Vice-President Leni Robredo along with several groups have condemned the Department of National Defense (DND) for its initiative to abolish its 32-year-old agreement with University of the Philippines (UP) that prohibits uniformed personnel from entering UP campuses without notifying school officials.
In a statement addressed by VP Robredo, the termination of 1989 UP-DND accord was meant to silence government critics and to ‘sow fear’.
“This is not a practical gesture, but a symbolic one. One designed to sow fear. One designed to discourage dissent. One designed to silence criticism,” said VP Robredo who also noted that the 5 previous administration has respected the said accord.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, former UP Student Council chair and student regent, also expressed his stand in a twitter post.
“Tinutulan natin ang panghihimasok ng diktador noon. UP has always been and will always be a citadel of freedom and democracy,” said Pangilinan in a Twitter post.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana informed UP President Danilo Concepcion through a letter regarding the immediate termination of the 1989 agreement.
Lorenzana claimed that the university’s campuses have become a “safe haven” for communist rebels similar to the remarks of President Rodrigo R. Duterte claimed last November 2020 that that UP was recruiting students for the communist insurgency.
This allegation was denied by the UP administration.