MANILA – Concerned civil society organizations protested outside the Senate building on Tuesday to denounce a bill that will reinstate the University of the Philippines – Department of National Defense (UP – DND) accord.
The groups said Senate Bill No. 2002 will make UP a haven for communist terrorist groups (CTGs) as it grants minimal intrusion into the state university that could pave the way for recruitment of students.
Except during emergency cases or hot pursuit, the bill mentioned that no law enforcement agencies and members of the police and military shall enter UP-Diliman premises and other regional campuses.
If the request for assistance is granted, only uniformed personnel will be allowed in, except when the situation specifies otherwise.
“To the senators, we, parents and members of various civil societies, appeal to each one of you, please critically analyze the implication of the bill to our children being prone to CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front) recruitment. Don’t destroy their future by having this UP Security Bill passed,” read the statement of the Liga Independencia Pilipinas (LIPI), League of Parents of the Philippines, and League of Youth for Peace Advancement.
LIPI secretary general, Jose Antonio Goitia, who spoke on behalf of the protesters, said hundreds or even thousands of families have already been destroyed by the CPP-NPA-NDF.
Passing the bill would further strengthen CTGs and destroy the future of the Filipino youth, he added.
“Alam naman natin na ang CPP-NPA ay isang criminal organization at hindi na ito katulad ng dati na may mga prinsipyo. Idineklara na silang terrorist organization ng iba pang mga bansa. Hindi namin maintindihan kung bakit pinapayagan pa natin itong magpatuloy (We all know that the CPP-NPA is a criminal organization and no longer has principles unlike before. It has been declared a terrorist organization by other countries. What we don’t understand why we still allow them to thrive),” Goitia said in an interview.
No UP student, faculty or employee can be put under custodial investigation without permission from university officials under the accord.
Senators Joel Villanueva, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Risa Hontiveros, Miguel Zubiri, and Sonny Angara co-authored the bill that seeks to amend Republic Act 9500, or the University of the Philippines Charter.
In January this year, the DND terminated the 1989 UP-DND Accord.
Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the agreement signed by former president Fidel Ramos and then UP president, the late Jose Abueva, was abrogated so the DND could perform its mandate to protect students from CTG recruitment.
The DND said clandestine recruitment takes place inside UP campuses nationwide, using the UP-DND accord as a shield.
The House of Representatives passed its version of the bill on Sept. 21 with 179 affirmative votes and no abstentions or negative votes.
After the abrogation, Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero de Vera III said the deal was “rich in intention but short on details, and is therefore prone to differing interpretations”.
“As a faculty member of UP for close to four decades, as Vice President for five years and Chairman of the Board of Regents for four years, I assert that the implementation of the DND-UP Accord was destined to be problematic," he said then.
De Vera said there was "no clear detailed operational details" to implement the provisions of the pact” while the Joint Monitoring Group composed of UP regents and administrators, military and police officials "has not met regularly to determine compliance with the agreement, review alleged violations, determine appropriate penalties, and recommend revisions in the Accord given the changing times".
The Philippines' Anti-Terrorism Council has designated the CPP, NPA, and NDF as terrorist groups.
The European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines also listed the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization. (PNA)