MANILA – The Department of National Defense (DND) on Friday expressed hope that its talks with the University of the Philippines (UP) would pave the way for stronger cooperation with all academic institutions.
“The dialogue with UP President Danilo Concepcion in the presence of CHED (Commission on Higher Education) Chief Prospero de Vera is a positive development as we seek ways to move forward and strengthen our collaboration with academic institutions all over the country,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.
Andolong said that during the dialogue on Thursday, the DND expressed its openness to listen to the position of the UP administration.
“We are also hopeful that the members of the UP community will be open to working with us to ensure that our youth do not become victims of those who would lead them down the path of lawlessness and destruction,” he said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and UP President Danilo Concepcion both agreed to continue dialogues on cooperation in promoting academic freedom and the recent termination of the accord that prohibits police and military presence in UP campuses.
“The dialogue afforded key leaders the opportunity to discuss the way forward and possible areas of cooperation on how both institutions can promote their mutual aspirations to ensure a safe and secure environment conducive to learning,” the DND, CHED, and UP said in an earlier joint statement.
Lorenzana, on Jan. 15, terminated the 1989 DND-UP agreement that requires prior notice be given by the AFP, then Philippine Constabulary, or the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit intending to conduct military or police operations in any of the UP campuses, to the University President, the Chancellor of the constituent university, or the Dean of the regional unit concerned, or their respective officers-in-charge in the event of their absence, when the situation so warrants.
Exceptions to the said requirement include hot pursuit cases and ordinary transit. In abrogating the agreement on January 15, Lorenzana called the arrangement “obsolete”.
He added that the agreement was used by the CPP-NPA to turn UP into a breeding ground of “intransigent individuals and groups whose extremist beliefs have inveigled students to join their ranks to fight against the government.”
The Senate, on Jan. 26, has adopted Resolution No. 616 urging DND and UP to “revisit” their 1989 agreement on military presence in the state university’s campuses and called for a dialogue between both parties. (PNA)