Mock elections in universities, not reflective of the country’s sentiments – political analysts

Maris Federez   •   April 30, 2019   •   2221

(file photo)

As far as several Metro Manila universities are concerned, majority of their students have already decided on who to vote for in the May 13 Midterm Elections.

According to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the youth had been a force to reckon with in the last Presidential election and that they still could make a big impact on the May 13 polls.

Based on Comelec data, one third (31%) of the voting population is comprised by the youth, and that the candidates are being wise enough to woo the Millennials for their votes.

In the mock elections held at the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila and Baguio this April, Liberal Party candidates took the lead, followed by several independent and administration candidates.

The mock election at PUP Manila, on the other hand, showed that an independent candidate took the lead followed by opposition and administration candidates.

Meanwhile, Atty. Larry Gadon’s campaign had been proven effective among the students in De La Salle University Dasmariñas.

The Liberal Party, on the other hand, led in mock elections held at the University of Santo Tomas, the Ateneo de Manila University, and the University of San Carlos in Cebu.

Political analyst Edmund Tayao, however, said the mock elections have no enough bearing on the real elections, and that there is a big difference on the results of the national surveys and the mock elections in universities.

“Kung hihimayin mo ang resulta in terms of segments and sector in society, consistent yan, walang problema. Pero yung sasabihin mo na magiging significant sya sa overall result eh hindi yan ang lumalabas kung ikukumpara sa national surveys [If you will scrutinize the results in terms of segments and sectors in society, they are consistent. But saying that they will be significant in the overall result, it’s not what the national surveys had been showing],” he added.

Several mock elections are still being lined up in various universities. Other political analysts, however, said that mock elections do not reflect the real sentiments of the whole nation. – Maris Federez (with reports from Mon Jocson)

Duterte backs Lorenzana ending accord with UP; alumni air side

Marje Pelayo   •   January 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte supports the decision of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to terminate the decades-long agreement with the University of the Philippines (UP) prohibiting the entry of state forces inside its campuses without prior coordination with the school administration.

“Si Sec. Lorenzana is an alter ego of the President. Of course, the President supports the decision of Sec. Lorenzana,” Roque said.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the government welcomes any appeal to reconsider the decision. However, it will depend on how UP President Danilo Concepcion justifies the matter.

Meanwhile, a group of students in UP Diliman campus staged an indignation rally on Tuesday (January 19) to condemn the Department of National Defense’s (DND) decision to end the accord.

Among those who joined the protest were members of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, students and members of AnakBayan.

The group claims such a decision is a clear suppression of their rights and freedom.

“Nangangamba po kami kapag na-abrogate itong UP DND Accord ay mas mawala ang proteksyon ng aming campus para pasukin ng mga militar at pulis at magkaroon sila ng mga operasyon sa loob, at siguro arestuhin kung anuman gawin nila sa aming mga estudyante sa loob,” said UP student Vincent Empal.

“Nandoon nga po ang pagtutol dahil siempre gusto po natin ng espasyo na malaya tayong makipagtalakayan, malaya tayong mag manifest ng ating kritisismo,” said Esmer Dansel, also a UP student.

Meanwhile, UP Diliman student Council Chairperson Froilan Cariaga claims many times that the state forces did violate the provisions of the accord such as the arrest of 8 students in UP-Cebu while in a demonstration inside campus.

Some alumni also expressed their side on the issue.

Sorsogon Governor Chiz Escudero said the DND is ‘barking at the wrong tree’ with its decision and that the government should learn to ‘fight a good fight.’

Former UP professor Danilo Arao, for his part, challenged his fellow alumni and colleagues who are members of the Duterte Administration to condemn the termination of the agreement.

Vice President Leni Robredo, meanwhile, slammed the DND for unilaterally terminating the 1989 agreement and claimed it was meant to “sow fear” and “silence criticism.

“Clearly, then, 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,” Robredo said.

Despite the outrage, Lorenzana maintains that the decision to end the UP-DND accord of 1989 aims to carry out the state security forces’ mandate of protecting UP students and the general public from the influence of the ‘enemies of the state’ particularly the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Lacson advises DND, UP to set boundaries after pact abrogation

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2021

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.”

UP President urges DND to reconsider scrapping UP-DND agreement

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines (UP) President Danilo Concepcion has urged Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to reconsider the termination of the UP-DND agreement.

Concepcion on Tuesday (January 19) lamented that the DND did not consult the UP administration regarding the termination of the agreement which he said has a ‘chilling effect’ on the students.

Syempre maging mahirap iyong mayroon silang pangamba na baka mayroong bigla na lang aaresto sa kanila or makikialam sa ginagawa nila (Of course being worried about sudden arrests or having someone interfere with their activities is always hard), he said.

“May I urge you, therefore, to reconsider and revoke your abrogation, and request further that we meet to discuss your concerns in the shared spirit of peace, justice, and the pursuit of excellence,” Concepcion added.

Lorenzana said UP is becoming a ‘safe-haven’ for enemies of the state, making it necessary to terminate the UP-DND agreement. This also hinders the government in protecting students from the recruitment of leftist groups.

“During  the life of the agreement the University of the Philippines has become the breeding ground of intransigent individuals and groups whose extremist beliefs have inveigled  students to join their ranks to fight against the government,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) assures proper coordination with the UP administration will be done before police personnel enters the school premises.

PNP Spokesperson Ilderbrandi Usana also said the national police also aim to protect students from criminal activities, including drug syndicate.

“The PNP seeks to build stronger collaboration among stakeholders to protect campuses against criminal activities, drug syndicates, and shadowy organizations that promote and espouse Local Communist Armed Conflict against government thru force and violence.” he said.

The UP-DND Accord was launched in June 1989 during the term of former President Corazon Aquino. It is also known as the Soto-Enrile Accord which was signed by student leader Sonia Soto and former Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, following the incident of the disappearance of student activists inside the UP campus during martial law. -AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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