IMPLEMENTATION OF DND-UP ACCORD PROBLEMATIC — CHED CHAIRMAN
COMMISSION on Higher Education Chairman Prospero de Vera III said the implementation of the agreement between the Department of National Defense and the University of the Philippines accord "was destined to be problematic."
COMMISSION on Higher Education Chairman Prospero de Vera III said the implementation of the agreement between the Department of National Defense and the University of the Philippines accord “was destined to be problematic.”
De Vera said the agreement was “rich in intention but short on details and prone to differing interpretations.”
“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,” he said in a statement.
“Yet the stakes on the lives and the future of students and schools are high. The vitriol unleashed in social media does not benefit anyone except those with a political agenda,” he said.
De Vera was a former faculty member and official of UP.
He called on officials of the Defense department and UP to sit down and discuss the issues.
“We urge the DND, the UP, and all higher education institutions to exercise sobriety and to allow the CHED to call on everyone concerned to jointly discuss the issues especially when everyone have the same goals of student protection, academic freedom and promotion of education — all embodied in no less than the Constitution itself,” De Vera said.
He added that he will constitute a panel of education experts “to define the meaning of academic freedom and the role of security forces in the protection of academic freedom and the welfare of students.”
“Courts have long drawn and placed judicial tests and standards to protect free speech and academic freedom, and we can be guided by them,” he said.
“Narrowly tailoring regulation to allow the fullest articulation of speech while allowing the protection of compelling state interest is a balanced standard that we all can be guided with to bring out what is common interest to all, and not on those where we differ,” he added.
De Vera noted that this definition and framework can hopefully be the starting point of a dialogue between the DND and UP in the coming days.
“CHED is offering its offices to bring together not just UP and DND but all public and private HEIs so we can find common ground to protect the interest of our 3.1 million students while upholding academic freedom,” he said.
The Defense department unilaterally ended its 31-year-old agreement with UP that barred uniformed personnel from entering UP campuses.