Campus Features


The Department of National Defense (DND) just scrapped its 1989 agreement that prohibits military and police presence in any UP campus. This prompted students to hold an indignation rally.

/ 19 January 2021

In 1989, University of the Philippines (UP) President Jose Abueva and Department of National Defense (DND) Chief Fidel Ramos signed an agreement that bans the military and police from entering any UP campus without the authorization of the University administration. 

Such agreement was made to protect the autonomy of the University’s students and faculty members especially in protests. The long-standing accord only allows state forces to enter UP campuses “in cases of hot pursuit and similar occasions of emergency” or when university officials request for assistance. 

But in a move that aggravated students, staff members, and other concerned citizens, the DND scrapped its deal with the University decades after it was signed. 

In a letter signed by DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on January 15, 2020, the agency’s agreement with UP was reported to be “unilaterally terminated” as the government sees it as a “hindrance to its operations.” 

The hashtag #DefendUP immediately trended on social media as netizens were furious of the government’s move.


Several government officials have also reacted against the move. In a Tweet, opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan warned that UP isn’t a school that the government wants to mess with. 

“Tinutulan natin ang panghihimasok ng diktador noon. UP has always been and will always be a citadel of freedom and democracy. No to the utilateral and arbitrary termination of the Enrile-Soto accord. Pakiusap lang do not mess with UP,” Pangilinan said.

Meanwhile, Kabataan Party-List Representative Sarah Jane Elago said that the government has just disregarded students’ historic win against campus militarization by scrapping the agreement. 

“DND’s move shows a blatant disregard for the students’ historic win against campus militarization. This brazen step signals intensified attacks on academic freedom, and violations of rights of students, faculty, personnel resisting tyranny and fascism,” the Congresswoman said.

“For education institutions to fulfill their significant role in upholding human rights and democracy, they must be protected from ruling regimes’ undue pressures and dictates. Defend academic freedom! Uphold the autonomy of our institutions of learning,” she stressed.

In a separate statement, Lorenzana justified his decision, saying that the military and UP are not enemies. 

“Sa UP mayroon silang ala-Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Military can’t enter without coordination,” he said in a tweet. 

Seemingly irritated by the outcry against his move, Lorenzana likened UP with the Korean novela Crash Landing On You (CLOY):  “What makes UP so special? Nasa Korean border ba kayo? CLOY is life na ba? We are not your enemies. We are here to protect our people, especially our youth.”

An indignation rally was held at UP-Diliman Tuesday morning as a quick response against DND’s abrogation of the 1989 deal. 

For many people, the move is a blow to the democratic rights of activists and students to peacefully convene and protest their concerns on national matters, including issues concerning the government.

You may read the full copy of the 1989 UP-DND accord here.