THE University of the Philippines Baguio community expressed “vehement condemnation” on Lorenzana’s statement that UP-DND Accord cannot be restored under Duterte.
“Lorenzana’s insistence on the so-called loophole that the UP-DND only covers the Philippine Constabulary is a vivid manifestation of their desperate attempt to intrude into our university. This is a false claim grounded on very poor research given that the accord is very clear on the guidelines that it prohibits both military and police operations in the university. For an institution with exorbitant funding from the state, it is a shame that they cannot bring themselves to be accurate with the statements and claims they say.”
Iya Trinidad, current Nationalist Corps Councilor of the University Student Council of the University of the Philippines Baguio expresses abhorrence of the false claims of Delfin Lorenzana and the Department of National Defense in order to push their agenda of trespassing the university grounds for their intelligence network. In an interview with Rappler’s reporter Pia Ranada, Lorenzana admitted that there is an existing military intelligence operation in UP campuses which is a clear violation of the academic freedom of students. This poses a threat to the university constituents welfare as they are notorious for using their intelligence network for red-tagging students, faculties, and staff of the University, putting their lives at risk.
“Lorenzana’s recent statement on the unilateral abrogation of UP-DND Accord all the more proved that the abrogation’s only intention was to further state surveillance among the constituents of the university. This poses a threat not only to our academic freedom but also to the entirety of our freedom of expression. The abrogation of the accord has sown fear among the students, especially those who are critical of the terrors of the Duterte regime,” Adrianne Paul Aniban, EIC Outcrop, co-convener UP Rise added.
In the midst of worsening health and economic crisis, the government has proven its inefficiency and desperation in forwarding its fascist agenda. In UP Baguio, 18 individuals and 32 organizations have been subject to harassment and intimidation from the military and police themselves. “This further proves that if safety was the issue, then it is only justified that we uphold and institutionalize the UP-DND Accord because it is those state forces that endanger and threaten the people,” Trinidad adds.
“Why are they forcing that the UP-DILG Accord must be the Accord taking effect, instead of both the UP-DILG and UP-DND Accord while claiming that the issue is moot and academic, when UP-DND Accord was born out of the violence of military forces to students exercising their right to peaceful protests? Lorenzana not only made the mistake of not informing the University beforehand of its unilateral abrogation but he also made mistakes in claiming we should beg DILG for an Accord, instead. UP-DILG Accord is still in effect and numerous harassments have been recorded from the past protests held inside UP campuses. Clearly, UP-DILG Accord cannot protect students from these harassments.”
The UP Baguio community vehemently condemns DND’s actions and statements. Students have relentlessly called for academic ease, the gradual safe resumption of classes, immediate aid, and proper response to the pandemic, but instead, we face rampant state-enforced attacks such as attacks on our democratic rights and academic freedom.
In continuing the fight for our democratic rights and academic freedom, Trinidad said “the UP community will not cower; we will be more firm and uncompromising in fighting for our fundamental freedoms and welfare.”
While the Filipino people are hungry, calling for aid and protection of their livelihood, students and university constituents carry the burden of online learning, and there is lack of scientific and concrete plans to address the pandemic, reactionary government forces are inexhaustible in twisting the law and policies that seek to protect our rights and welfare, including the UP-DND Accord. This is a clear manifestation of misplaced priorities that we must continuously denounce. The fight continues as the UP-DND Accord is yet institutionalized through the UP Charter of 2008 and the government denies proper handling of the health and economic crisis we are facing.