Lacson advises DND, UP to set boundaries after pact abrogation
Robie de Guzman • January 19, 2021 • 325
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday advised the Department of National Defense (DND) and University of the Philippines (UP) administration to come up with an agreement on boundaries to be observed following the termination of the 1989 deal banning the entry of state troops without prior coordination.
In a statement, Lacson said this is to “prevent the move from negatively affecting the culture of academic freedom in the state university.”
“Once the pact is terminated, what will the security sector do? We don’t know that yet. Probably they could come to an agreement that there are boundaries to be observed,” Lacson said.
He also warned the security sector that it might be “overstepping its bounds if the move is designed to muzzle the academic and other freedoms enjoyed by the UP community.”
“If it is designed to muzzle the academic and other freedoms being enjoyed by UP in general, you can describe it as that — overstepping,” he said.
The Department of National Defense unilaterally ended the 31-year-old agreement with UP, citing information that the New People’s Army is recruiting students inside UP campuses.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana explained that the deal is ‘obsolete’ and that UP has become “a breeding ground” and “a safe haven for enemies of the state.”
Lacson noted that during the Senate hearings on red-tagging, it was established that students are being recruited to the NPA not only inside UP but in other universities, to the point they are being killed in encounters.
For Lacson, a former police chief and current chair of the Senate committee on national defense, the DND’s move made sense as universities such as UP and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines have become a “hotbed of recruitment.”
“To join the militant organizations, that’s fine. You can protest all you want. But when you bear arms against government and you are very young, you are vulnerable, you are easily radicalized, and the hotbed of recruitment would be UP, PUP and other universities, then I think the security sector has studied all the factors involved before they acted on the matter,” he said.
But he added the termination of the pact will affect the culture of academic freedom in UP, whose community is known to be independent and involved in political issues.
“UP is known to be independent and they are involved in so many political issues. They enjoy so much freedom. And then all of a sudden you take it away from them, that really hurts,” he said.
“Definitely there will be outcry, protests and disagreements. Let’s see how it shapes up in the future,” he added.
Lorenzana earlier called on the UP community to “work together to protect our students from extremism and destructive armed struggle.”
MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said he will not be administered with CoronaVac, the COVID-19 vaccine made by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, as the Philippines rolls out its vaccination drive on Monday.
In a post on Twitter, Lorenzana said he volunteered to be among the first to receive the vaccine in the Department of National Defense (DND) “to lead by example to not cast doubt against Sinovac,” and to “hopefully bring confidence” among its personnel.
However, he was advised that he was not qualified to take the vaccine based on Sinovac’s age limit, which is 18 to 59.
Lorenzana is 72 years old.
The DND started Monday the inoculation of its personnel against COVID-19. Lorenzana and other officials witnessed the vaccination rollout at Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City.
The Defense chief said the DND has been allocated with 100,000 vaccine doses – 29,040 of these jabs are allotted for health workers of the VMMC and V. Luna Medical Center, military and civilian staff of the DND-Proper. The remaining doses will be given to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government arrived in the country on Sunday. The vaccines were welcomed by President Rodrigo Duterte and other Cabinet officials at the Villamore Airbase in Pasay City. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and officials of the University of the Philippines (UP) have agreed to undertake a ‘thorough’ review of their 1992 agreement, which requires police to coordinate with the school’s administration before entering UP campuses.
In a joint statement issued on Monday, the DILG, UP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) expressed the parties’ mutual commitment to review the 28-year old deal “to better address peace and security inside UP campuses without curtailing academic freedom and right to free speech and assembly.”
DILG officer-in-charge, Undersecretary Bernardo Florece, Jr. said the meeting with UP officials was a welcome development as both parties have agreed that there is a need to revisit the agreement to update it to present times.
“Our meeting with UP officials led by President Danilo Concepcion and UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo is a good start since both sides agree that both our agencies only have the best interests of the UP community in mind. Kami po sa DILG ay lubhang nagagalak sa development na ito,” Florece said.
The meeting, which was held at the PNP National Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, was attended by Florece, DILG Usec. Jonathan Malaya and Asec. Manny Felix, PLtGen Joselito Veracruz, QCPD Director PBGen Danilo Macerin, UP President Concepcion, UP VP Elena Pernia, UPD Chancellor Nemenzo, UPD Vice Chancellor Aleli Bawagan, and Director John Baroña.
“We would like to make it of record that UP is committed to honor and enforce the Accord. If the Accord needs to be updated, we are prepared to sit down with the DILG and PNP to dialogue and to come up with another one that will reflect what is happening on the ground,” UP President Concepcion said during the meeting with DILG and PNP officials.
“Maraming salamat sa DILG at PNP at asahan ninyo ang aming pakikipagtulungan para lahat po ng issues ay ating malapatan ng lunas,” he added.
Florece said the agreement will be reviewed with the assurance that it will not, in any way, diminish basic rights and the freedom of speech and assembly in UP which are Constitutionally protected and enshrined.
“Sa bahagi ng DILG, may mga ilan po tayong mga nakita na maaari nating baguhin sa 1992 Agreement upang lalo pang mapangalagaan ang ating mga Isko at Iska sa UP. Kaya naman kami ay umaasa nang malalimang pakiisa ng UP tungo sa hangaring ito,” he said.
“Ang DILG po ay kakampi ng UP at ng lahat ng unibersidad sa pagpapanatili ng kapayapaan at kaayusan sa loob ng kanilang mga paaralan,” he added.
The creation of a Technical Working Group (TWG) composed of representatives of both parties was suggested by the DILG. The TWG will undertake the review of the agreement and recommend whether to simply amend the 1992 agreement or come up with an entirely new agreement.
“UP and DILG have a common purpose which is to the peace and security of all UP campuses. These propositions are not placed to put a wall between us but to unite both our organizations to achieve our common goals,” he said.
The proposed review of the 1992 deal between the DILG and UP comes after the Department of National Defense unilaterally abrogated its 1989 pact with the UP, citing information that the New People’s Army is recruiting students inside UP campuses.
The 1992 UP-DILG agreement was signed by then UP President Jose Abueva and then DILG Secretary Rafael Alunan III after the enactment of Republic Act No. 6975 which effectively transferred the country’s police force from the DND to the DILG.
Since the police was transferred from the DND to the DILG in 1991, both parties signed the UP-DILG Agreement in 1992 with essentially the same contents as the 1989 UP-DND agreement.
Under both agreements, prior notification shall be given by a commander of an Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or PNP unit intending to conduct any military or police operations in any of the UP campuses.
They shall not also be allowed to enter the premises of the campuses without coordination with UP administration except in hot pursuit cases and similar occasions of emergency, or in ordinary transit through UP premises.
MANILA, Philippines—Senators Panfilo Lacson and Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan criticized Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. for his comment against a journalist.
Parlade claimed that the journalist is aiding terrorist groups which drew ire from various groups, lawmakers, and netizens.
Lacson, in a statement, called Parlade’s remarks as ‘careless and insensitive.’
“Accusing a journalist of ‘aiding the terrorists by spreading lies,’ assuming that such comment was accurately attributed to him, surely does not help the government to convince the magistrates of the Supreme Court to rule in its favor,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pangilinan believes Parlade should be removed from office because of his unprofessionalism.
“Enough of this unprofessionalism and lack of discipline with such baseless, erroneous public statements. Like AFP Intel Chief Luna, Lorenzana should show Parlade the door,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
In a post on social media Parlade accused reporter Tetch Torres-Tupas of “aiding terrorists by spreading lies” after Tupas published an article on jailed Aetas. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)
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