/ 5 February 2021

DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana held a dialogue with University of the Philippines President Danilo Concepcion on Thursday to discuss the accord signed in 1989 that was abrogated in January.

Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero de Vera III facilitated the meeting in Quezon City.

“I thank Secretary Lorenzana and President Concepcion for their statesmanship and openness to talk to each other and to raise their concerns and observations on the DND-UP accord,” De Vera said.

“As I have said in my previous statement, both DND and UP have publicly stated their continuing commitment to protect academic freedom, promote the welfare of students, and enforce national laws — all embodied in no less than the Constitution itself,” he added.

“It is therefore crucial that both sides start discussing their concerns,” De Vera said.

The UP president earlier asked Lorenzana to reconsider his decision to scrap the agreement. The Senate also adopted a resolution urging the DND and UP to revisit the accord that barred security forces from entering the state university’s campuses.

“I ask everyone to support the efforts of UP and DND so we can continue to build trust and a common direction for the future. The Joint Statement issued today is a good start in ensuring that the dialogue will continue,” De Vera said.

He added that CHED will continue to host dialogues not just between UP and DND but all public and private higher education institutions to find common ground on how to protect the interest of 3.1 million students while upholding academic freedom.