Press Release
January 26, 2021

Expand UP-DND Accord safeguards to other state universities: Pangilinan

FOLLOWING the unilateral termination of the University of the Philippines-Department of National Defense (UP-DND) Accord that regulates police and military presence in UP campuses, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan has filed two bills seeking to include Accord safeguards in the 2008 UP Charter as well as expand them to all state universities and colleges (SUC) nationwide.

At the same time, in his sponsorship speech of amended proposed Senate Resolution 616, Pangilinan on Tuesday welcomed DND's decision to answer the various calls for dialogue with UP on the termination of the 1989 UP-DND Accord.

Aside from Pangilinan, co-authors of the resolution include Senators Risa Hontiveros, Nancy Binay, Ralph Recto, Leila De Lima, Franklin Drilon, and Joel Villanueva. Senator Richard Gordon also expressed support for Pangilinan's resolution.

"Anak ng pakikibaka ang UP-DND Accord, hindi ito anak sa buho. At mabuting anak ang UP-DND Accord. Nagsilbing proteksyon ang mga probisyon nito para sa lahat ng stakeholder ng pamantasan. Kaya gusto nating i-institutionalize ito sa UP Charter at gawin ding batas para sa lahat ng mga SUC sa buong bansa," Pangilinan said.

As former UP Diliman University Student Council chair and the first UP Student Regent with voting power, Pangilinan championed as principal author and sponsor the passage of the UP Charter law in 2008 that lists safeguards for the welfare of UP students, faculty, and staff.

"April 2008 nang pinasa natin ang UP Charter. It will be 13 years since then and it's a good time to introduce amendments that would better cater to the needs of the UP community, especially following the attacks it has been experiencing lately. We want to ensure that any accord that UP will enter into in the future cannot be abrogated unilaterally," Pangilinan said.

Among other things, Senate Bill No. 2014 amending the UP Charter of 2008 prohibits soldiers, policemen, and other law enforcement agency personnel from entering UP campuses except in hot pursuit and other emergency situations.

"Akbista ako noong estudyante ako sa UP. Martial law noon, at maraming kalayaan ang sinupil. Nilabanan natin ang pang-aabuso sa kapangyarihan. Kaya ang mga kalayaang ine-enjoy natin ngayon, dapat mas marami pa ang mag-enjoy," Pangilinan said.

Relatedly, Pangilinan's Senate Bill No. 2016 or Academic Freedom Act of 2021 aims to protect and guarantee academic freedom by also requiring prior notification before police action inside public campuses, among other things.

"Napakarami ngayong reported incidence of red-tagging sa ating mga estudyante. The red-tagging of students has been widespread and pervasive. Kami mismo sa Senado ay nag-hearing na tungkol dito. It is a harsh reality that students face: a climate of fear mongering and intimidation designed to curb critical thinking and freedom of expression. It is unjust and unproductive," Pangilinan said.

"Students throughout the history of the world have always been critical of the status quo, of government. But this doesn't make them criminals. They should enjoy the freedom to be critical. It is restricting, unproductive, and unjust if, in the students' pursuit of solutions, they are met with: 'Hindi pwede yan,' 'Wag ka nang mag-isip,' 'Tatakutin ka namin kapag pinagpatuloy mo yan,'" he added.

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