Instead of ending UP, PUP accord with DND, Escudero suggests other universities should enter same pact

January 20, 2021 - 7:28 PM
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Chiz Escudero
Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero speaks to the public at the Philippine International Convention Center in this photo uploaded on his official Facebook page on Mar. 7, 2020. (Photo from Chiz Escudero via Facebook)

Sorsorgon Gov. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, an alumni of the University of the Philippines, suggested that all universities should enter the similar pact with the military following the termination of the 1989 UP-DND accord.

The longstanding agreement between the military and the state-run university was terminated via a letter, citing claims that UP campuses were allegedly recruitment grounds for communist rebels.

The accord mainly prohibits the military and the police from entering the UP campus without permission or notification from the UP administration except in in hot pursuit or in similar emergency cases and if it was requested by UP officials.

Escudero, also a former senator, quipped via his social accounts on Tuesday, that he agreed with the national government’s remark that such an agreement is unfair.

“PRRD said that it’s unfair that only UP and PUP (Polytechnic University of the Philippines) have a pact. I completely agree!” the governor said.

“So why not enter into a similar pact with all the other universities or, better yet, pass a law that will guarantee this to all universities instead of abrogating these two,” he added.

He also used the hashtag #TrusttheFilipinoYouth in his tweet.

President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to issue his official statement on the termination of UP-DND accord.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, however, said the chief executive agreed with Lorenzana’s gesture.

“Eh si Secretary Lorenzana po is an alter ego of the President, of course, the President supports the decision of Secretary Lorenzana,” Roque said.

How the public received Escudero’s recommendation

Escudero’s posts on Facebook and Twitter mostly gathered positive reactions with several users agreeing that trust should go both ways between the students and the government.

The intrusion of the police and the military in two important events, namely the 1971 Diliman Commune and the arrest and detention of student journalist Donato Continente in 1989, led to the signing of the historic agreement.

The agreement has since protected UP students from harassment by the police and the military prior to abrogation.

READ: Throwback to ’70s: Diliman Commune remembered as UP-DND accord gets scrapped

Since Duterte took office in 2016, government officials have accused the UP of being a legal front of the Communist Party of the Philippines without evidence to support it.

Aside from UP, PUP also has a similar longstanding deal with the military.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier told reporters that the military plans to terminate similar agreements with other universities.

“We are looking into other similar agreements to terminate them as well,” Lorenzana said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Ducielle Cardema (Duterte Youth Partylist), also the vice-chair of the House committee on national defense and security, reportedly said she wants the similar accord of PUP with the DND revoked because it creates “inequality” between the different state universities and colleges in the country.