Palace defends Duterte supporters backlash vs UP Visayas cheer

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2019   •   1811

The Malacañang has defended the backlash of Duterte supporters against the cheer of a student group at the University of the Philippines Visayas (UP-V).

The student group, Skimmers, went viral when they performed their cheer that was focused on criticizing the government which includes the red-tagging of UP students as well as the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the backlash, which also includes reported harassment against the involved students, was only natural.

“Siyempre natural lang iyon na mag-react, siyempre ang dating sa kanila, baka hindi sila nagbibiro (Of course it’s only natural to react, they might think they weren’t joking),” he said. “That’s a very natural reaction for the supporters of the President.”

Meanwhile, the Palace said they are not against the controversial cheer or any kind of criticisms against the government.

“But as you said, obviously they are joking. It’s a free country, they can dish out jokes, criticisms,” Panelo said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Public spaces in UP Diliman closed every weekend starting March 12

Robie de Guzman   •   March 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Thursday announced it will close all public spaces on the campus amid the rise in novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country.

“Starting March 12, Friday all public spaces in UP Diliman will be closed to the public every Friday afternoon, 4 p.m. to Sunday evening until further notice,” the UP Diliman said in an advisory.

“This is a health and safety measure amid the surge in cases in UPD associated with COVID-19 and its new variants,” it added.

These public spaces include the whole academic oval, College of Human Kinetics, PAUW-UP Child Study Center, National Science, National Science Complex, and bike routes.

“Campus residents are allowed to do outdoor exercises only inside their respective areas or purok and are urged to always observe safety health protocols such as wearing of face mask and face shield and physical distancing of at least two meters,” UP Diliman said.

The Philippines has so far recorded a total of 603,308 cases with 44,470 active cases, 546,293 recoveries, and 12,535 fatalities.

DILG, UP agree to thoroughly review 1992 pact

Robie de Guzman   •   February 9, 2021

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.

DILG, UP to meet on 1992 deal this week – Malaya

Robie de Guzman   •   February 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is set to conduct a dialogue with officials of the University of the Philippines (UP) this week to review their 1992 agreement, which requires police to coordinate with the school’s administration before entering UP campuses, the agency’s spokesperson said.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya issued the statement on Tuesday to refute reports that the department will unilaterally abrogate the agreement without consulting UP officials.

“Contrary to a report that came out in a broadsheet, the DILG wants to hold a dialogue with UP officials to revisit the 1992 agreement. For the record, what we said was that there is a need to review the 1992 agreement requiring the PNP to notify UP authorities before entering its campuses,” Malaya said.

He said they called for a meeting in response to the request of UP officials for a dialogue to address the concerns of the department in the spirit of justice, mutual trust, and the pursuit of excellence.

The UP-DILG Joint Monitoring Team has not met for years now contrary to Section 7 of the agreement which tasks the team to meet at least twice a year or as often as necessary.

“The 1992 agreement, in fact, calls for regular meetings between the 2 parties to discuss the implementation of the accord,” he said.

“This meeting therefore is in keeping with agreement and is for the purpose of determining if the agreement is still relevant and serves to uphold public order and safety within UP campuses,” he added.

Malaya also said that the dialogue is in keeping with the spirit of Senate Resolution 616 which urges a dialogue to promote peace and security in UP campuses.

The meeting will assess the level of security in UP considering the proliferation of residential units, business establishments, and informal settler families within UP campuses, especially in UP Diliman.

“The non-academic areas in UP have increased through the years and crime has been increasing, thus we need to discuss ways on how we can maintain peace and order in those areas,” he said.

Malaya said portions of the UP campuses which have been leased out to private developers such as UP Technohub and UP Town Center which are now open to the public as well as the entry of thousands of informal settlers inside UP property pose a problem for law enforcement because of the influx of non-UP faculty, students, and residents.

“With the growth of the population within each campus, the current capability of the university’s police and firefighting forces must be assessed. Kaya pa ba nilang panindigan ang responsibilidad na pangalagaan ang seguridad at kaayusan sa loob ng campus?” he said.

“Upon the request of UP, we are open to a meeting. Kailangan na talaga nating umupo at mag-usap dahil sa dami ng mga pagbabago, pangyayari at problema sa UP. The bottomline is, and will always be, to ensure peace and security in the students and faculty of UP,” he added.

The DILG Spokesperson said they also intend to raise the matter of “continued clandestine recruitment” by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its front organizations of UP students, which was the reason cited by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana when the UP-DND agreement was abrogated last month.

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 were 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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