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Duterte backs termination of UP-DND accord
Published on: Thursday, January 21, 2021
By: GMA News
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Duterte backs termination of UP-DND accord
MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte (pic) supports the decision of the Department of National Defence to terminate its three-decade agreement with the University of the Philippines that bars the entry of the military or police in campuses without prior notice to the UP administration, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that Duterte, who treats Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana as his “alter ego,” backed the latter’s decision to end the 1989-UP-DND Accord to supposedly protect the youth from recruitment activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.

“Si Secretary [Delfin] Lorenzana is an alter ego of the President. Of course, the President supports the decision of Secretary Lorenzana,” Roque said in his briefing.

Roque, a UP alumnus himself, also stressed that during his 25-year-stay in the university as a professor and as a student, he did not experience any threats from uniformed personnel in the campus.

“I don’t think the policemen were barred from UP. Even during the pandemic, I see them in the vicinity of the campus,” he said.

Roque also called on UP President Danilo Concepcion to issue a clearer statement on why the termination of the agreement should be reconsidered. He said authorities will listen to the explanation.

“I think, considering the number of years I stayed in UP, they will not allow their rights to academic freedom to be violated,” he said.

He also noted that troops can freely conduct surveillance, as they do in the whole country. But sanctions may be imposed against them for violations of humanitarian laws.

“They can do surveillance in the whole Philippines. What they can’t do is to intrude into protected rights. Surveillance is not discouraged,” he said.

Members of the UP community, lawmakers, rights advocates, and other government officials slammed the abrogation of the pact, whose restrictions exempt cases of hot pursuit and emergency.

Vice President Leni Robredo, a UP alumna, said that the accord was simply designed to give notice to the university and “discourage dissent” during the conduct of security operations in the campuses.

Concepcion already issued a statement urging Lorenzana to revoke the abrogation of the accord that he said is meant not to evade the law but to protect the climate of academic freedom. The unilateral termination of the agreement, without consultation that would have addressed concerns raised, may only worsen relations between the institutions and “detract from our common desire for peace, justice, and freedom in our society,” he added.



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