UP students hold walkout against military intrusion in universities

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UP students from around the country hold a nationwide protest to contradict policy allowing the police and military in their schools.

University of the Philippines (UP) students held a ‘Day of Walkout and Action’ on Tuesday to oppose military intervention in schools and to fight for academic freedom. 

Students, alongside faculty members, staged a protest action that opposes the accusations that universities are factories of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, following the incident of the two missing students allegedly joined the leftist groups.

UP students from different parts of the country also joined the protest in their respective places.

On August 9, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año wanted to have dialogue with the police, military, students and officials from state universities to address the recruitment scheme of the NPA.

“Gusto nating magkaroon ng engagement and dialogue sa school authorities and students so that magkaroon ng awareness ang mga tao kung ano ang modus operandi ng CPP-NPA,” he said.

UP and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) were two of the schools wherein communist rebels have penetrated some student organizations, according to Año. 

“PUP, UP, mga iba pang state universities natin. ‘Yan ang laging tinatarget, mga state universities,” Año said. 

Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa then said that such incidents occur because the said campuses have policies that prohibit the access of police and military.

“Meron silang polisiya doon na bawal pumasok ang pulis o military sa loob ng kanilang campus para ma-avoid daw ang militarisasyon in the guise of academic freedom daw. Pero hinahayaan nila yung mga komunista na mag-recruit ng mga kabataang menor de edad sa loob ng kanilang paaralan,” he said.

Therefore, he suggested that presence of police and military inside the schools will “indoctrinate” students for the government and in turn oppose the “indoctrination” of the left-leaning bodies.

On the other hand, according to UP student regent John Isaac Punzalan, allowing cops to intrude in the universities will serve as intelligence on a community that consists of  “vocally critical” individuals.

“The proposed entry and intervention of the police and military in state universities including UP is expected to result in massive surveillance and monitoring on our students, faculty, and officials, especially those who are vocally critical,” he said in the Office of the Student Regent memorandum. 

The student regent also stated that campus militarization will be “equivalent to martial law” in their school. 

“Campus militarization is equivalent to martial law in our university and we shall not let that happen. The existing accord prohibiting these state forces to operate in our campuses is a product of the student movements that have fearlessly fought for the rights of the youth and the people,” he added.

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