Press Release
January 19, 2021

Dialogues, not suppression, win hearts and minds: Pangilinan

SENATOR Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan on Tuesday joined students and fellow alumni of the University of the Philippines in opposing the unilateral termination of the agreement between UP and the Department of National Defense that limits the presence of security forces in the former's campuses.

Pangilinan, who was UP University Student Council chairman in 1986, filed Senate Resolution 616, which also calls for a dialogue between the two parties.

"Dialogues, not suppression, win hearts and minds. And with the 'woke' among the youth, lalong pinipigil, lalong nanggigigil," he said.

Pangilinan said young people throughout the world and throughout history have always been critical of the status quo, including governments. He cited the examples of Philippine national heroes Jose Rizal, Mariano Ponce, the Luna brothers, and Graciano Lopez Jaena who effected fundamental change in Philippine society with their activism.

"The 1981 Enrile-Soto Accord was the government, a dictatorship, negotiating and signing an agreement with students. Why? Because they realized that they could not suppress student unrest with arrests and harassment. They had to sign that accord so that the protests and the boycotts would stop. And, therefore, we have to learn the lessons from the past," said the first UP Student Regent.

"It's like saying, 'O, from now on, 'wag ka nang bumatikos. 'Wag ka nang anti-government. Matuto ka na. Maging pro-government ka na.' Hindi ganon ang kabataan. Hindi ganon ang estudyante sa kasaysayan ng anumang lipunan. Let us learn from history. The more you suppress, the more they will fight," he added.

Pangilinan said suppression and authoritarian or military rule have proven to be incapable of solving major problems in the country. He said martial law was the main recruiter of rebels, who were only a handful in 1972 but grew to 25,000-strong before the dictator Marcos was deposed in 1986.

Pangilinan, who also championed the UP Charter law, said the UP-DND accord details the processes of engagement between the two institutions. He explained that the accord does not rigidly prohibit entry into the UP campus as long as there is proper notification beforehand and a valid reason to do so.

The senator called on the DND to reconsider its actions and pushed for dialogue between the parties involved.

"I urge UP and the DND to commence a dialogue and to find common ground that promotes peace and security, and protects academic freedom, and the pursuit of excellence," he added.

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