Migrante International condemns the Department of National Defense’s unilateral termination of the three decades long agreement between the University of the Philippines and the Department of National Defense that established guidelines on military and police operations inside UP campuses. The 1989 accord prevents the military and police to enter any of the UP campuses without permission from the UP Administration. Furthermore, the accord mandates that military or police officials cannot serve warrants of arrests for or detain any UP student, faculty or personnel requires without prior notification or reporting to the UP administration.
In a letter addressed to UP President Danilo Concepcion last Friday January 15, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana remarked that the agreement is “a hindrance in providing effective security, safety and welfare” to the UP community, claiming that the University has become a recruitment ground for students to the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army. The DND’s termination of the accord infringes on the principles of academic freedom. The University of the Philippines is a public institution where students, faculty and the community should be able to study and learn diverse ideas, without fear of recrimination.
As Filipinos overseas and migrant workers with Children left behind relying on academic institutions like the University of the Philippines in providing educational and moral foundations for their kids, as bread winners they are very much concern of this unilateral termination of UP-DND accord. Filipino migrants are very much aware of the notoriety of the police and military institutions against human rights abuses and violations since the period of Martial Law under Dictator Ferdinand Marcos up to the present.
It is the deplorable human rights record of the PNP and AFP throughout the country, intensified under the fascist Duterte regime which poses the most dangerous threat to the security, safety and welfare of the UP community—from the thousands of poor Filipinos extra judicially killed by Duterte’s Drug War, the militarization of indigenous communities throughout the country resisting land-grabbing and environmental degradation, to the violent dispersals of workers in factories striking for higher wages, to the harassment of urban poor communities forcibly displaced and the vicious murders of peasants demanding for genuine agrarian reform.
Since the passage of the terror law, the fascist Duterte regime has run amok, placing many innocent lives in danger and silencing critical dissenters through baseless red-tagging, illegal arrests and detention, threats, harassment and extrajudicial killings.
Filipino migrants stand with the UP community, students, faculty, and administration and support their calls for the DND to uphold the UP-DND accord, defend academic freedom and the abolishment of the terror law.