario T. Yu