MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday expressed his belief that mutuality is not a requirement to abrogate the agreement between the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Department of National Defense (DND) which, for decades, has prevented state forces from entering UP campuses without prior coordination.
Roque, a UP alumnus, said the pact between the UP and DND is not a usual type of agreement.
“This is an unusual contract. It is an extraordinary contract. It is an act of beneficence of the state in the sense that it suspends the exercise of jurisdiction in a given territory. So I don’t think mutuality is required, and I’m speaking as a lawyer,” Roque said in a media interview.
The DND unilaterally terminated its decades-old agreement with UP, citing information that communist rebels are recruiting students inside UP campuses as new members.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said that the deal, which was signed in 1989, is “obsolete” and that the through the years of its enforcement, the UP has become “a breeding ground” and “a safe haven for enemies of the state.”
UP President Danilo Concepcion has appealed to the DND to reconsider its decision.
In response to the UP administration’s appeal, Lorenzana said he is willing to sit down and talk but the university has to explain why its students have been among those killed in armed encounters between government forces and the New People’s Army.
Roque said he has offered his office as a venue for discussion between Lorenzana and Concepcion.
“I will offer my good office so that the UP President and the Secretary of National Defense can discuss this matter,” he said.
The UP Community has denounced the abrogation of the accord, saying this threatens academic freedom. Various groups have also expressed fears of unlawful arrests, which were earlier allayed by Lorenzana. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
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 – Malacañang on Friday expressed its condolences to the family, loved ones, friends, and followers of Bro. Eliseo “Eli” Soriano who passed away at the age of 73.
“Bro. Eli was a beloved preacher of Ang Dating Daan whose teachings touched the lives and served as guide to many,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
Brother Eli, a multi-awarded international evangelist, was the host of the longest-running religious program in the Philippines, “Ang Dating Daan” (The Old Path).
His death was confirmed in a statement issued by Members, Church of God International (MCGI) on Thursday.
“His dedication to propagate the words of God in the Bible was a clear testament of his steadfast love to serve his brethren and the Almighty,” Roque said.
“Our prayers go to Bro Eli as he may rest in eternal peace and happiness,” he added.
Brother Eli started his flagship program “Ang Dating Daan” in 1980. After years of challenges to find a permanent home, ADD and Bro. Eli’s other programs “Truth in Focus” and “Itanong mo kay Soriano” finally settled with UNTV on 2004.
He was forced to leave the Philippines in 2005 due to religious persecution. He settled in Brazil where he continued his global evangelization efforts.
He was known for his straightforward and courageous method of exposing errors in doctrines of various religious groups locally and abroad through his signature segment “Itanong Mo kay Soriano, Biblia ang Sasagot” – a non-scripted Bible Exposition being broadcasted live on TV and the internet where guests can ask impromptu questions which Bro. Eli answers with verses from the Scriptures.
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.
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