Termination of UP-DND Accord is a termination of academic freedom!
Despite Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s emphasis on his letter presented to University of the Philippines Diliman President Danilo Concepcion that the decision to terminate the UP-DND accord will not curtail the banner of academic freedom; the said letter is but a death signature to the long-standing resistance of the UP community amidst structures that continue to permeate tyranny and oppression.
Emanated throughout Lorenzana’s letter is the repeated witch-hunt narrative which flags the University of the Philippines as a hotbed of communist recruitment. Clearly, these grounds to terminate the UP-DND accord are not only desperate measures of the current administration in silencing critical voices of dissent but damages the integrity of the University of the Philippines, an institution that has produced generations of “iskolar ng bayan” ready to enter the crucible of service to the Filipino people.
Moreover, the following terms of the UP-DND accord are but an excuse of the Duterte regime to layout its counter-insurgency measures within the university and herald its anti-people policies promulgated within the current Ant-Terrorism Act of 2020. Hence, the termination of the aforementioned accord will only perpetuate the dire threats of red-baiting, campus militarization, and open more windows for abuse to prosper!
The College Editors Guild of the Philippines, the oldest, broadest, and only-existing alliance of tertiary student publications in the country, reiterates that the UP-DND accord is a safeguard not only for academic freedom of students and educators but a safeguard for press freedom of campus publications, the right of academic employees to organize unions and the right of youth organizations and student council formations to host activities that forge a critical sphere within the university.
Thus, the Guild holds onto emphasis that this termination will not only jeopardize academic freedom but the very existence of a democratic sphere. The termination of the said agreement is a manifestation of the desperate attacks not only on dissenters but also on academic freedom. The Guild is one with the UP Community and all the victims of the fascist and dictator Duterte regime.
Rather than formulating proactive and mass-oriented responses in the prospects of vaccination, the Duterte regime has been busy railroading its repressive state policies. Moreover, amidst the current dilemmas brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision to terminate UP-DND Accord will not address these pressing concerns being faced! Hence, the Guild remains persistent in decrying #SolusyongMedikalHindiMilitar, since the COVID-19 pandemic crisis has shaken the country.
The Guild calls on all campus publications and youth formations to resist these vestiges of state fascism and stand firm in the fight for academic freedom. The University of the Philippines being an academic institution is a “zone of peace,” never to be subjected to the prospects of militarization or other repressive state mechanisms. Furthermore, the Guild holds the Duterte administration and Lorenzana accountable for the aftermath of abuses that shall concur through the termination of the UP-DND accord. We stand in solidarity with the UP community in resisting the current decision of Lorenzana to terminate the UP-DND accord!
Join the indignation rally today, January 19, 10 AM at Quezon Hall, UP Diliman.