/ 21 January 2021

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers called on the Duterte government to stop the attacks on academic freedom.

It issued the call after the Department of National Defense terminated its 1989 agreement with the University of the Philippines that barred security personnel from entering UP campuses without the consent of the UP administration.

“We urge the Duterte regime to honor these accords and stop all the attacks on academic freedom. We protest the intrusion of state forces into our schools and all attempts to militarize the contents of education,” the group said in a statement.

“Not only is the fascist Duterte regime prioritizing war over education; worse, it is also hell-bent in bringing its abhorrent war into our schools, our supposed safe and peaceful spaces for learning and knowledge production,” the group added.

ACT said that the termination of the accord “arrogantly imposes military authority over a civilian educational institution that thrives on academic freedom to perform its duty as the National University.”

“Our students and teachers need to study, work, research, debate in a fully liberal atmosphere, unhampered by fear of censure, for knowledge to fully develop,” it said.

“Colleges and universities are an arena for the battle of ideas where minds meet and not a place for brutal force. Our schools are no place for war, and our education is not a platform for militaristic pacification,” ACT said.

“Liberal education does not make rebels out of students. What it does is produce critically-minded, vigilant citizens that befits a democracy—the kind that stands and guards against corruption, tyranny, exploitation, injustice and all ills that impede the advancement of society and consign people to abject suffering,” it added.