/ 20 January 2021

UNIVERSITY OF the Philippines President Danilo Concepcion on Tuesday said the termination of the accord between the Department of National Defense and the university was “unnecessary and unwarranted.”

Concepcion warned that the DND’s decision could adversely affect the relations between the agency and the university.

“I must express our grave concern over this abrogation, as it is totally unnecessary and unwarranted, and may result in worsening rather than improving relations between our institutions, and detract from our common desire for peace, justice, and freedom in our society,” he said in a letter to DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Concepcion said the agreement was terminated without prior consultation with the UP administration.

“Instead of instilling confidence in our police and military, your decision can only sow more confusion and mistrust, given that you have not specified what it is that you exactly aim to do or put in place in lieu of the protections and courtesies afforded by the agreement,” he said.

On January 15, DND announced that it ended the decades-long agreement with UP that prevented state forces from entering its campuses.

Signed in 1989, the accord mandates the state forces to notify the university before they can enter UP campuses.

Concepcion stressed that the agreement never hindered the police and military from conducting lawful operations inside UP campuses and added that problems or misunderstandings have always been “amicably and reasonably resolved” between the two parties.

Lorenzana said the agreement was terminated because of the recruitment activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army in UP campuses.

The CPP and NPA were declared as terrorist groups by the government.

But Concepcion pointed out that the deal “never stood in the way of police and security forces conducting lawful operations within our campuses.”

“We value and appreciate the contributions of our uniformed services to our safety and security. We do not condone sedition, armed insurrection, or the use of violence for political ends,” he said.

“We want to maintain UP as a safe haven for all beliefs and forms of democratic expression,” Concepcion said.

“At the same time, especially given our experience of martial law, we must reject any form or semblance of militarization on our campuses, which will have a chilling effect deleterious to academic freedom.”