Bicol youth group condemns UP-DND Accord termination

Why should every student care about the termination of the University of the Philippines (UP) – Department of National Defense (DND) Accord, an agreement that prevents state forces from entering the campuses of University of the Philippines?

According to a video statement from National Union Students of the Philippines (NUSP) president Jandeil Roperos, which NUSP Bicol shared on Twitter, the decision to end the accord is “a systematic attack of state forces on the democratic rights of students.”


This, according to NUSP Bicol’s retweet of NUSP-High School statement, “threatens the capacity of universities to be safe academic spaces where the right to free speech and organize is upheld.”


On Monday, Jan. 18, DND Sec. Delfin Lorenzana sent an official letter to UP President Danilo Concepcion about the unilateral termination of the agreement.


The aim, according to Lorenzana’s letter, is to “[provide] effective security, safety, and welfare of the students, faculty, and employees of UP,” adding that the agreement is preventing the state forces in doing that.


However, Roperos said that the Defense secretary is using the baseless argument that UP is a place for communist recruitment to justify its red-tagging spree, which becomes more dangerous with the Anti-Terror Law.


The accord, in fact, was born to protect students from human rights abuses, which were rampant during Martial Law under the Marcos administration. In June 30, 1989, then-UP President Jose Abueva and then DND Sec. Fidel V. Ramos signed the agreement, which sets the guidelines on the operations of AFP and PNP inside the university.


These include prior notification from AFP or PNP to the UP President of any operations that will be conducted inside its campuses, and non-interference with peaceful protest actions, among others.