On The UP-DND Accord



The raging issue as we write this column is the unilateral termination by the Department of National Defense (DND) of the l989 University of the Philippines (UP)-DND accord that prevents State forces from entering any of its campuses. DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a public statement that the reason for the abrogation is that UP has become the recruitment ground for members of CPP-NPA and other rebel groups and they claim that it has become necessary for them to “protect” students, faculty and personnel of the university. On the other hand, UP administration, faculty and students feel that the said act has restricted the essence of academic freedom enjoyed within the confines of the university. This brings us to the definition of “academic freedom”, thus and I quote: “Academic freedom” is the freedom of teachers and students to teach, study, and pursue knowledge and research without unreasonable interference or restriction from law, institutional regulations or public pressure.” By reputation and experience the learning atmosphere at UP allows students to study, think, discuss and write about their lessons with freedom untrammelled by fear or censure. They can disagree with other students and even their teachers within the bounds of reason. As long as this permissive atmosphere does not amount to licentiousness, there is no need to fear that students will fall prey to the clutches of insurgent elements. It is their ability to think and to analyze that makes them avoid this pitfall. Student activism is a common experience in practically all universities. And the UP should not be singled out. It is probably best for the UP administration and the DND to come to the conference table and have an open and exhaustive discussion about matters and issues that led to this situation without necessarily terminating the accord.


TRIVIA:


Congratulations to Engr. Emeterio Aman for his election as President and Chairman of the Board of the Metropolitan Naga Water District (MNWD). Parenthetically, this reminds me that years back I served as the water district’s legal counsel when the late Melchor Villanueva was its Chairman and the late Louie Basa was the general manager.


QUOTATION OF THE WEEK:


“OUR INSTITUTION OF FREEDOM WILL NOT SURVIVE UNLESS THEY ARE CONSTANTLY REPLENISHED BY THE FAITH THAT GAVE THEM BIRTH.”

JOHN FOSTER DULLES


FOR OUR WORD OF LIFE:


“NOW THE LORD IS THE SPIRIT, AND WHERE THE SPIRIT IS THERE IS FREEDOM.”

2 COR 3:17